West Point Class of 2012 cadets select first duty assignments
February 13, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 10, 2012) -- With a little more than three months until graduation, the Class of 2012 cadets waited in anticipation to select their first duty assignments for their branch affiliation at Post Night Feb. 2.
Cadets, organized by branch, gathered at locations throughout West Point after considering the top three posts and units they would like to begin their service as second lieutenants.
Those highest in the order of merit--or standing among their peers--had the advantage of choosing the earliest that evening and, at most places, the decision was made by selecting the post off the wall. As the walls became bare, cadets grew anxious to get their chance to choose.
Some cadets decided to opt for adding additional years of service in order to improve the chance of receiving a choice assignment.
U.S. Corps of Cadets Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett spoke with the future engineer officers briefly before they selected their duty assignments.
"It doesn't matter where you go," he said. "No matter where you go, you will be leading Soldiers."
Burnett also advised them to join the Army Engineering Association.
"There's a couple of engineering associations I belong to, but the AEA is us, the Army," Burnett said.
Some cadets were not particularly worried about getting their first choice, even if they were not in high standing.
Class of 2012 Cadet Antuan Aaron, a native of Dallas, was hoping for an assignment close to home. He particularly wanted to begin his career in Air Defense at Fort Hood, Texas.
"I want to work on Patriot Missiles," he said. "I have a lot of family in Texas and it will be good to go back home. I think I have a good chance of getting to Fort Hood."
The most popular assignments in the engineer branch fall within the "Golden Triangle."
"The golden triangle includes Hawaii, Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Carson, Colo.," Maj. Matthew Chase, the engineer branch representative and instructor at the Department of Military Instruction, said.
Engineering is one of the branches that has gender specific duty assignments. The cards that cadets selected had pink or blue tabs on them to indicate which posting was gender specific.
Class of 2012 Cadet Laura Yeungert was eager to pick the only Fort Stewart card with a pink tab because she has family in Georgia and a sister attending school in North Carolina.
Yuengert said she enjoys the physical, hands-on nature of Army engineering and didn't think there was any concern going into Post Night.
"I'm not aware of another female who wants that post, so I don't think I have to worry," Yuengert, whose parents and brother also graduated from West Point, said.
She got it. And Class of 2012 Cadet Maxwell McDonnell got his first choice as well.
"I'm going to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii," the future combat engineer said. "I'm from California and it's closer to home."
To view photos and a video from Post Night, visit the West Point Association of Graduates website at www.westpointaog.org/page.aspx?pid=3284, or visit www.flickr.com/photos/west_point/ for a PAO photo gallery.