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R-Day for the Plebe Class

This is the day your son or daughter begins their 47 months at the United States Military Academy. They truly start down the road to independence and begin a unique time of their life. We hope that you will be able to accompany your candidate to West Point for R-Day. West Point is the oldest continuously operated military post in the country. It is steeped with the history of our great country and its many exceptional leaders. At West Point they say, ”Much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.”

It will be helpful to you as the year progresses to be able to picture where will be for the next four years. If possible, arrive a day or two early so you have time to tour West Point and get to know the surrounding area.

Wear comfortable casual clothes and your best walking shoes. Casual dress at the Academy is defined as: Men - slacks with collared shirt, sweater or sports coat; Ladies- slacks with blouse, skirt and blouse. Blue jeans, shorts and T-shirts are frowned upon; it is safer to wear "dress casual."

Other family members may accompany you for this important day. Note - If elderly relatives come, it may be a grueling day for them because of the heat and the amount of walking, which is mostly uphill. No matter where you go at West Point it always seems to be uphill. This is a day of many emotions. Bring plenty of tissues as these emotions are all normal and natural.

After parking in the designated area take everything with you that you will need for the rest of the day - you won't be back to your car until after the R-Day Parade. Take cameras, video cameras and protection in case of inclement weather. The West Point weather changes frequently.

With respect to arrival time, West Point will be sending you detailed reporting instructions for this year. Follow the schedule based on the last digit of your candidate's social security number.
Be sure to say your good-byes BEFORE you get to the reporting-in location. This location may be Michie Stadium or Eisenhower Hall. You only get a few seconds for a quick hug after the greeting by the Officer of the Day. This will be the last time that you will have close contact with your candidate until Cadet Basic Training (CBT) is finished in August. In the unlikely event that you happen to come across your candidate during training on R-Day or you are fortunate enough to spot them during the Oath Ceremony, DO NOT try to talk to them directly.

After your candidate has departed, be sure to visit the Parent’s Welcome Center in Eisenhower Hall. You will have the opportunity to: sign up for lunch tickets at one of the sites on post, buy football tickets, buy Class of 2010 souvenirs which are only available on R-Day, receive a card with your candidates' company assignment and P.O. Box number, mail your first letter to your candidate and visit various exhibits. Remember to bring pencil and paper to jot down information that is available at the various booths. Some of the special Class of 2010 souvenirs includes tee shirts and ladies canvas bags with the names of the Class of 2010 members which will include the name of your son or daughter.

After visiting the Welcome Center, walk or board the buses that will take you to the Plain area. You will have time to walk around the Plain area and Trophy Point but will not be allowed in the Cadet Area, which is beyond the chains in front of the Barracks and Washington Hall. There will be some locations near the central area where you can observe the candidates being instructed by the cadre. Also, the large grass parade area (commonly referred to as "The Plain") in front of the bleachers is off limits to pedestrian traffic.

After lunch, be sure to attend the Superintendent's Briefing for new parents, in the Eisenhower Hall Auditorium. This will be a very informative introduction to Academy life.

At 6:00 p.m., there is the R-Day Parade and swearing-in ceremony that is held on The Plain or at Trophy Point unless there is inclement weather. Arrive early (up to 1 hour) to obtain a good location to observe this ceremony. It gets very crowded. Bring your camera, video cam, or binoculars. Remember that all new candidates will look alike. They are not easy to identify because all have the same haircut, uniform, and no expression. They will be lined up by height, front to rear of each company, and this may help you pick them out during the Pass in Review. The information on your candidate's company assignment will also help. If the ceremony is to be held on Trophy Point, the New Cadets leave Washington Hall, march past the Superintendent’s House (Jefferson Road) and turn east on to Cullum Road and then to Trophy Point.  When the class is lined up in formation, Company A will be on the left and Company B, C, etc from left to right (as they face the monument).They will march in and leave in Company order. Listen to the announcements during the Parade so you know when to stand at various stages of this ceremony.

After the swearing-in they will march off directly to Washington Hall, the Mess Hall, for their first evening meal as new cadets. The day is over for you and your family at the conclusion of the parade.

Don't forget to mail those letters and cards before you leave so that your new cadet will be one of the first to receive mail. The Cadre normally requires them to write a letter home within the first few days. It will be short and should arrive about a week after R-day.

**** Finally, if you haven’t already done so, make your reservations for Plebe-Parent Weekend while you are in the area for R-Day.

Note:  The cost of transportation to West Point for your cadet on R-Day will be reimbursed by the USMA, so save receipts and be sure to record mileage. Your cadet must submit forms for this reimbursement and they need the receipts. West Point will reimburse for only one night's hotel cost and they have a predetermined mileage scale. These funds will be deposited to the cadet account. Flights are reimbursed at the government rate. This is based on a one-way trip but you may be able to obtain a roundtrip ticket for less than the government rate. If so, book the return flight in December then. Even if you have to change the date and pay a change fee because of the term end exam schedule you’ll be ahead on the cost of a full ticket.

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