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WEST POINT, NY — Coming into West Point as a prior enlisted Soldier provides positive benefits for not only Class of 2022 Cadet Tony Britvec, but also for his fellow cadets.
“The nice thing about being a prior service Soldier is the maturity you bring to a group, especially that knowledge of how to carry yourself,” Britvec said. “Being level-headed in times of stress is something that is very hard to do, it’s very hard to teach. You don’t have an actual example of it around, that’s what the greatest advantage of being a prior enlisted soldier is before becoming an officer.”
As Company C-3 team leader and the only prior service member in his squad at the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition, Britvec credits his knowledge of the competition to his teammates and to the academy for his preparation.
“I think that the training West Point has provided all the Sandhurst teams going into this competition has been absolutely fantastic,” Britvec said. “All the teams going into this competition are going to be very strong.”
Britvec’s passion for working for the greater good and helping others, is what motivated him to join the Army while he was still a senior in high school.
Sandhurst is the world’s premier international academy military skills competition that inspires excellence through rigorous physical and mental challenges that reflect the tempo, uncertainty and tasks of combat operations. The competition strengthens relationships with our allies and partners to foster multi-national cohesion and interoperability and showcases the tenacity and grit of future Army leaders across the world.
The quality of the competition is maintained with a 50-team threshold filled with the best competitors from USMA regimental teams, Cadet Command’s Ranger Challenge program, international partners and other service academies.
This year’s competition is a two-day course with several day and night events that are individual, squad skill mastery and leader focused.
Worn smooth, the crass mass of brass bears the scars of a long life. The
crest that once adorned the side has long since disappeared as have the
words etched around the stone.
Lying on a placard beside the name of its owner and his cadet photo, the
class ring is a testament to the life its wearer lived. Now, it is time
for the ring to begin a new journey, its worn edges melted away and the
gold used to craft rings that will carry the Class of 2020 through
The West Point Association of Graduates hosted its annual Ring Melt
Ceremony Jan. 25 where class rings from old grads living and deceased
were donated and melted down into a gold brick that is used as part of
the gold to craft the next classes rings.
Fifty-five rings were donated this year and the gold will be used to
craft the rings for the Class of 2020, which they will receive Ring
Weekend in August.
“This ceremony was surreal,” Class of 2020 Cadet Emma Powless said. “I
really wish the whole Class of 2020 could have seen what went into it
and how it was executed. I think it is important to know what goes into
our rings and how much it means to people to have their rings go into
our classes’. I think, for the most part, people understand the meaning
of a class ring, but I think today ties it all together and you get to
see the physical representation of what is going into them.”
The ring melt has occurred every year since 2001, but this year marked
the first time it has been held at the U.S. Military Academy. The
ceremony started at Eisenhower Hall where either a representative from
the family donating the ring or someone on the family’s behalf placed
the ring into a crucible. A few ounces of legacy gold, which was
extracted from last year’s melt, was also included which ties together
each of the 18 melts that have occurred. The rings were then taken to be