The term “West Point graduate” denotes power and intelligence, as well as a network of equally influential alumni that have moved on to become world leaders. The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, has always been synonymous with honor and prestige. Not just anyone can attend this school, but those who are able to benefit from a full scholarship in the same school where presidents and high ranking military officials graduated from. The United States Military Academy is a co-educational federal service school located in West Point, New York.
Completion of the academic program will grant the cadet with a bachelor of science degree and the privilege of serving in the US military as a ranking officer. Many graduates of West Point join the army as second lieutenants. They may also join other armed services, after additional training and completion of requirements. Cadets that are citizens of other countries go back to their homelands to serve as ranking officers in the army.
All cadets are mandated to stick to the Honor Code, which promotes the highest standards of honesty and moral conduct. The academy emphasizes the importance of the three pillars of performance: physical, academics and military. The curriculum includes subjects that evaluate a student’s military leadership performance as well as his or her academic capacity. Students are expected to participate in competitive athletics.
The academy was originally the headquarter of the Continental Army, which occupied West Point, New York in 1778. From 1778 to 1780, the garrison defences were reinforced. The fort was protected in part by the geography of the area, with the high elevation and the bodies of water surrounding the fort providing a good barrier to the British Royal Navy ships. The academy was almost sold to the British by Benedict Arnold, who was then the officer in charge of the fortifications of the fort.
In 1794, the curriculum for cadets included artillery and engineering studies at the garrison. It was only in 1802 when the US Congress formally established the United States Military Academy in West Point. During the early years, the regulations for admission are not specific. The age range of cadets at that time was between ten to thirty-seven years, and some attended the school for only six months. The longest that a cadet was in the academy was six years. With the war in the horizon, a more formal system for academics was established before 1812. The Corps of Cadets was expanded to comprise 250 individuals. The use of gray uniforms started in 1814, which eventually led to the coining of the term “Long Gray Line”, which refers to the alumni network of the United States Military Academy. Colonel Sylvanus Thayer created the curriculum in 1817 that endured through the years until the present time. His contributions were honoured with the building of the Thayer monument and he was given the title of “Father of the Military Academy.”
The graduates of the early United States Military Academy proved themselves during the Mexican-American War, bringing prominence to the academy. The majority of the graduates who served during the Mexican-American war were granted awards for bravery. The 1850s saw the revolutionized curriculum of West Point. New barracks were erected and the infrastructure was further fortified. Tactics training was also intensified with the incorporation of new armaments and transportation technologies. After the civil war, veterans started the tradition of hazing, which led to the demise of one cadet, Oscar L. Booz in 1900. While it is believed that hazing still exists on some levels, the administration prohibits this practice.
Adjustment to a military lifestyle could take a while, but cadets rarely feel any of the stress after they’ve gotten used to it. Each class has less than twenty people, and the un-crowded environment makes interacting with the professor more natural. The library is stocked with all available resources that the cadets will need for completing their homework. Most impressive of all is that all the professors are on call for consultations day and night.
Upon acceptance, each cadet must deposit around three thousand US dollars, which is non-refundable. Cadets at West Point receive around ten thousand dollars in pay as they become active-duty soldiers upon acceptance to the academy. They are provided with everything they need, including health care on campus, food and lodging. Payments for uniforms, computer gadgets, laundry services and books are deducted from their pay.