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, or 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.
The proper way to salute
First march with gear
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.
Candidates were put into formation, stripped of most personal 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 “Beast Barracks” basic training before the academic year begins.