Cadet Basic Training (CBT) - 'Beast Barracks' (USMA)
July - August 1978
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Cadet Basic Training begins on Reception Day (R-Day) in June. The new cadet reports to Michie (pronounced Mikey) Stadium, and after a short greeting, is given 90 seconds to say good-bye to their family. The new cadets are marched across the stadium floor, and begin to live life as a New West Point Cadet.
Within 2 hours of arrival, new cadets report to the "Cadet in the Red Sash" for in-processing instructions. In just 8 short hours, the cadet chain of command will in-process approx. 1200 new cadets, wherein you will receive vaccinations, gear, and clothing. You will begin to learn to stand, march, and behave like a West Point Cadet. The day concludes with a full review that includes new cadets receiving the cadet oath and passing in review. During the day, the family members of cadets have been provided an opportunity to see West Point, and hear the Superintendent speak. At the end of the day, they can view their new cadet in a "Pass In Review". In this one day, it is already apparent that the new cadets have begun to make the transition from civilians to Army soldiers.
From Day One, new cadets start their day at 0530 with physical conditioning.(stretching, running, close quarters combat, and conditioning road marches). The first five days also include further inprocessing with the week ending with Sports Orientation & West Point Tour. It is a busy first week.
The following weeks include:
NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL, CHEMICAL TRAINING
GENERAL MILITARY SUBJECTS
BASIC RIFLE MARKSMANSHIP
INDIVIDUAL TACTICS AND TECHNIQUES
SQUAD TACTICS AND TECHNIQUES
LEADER REACTION COURSE
CONFIDENCE OBSTACLE COURSE w/ SQUAD MILES
INDIVIDUAL PROFICIENCY TRAINING
1ST AID TRAINING
By the end of CBT, the new cadet will have completed several 3-mile, 6-mile, and 8-mile road marches with full equipment to prepare new cadets for the 12-mile road march out to Lake Frederick and a 15-mile road march back at the end of the second detail.
As Prepsters, I recall we arrived at USMA late afternoon, 3 July (a Monday), with the 'luxury' of our final day of freedom being the 4th of July. Then, at approximately 0700 on 5 July, we reported to Arvin Gym for in processing...while our 'civilian' classmates were saying goodbye to their families up the hill at Michie Stadium. By the time they were starting to make their way through in processing, we'd already been in processed, obtained our issued clothing - in addition to what we brought from USMAPS in our duffle bags, changed into the funky black shorts, white t-shirts and black low quarters with black socks, reported to 'The Man' (though, in this case the first women at USMA - 1980 - were now 'Cows' and part of the BCT detail) in the 'Red Sash' (three failed attempts on my part - couldn't focus on the report while attempting to suppress my laughter) and secured our room assignments.
Once our new roomies arrived, the fun really began, highlighted by the 'raised voices' meant to motivate us 'New Cadets.' As noted in current narratives "the emphasis these days is on 'dignity and respect' and creating an atmosphere where the new cadets 'feel comfortable.' It's not all about the upper class cadets yelling at the incoming class — another traditional R-Day image. That's not how we do things anymore." Would have been nice back then...and saved me a bit of trouble being 'flamed' on by upper class for laughing at their 'intense' ... and ridiculous ... leadership techniques.
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