What Do Cadets Do?

 Posted by on September 16, 2013  West Point
Sep 162013

I am frequently asked what exactly I do at West Point during the summer and throughout the school year.  And it’s quite understandable.  Much of what we do is shrouded in rumor, hearsay, and preconceptions from a careful public image that our Public Affairs Office endeavors to cultivate. So, I’ll attempt to paint an honest portrait of time spent at West Point.

Summers focus on military training, but also include leadership opportunities, academic or physical trips, and leave (time home).  Incoming plebes attend six weeks of Cadet Basic Training (CBT – Beast Barracks), and rising sophomores (yuks or yearlings) attend four weeks of training at Camp Buckner.  Between the two remaining summers, all cadets must complete a leadership detail (usually serving as a member of the cadet cadre for CBT or Camp Buckner), a four week visit to shadow a Platoon Leader in an Army unit (CTLT), a three week field training period (CLDT), and a military/academic/physical Advanced Individual Development (IAD) opportunity (schools like Airborne and Air Assault fulfill this requirement).  Any time remaining amidst these activities is spent as leave.

Our school year is, quite honestly, pretty similar to a normal college student’s academic semester, with a daily schedule that more closely matches high school.  During the academic term, the focus is on academics.  We do not do military training and we do not conduct group physical fitness training (except for intramural sports).  Our time is largely spent attending class and studying.  A typical day has four or five hours of class, optional breakfast and mandatory lunch, a club meeting or extracurricular sport practice, homework, and sleep.  A bit more mundane than most would assume and, indeed, a bit mind-numbing as the weeks go by.


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