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New cadets integrate into West Point during R-Day
US Army | Jun. 29, 2022
After they had parted ways with family and friends, the culture shock shook the young cadet candidate hopefuls to their core as they spent the day transitioning from civilians to new cadets during Reception Day Monday at the U.S. Military Academy.
This year, West Point received about 12,600 applications from aspiring students. However, more than 1,200 new cadets reported to West Point to kickstart their inprocessing to join the Class of 2026 and begin their 47-month experience.
Roughly 38% of minority enrollment included 144 African Americans, 143 Hispanic Americans, 163 Asian Americans and 23 Native Americans. In addition, 261 women, 11 combat veterans and 16 international students were inprocessed to West Point.
For Class of 2023 Cadet Kai Youngren, the Cadet Basic Training commander, part of meeting the challenge of shaping over 1,200 new cadets is learning everyoneʼs quirks to adequately guide them to success.
“Being responsible for over 1,200 people is an incredibly enormous responsibility,ˮ Youngren said. “Learning to pay attention to the smallest details, to check on your cadets and remain positive each and every day in order to inspire the vast quantity of the regiment is something thatʼs going to be very, very useful for me when I take over a platoon of 40 people.ˮ
New Cadet Sean Kim stood in line with his parents, Paul and Yoon Kim, who originally hail from South Korea, as they waited to enter Eisenhower Hall to say their farewells.
Paul and Yoon expressed how proud they were to watch their son take this monumental step in his life and hoped that he would learn the value and importance of leadership, friendship and confidence.
“I came to West Point because I want to serve people,ˮ Sean Kim said. “For as long as I can remember, I always had a desire to serve. From getting mentored by firefighters and police officers to ultimately coming here, Iʼve always valued interpersonal connections through serving the community.ˮ
Throughout the process, new cadets transitioned from civilian clothing to Army Physical Training Uniforms. Additionally, they received marching and saluting instructions, haircuts and medical services. They also entered oath rooms, where they signed the official paperwork, stood at attention, raised their right hand and took their oath, solidifying their presence at West Point.
As R-Day culminated, the new cadets also took the pivotal first step in an old West Point tradition of reporting to upperclass cadets sporting red sashes. In order to officially report to a company, one must successfully report to the cadet in the red sash. However, the test is designed to overwhelm the candidates, help pinpoint mistakes and overcome their first obstacle.
“The biggest takeaway that we want (new cadets) to have when theyʼre sitting up in their rooms tonight wondering ‘Why the heck they joined the U.S. Military Academy,’ I want them to look to their left and right and see their bunkmates and realize thatʼs the people who theyʼre going to rely on to get through the next six weeks, the next 47 months of their lives and to really feel welcomed into the Long Gray Line,ˮ Youngren concluded.