By Brandon OConnorJuly 24, 2019
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Three weeks after saying goodbye to their families and beginning the transition from civilian to cadet, the new cadets in the Class of 2023 were given the chance Sunday to call home and relax for an afternoon.
The annual New Cadet Visitation Day or Ice Cream Social marks the midway point of Cadet Basic Training at the U.S. Military Academy.
The members of the Class of 2023 are hosted for an afternoon by members of the West Point community and given the chance to call family and friends, check email and see what they have missed outside the gates of West Point since Reception Day.
"It kind of rejuvenated me and gave me more of a sense of purpose," New Cadet Anton Tumaliuan said of the chance to call home. "Sometimes, I kind of feel lost here. Sometimes, I kind of feel down in the dumps and now I'm like, this is what I'm working for. This is who I am doing this for in addition to myself. I cannot fail them. It's just keeps pushing me to get through these last three weeks of Beast."
The break during visitation day gives the new cadets a chance to gear up for the second half of CBT when they will be spending more time in the field culminating in a Field Training Exercise. After the afternoon break, they returned to an all new leadership team as the cadre changed over from CBT 1 to CBT 2.
"I'm looking forward to all of the field training because I love being out in the field," New Cadet Corrigan Railey said. "It's why I wanted to come here to West Point, why I wanted to join the Army. I wanted to do this kind of hands on training. I'm so excited and looking forward to Buckner and doing all the field training exercises, doing all of the work outside."
The new cadets arrived on R-Day, July 1, and began the process of learning how to be in the military from scratch. During Cadet Basic Training, they are taught how to shoot a rifle for the first time, while also learning the ins-and-outs of cadet life.
"It's the little things that I didn't really expect to do, like cupping your hands all the time and getting your head shaved every week and stuff like that and paying attention to detail," New Cadet Jonah Park said of what surprised him during the first three weeks. "I didn't realize that I would have to pay so much attention to everything all the time if I wanted to be successful here, not just we're going out to the field we're doing land nav or we're shooting our guns."
During the second half of Beast, the new cadets will have the chance to go through live-fire exercises, react to contact drills and continue learning basic military skills.