USMA @ West Point "R-Day"
The United State Military Academy at West Point
"R-Day" or reception day in the start of the education process at the USMA at West Point. Prospective students at the Military Academy barely had three weeks off after graduating High School. The cadet candidates arrive with their families and go through a very quick check in process, are given a 3-4 minute introduction to the days events, the parents are told they can enjoy the day with tours of the grounds of the academy and instructed to be back at the Plain for the ceremony. They are told to say their goodbye's in a very short period of time. The cadet candidates are then whisked away... And then it begins... Cadet basic training.
Cadet candidates are then put through a slew of events that are designed to rattle their sense of normalcy. For today, it's about situational awareness and following directions. period. During the process, the cadet candidates are given their oath of affirmation, which is where they actually become New Cadets.
Orders are given to them in rapid succession, as the Firsties watch to see who is falling behind. The cadets get a little extra "attention." They are given new shoes, uniforms, and a haircut. They learn the basics of marching, turning, standing at attention, the proper angle to have your arm when you salute, and how to stand at "Parade Rest."
Before they are allowed into their barracks, they must first present themselves to a "Cadet in the Red Sash." Only a select few are granted permission to pass on the first presentation. The new cadets must step up to the line, and repeat two sentences, in proper order, with cadence and conviction. Don't get it right, and it's back to the end of the line. I watched as one new cadet was sent back to the end of the line 16-times. He was the last of his group to enter the barracks.
Those who complete this phase of the training, will become plebes in Class of 2018 at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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