WEST POINT – Some 1,270 cadet candidates
for the Class of 2019 received their first taste of the US Military Academy
at West Point Monday during Reception Day, commonly referred to as R-Day.
Katie Holder, a senior cadet and one of this year’s cadets in the
red sash, said this day is dedicated to preparing the new candidates for
their basic training and their first year at the academy.
“All this for cadet basic training is preparing them for the academic
year and the academic year is going to be strenuous for academics and
also for beginning that process, physical training and military training,
all that will happen during cadet basic training so that they’re
ready for this upcoming academic year,” said Holder.
Candidates were lined up around the campus with duffle bags and luggage
totes waiting with their families to be taken into briefings in groups
of about 40 candidates. As soon as the initial briefing ended, they were
given 60 seconds to say goodbye to their loved ones and their transition
from civilian life to military life began.
The proper way to salute
First march with gear
Candidates were put into formation, stripped of contraband items and
corralled onto buses where they would begin the process of assimilation.
After exiting the buses, candidates went through a process where they
received immunizations, were assessed on physical fitness, measured for
their uniforms, provided with initial issue items, received haircuts if
they were male and provided with booklets that hold crucial information
they will have to know during the duration of their stay at the academy.
Once the initial processes were finished, candidates changed into their
uniforms and were brought outside to learn marching procedure, saluting,
proper ways to address officers and to report to their superior, the “Cadet
in the red sash.” The candidates then made their transition official
with the oath of office.
“I like to say it’s actually the longest day you’ll
never remember; so much is happening all at once that, these new cadets,
it’s just kind of a blur for them.” Cadet Holder said.
For many of the new candidates, attending West Point has been a long time
goal. Kate Freeman, a class of 2019 candidate, said this is the realization
of an idea she had for some time.
“I’ve had it for a couple years and tried to make it my goal
throughout high school to get in, so, I’m definitely very happy
to be here today,” said Freeman.
The Class of 2019 candidates, who are all part of the five-year Army officer
program, will not only receive their Bachelor’s degrees upon graduation
but, will also achieve the rank of second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
The next step for candidates will be going to Camp Buckner for six weeks
of basic training before the academic year begins.