West Point Parents Club of AlaskaWP Crest

Cadet Basic Training

"Duty-Honor-Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points, to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."
General Douglas MacArthur - Excerpt from his Farewell Address delivered to the Corps of Cadets on 12 May 1962.

R-Day is the start of Cadet Basic Training or "Beast", as it is affectionately known. Some new cadets actually like it, but others hate it. It is a time when newly appointed young men and women are molded into WEST POINT CADETS.

A cadet's daily life begins before 6:00 am and during Beast Barracks will extend into the evening hours. In addition to extensive military training - including military courtesy, marching and the handling of firearms - the new cadet will be schooled in the traditions of West Point and will learn what it takes "to make it." They are graded on a daily basis.

This is a particularly difficult adjustment period for the new cadet. His or her lifestyle will undergo a complete change when they are totally immersed in a military setting. Stress is a major part of the program along with the ability to memorize data, learn military drill, courtesy and the "West Point Way." It is a time when all are in need of encouragement and support since you may hear a lot of negative reaction on the part of your new cadet. Insist that they hang in; insist that they give it a fair trial. Staying power and the ability to perform well under stress is the hallmark of a West Pointer.

For the first few weeks of Beast, new cadets will be very, very busy. The concept of "One-Day-At-A-Time" ("1DAAT") will help them over this initial experience and adjustment. During his briefing, the Commandant will give you the schedule for when phone calls will be made during CBT. If your new cadet does not make contact with you they will be allowed to call until they reach you. Let your new cadet do the talking and you do the listening. The first call is often filled with emotion and is sometimes a real "downer". That is normal! The new cadets have had it with standing in lines, learning plebe knowledge, getting haircuts, testing, mess hall formality, and the intense nature of the whole thing. It may be the worst experience of their lives up to this point.

Encouragement and support is what they need the most from you. Remember more than 200 plebe classes have survived - so can they. If you do not get a phone call in the first couple of weeks, don't panic. Sometimes new cadets will intentionally pass on the first opportunity to call because they are not yet ready to hear your voice and all the emotions a call to home bring. Relax and let them choose the time that is best for them.

Keep sending those cards and letters. Don't be discouraged if another parent tells you that they heard from their new cadet and you haven't. Assignments and free times differ greatly throughout the various companies. A phone card for your new cadet will cost less than collect calls. Your telephone expenses will be higher, but phone conversations will be very important to you and your new cadet. Notify them about times you will be gone from home. Decide on good times for calls and then make every effort to keep phone lines open and be there for the calls. With so little free time, it is very disheartening to get a busy signal when a new cadet needs a lift from Mom or Dad's voice. Keep a pencil and note pad handy by the phone to write down questions you will have and to jot down information from your new cadet.

Toward the end of July, just when the new cadets are starting to get comfortable with their cadre, the upperclassmen change with a whole new set of cadre and leadership. This is training in leadership for the upperclassmen as well as basic training for the new cadets. This change can be particularly stressful for the new cadets.

The last week of Beast is spent at Camp Buckner, a military camp on the West Point reservation. The new cadets will bivouac, learn military skills and really bond as a class with a skit night and the selection of their class motto.

| Site Map | Contact Us| ©2006 West Point Parents Club of Alaska