West Point new cadets get brief respite from CBT challenges
July 23, 2009
The afternoon of July 15 was a special day for new cadets halfway through Cadet Basic Training, or Beast Barracks as it is lovingly referred to. They all went to the homes of community members, TAC officers, instructors and coaches to enjoy the annual Ice Cream Social--technically called Quarters Visitation Day--for a few hours to eat, drink refreshments, meet other new cadets and make phone calls home.
"Basically the Ice Cream Social gets the new cadets out of CBT to visit an Army Family out of the training (environment), because everything they are exposed to during the first few months they are here becomes the rule of thumb (in their thinking)," Company G-1 TAC officer, Capt. Denis Fajardo, said.
New cadets get the opportunity to talk with other cadets to compare notes about R-Day and how their training is going, especially the new Soldier First Response (advanced first aid) training the new cadets just completed.
"(Training on) inserting an I.V. was tough," said one female new cadet as she displayed her bruised arm. "And I kept sneezing with the nasal pharyngeal airway up my nose."
In SFR training, cadets alternately play the role of patient and first responder.
Another aspect of the day is the building of bonds among the new cadet athletes and their coaches.
Army Lacrosse head coach Joe Alberici and Executive Assistant to the Dean David Dominick hosted the majority of the lacrosse recruits and spent a lot of time relaxing in Alberici's basement, a place where the team spends a lot of its downtime.
"As a coach, I try to build a bond between the team by making the lacrosse team part of the Family," Alberici said. "We spend a lot of time together and the team is used to coming here for spring break or to watch the Super Bowl. The guys feel comfortable and that helps to build a better team."
Although the new cadets are put through the ringer during Beast, the cadre also are learning to be leaders of character from the new cadets, so it turns out to be vital training for both groups.
"The new cadets are open to everything," Fajardo said. "But the cadre get a lot out of it, too. I would take the CBT company commanders as platoon leaders anytime."
New cadet quotes from the Ice Cream Social:
Aca,!Ac "I don't remember."
Aca,!Ac "I kept thinking 'Dear God, what did I get myself into.'"
Aca,!Ac "I just remember it was my birthday."
Why West Point'
Aca,!Ac "I know people who graduated as second lieutenants, and they are super stand-up gentlemen. I guess that is what inspired me."
Aca,!Ac "I've wanted a military career since I was in sixth grade, my dad was a Marine."
Aca,!Ac "(West Point) is very challenging, but it is totally worth it."