Summertime for Cadets
While most college students spend their summers doing things such as working for tuition money or backpacking across Europe, the cadets at West Point spend their summers studying. More specifically, the cadets "study" military tactics and leadership styles while participating in various activities outside the classroom. Summer military assignments are based on a cadet's year group, but the overall goal of every one is the same: to develop a cadet's professional skills as he advances towards becoming a second lieutenant.
Sometime during their last two summers, cadets have to complete one leadership assignment at the Academy and one in the Army. At West Point, cadets can work at CBT or CFT, while in the Army cadets participate in two different programs - Drill Cadet Leader Training (DCLT) and Cadet Troop Leader Training (CTLT). During CBT and CFT, cadets serve in all of the leadership roles, from Squad Leader and Platoon Sergeant to Company Commander, and they also work as members of various staffs. Both CBT and CFT are divided into two details, and a cadet's assignment usually only involves work during one of the details, which last approximately 4 or 5 weeks. Out in the Army, at DCLT, cadets work with the Drill Sergeants and the new recruits at Basic Training. In CTLT, cadets either shadow a platoon leader or fill a vacant platoon leader spot in a unit. Cadets participating in CTLT can state a preference as to what type of unit they would like to work in and in what location. CTLT affords the cadets a glimpse into the life of a platoon leader in a particular field and tends to influence their branching choice later on in their Firstie Year.
Along with working at West Point and in the Army, Second and First Class cadets participate in various IADs, individual advanced developments. These IADs fall into several categories. MIADs are military programs, including Airborne, Air Assault, SAPPER, and SERE schools. PIADs are physical programs such as scuba and rock climbing. AIADs are academic opportunities, usually related to a cadet's major. AIADs are developed through the separate academic departments. Past AIADs include sending foreign language majors to study at a university overseas, sending cadets in the Department of Social Sciences to Washington D.C. to work on issues of national policy making, and sending Aero majors to work at NASA. All the IADs are voluntary except for the MIADs. Cadets must attend a MIAD before graduation.
Whether a military, physical, or academic IAD, these programs provide cadets with unique summer learning experiences. These experiences seem to provide the cadets with enough memories to help them survive the monotony of most of the upcoming academic year. Though the summer period is only around ten weeks long, they tend to make every cadet's Top Ten list of Best Times at West Point, along with Army-Navy weekends and Spring Break. Summer assignments definitely made up some of my favorite times at the Academy. Even now I can't think of much that could beat five weeks in Germany for CTLT!
Thanks to Jackie (Kalata) Whiteside '93 for permission to reprint her article
Parents: We would appreciate any photos and memories you may be able to send to us. Please send to the Nobles for inclusion on the page. We need all the help we can get.