After enduring a three-and-a-half year academic journey, coupled with military training, Branch Night finally came and the Class of 2021 Cadets celebrated with thunderous revelry after getting one step closer to joining the Army on Dec. 2 in Washington Hall.
Brig. Gen. Curtis A. Buzzard, Commandant of the U.S. Corps of Cadets, took to the podium and praised the Class of 2021 for coming this far in their journey at West Point.
“Just a couple of quick highlights about the branching process,” Buzzard said. “80% of you received your first choice, and 96% of you received one of your top three choices.”
Cadets responded with a wave of euphoria as cheering and applause resonated throughout the mess hall. Buzzard turned the mic over to Col. Alan Boyer, the director of the Department of Military Instruction.
“TACs (tactical officers) hand out the envelopes,” Boyer ordered. The mess hall filled with echoed murmurings of cadets as the envelopes were passed out. The tension steadily rose until the order was given, “alright cadets hold your envelopes in the air — let’s get ready to do this,” Boyer shouted. “Welcome to the profession of arms — open your envelopes!”
A cacophony of jubilation quickly rose as cadets read the results. Everything finally came full circle as cadets leaped in the air, overjoyed with the realization of being at the tail end of their tenure at the U.S. Military Academy.
“It’s a weight off my shoulders — I’m almost at a loss for words,” Class of 2021 Cadet Evan Walker said of branching into Military Intelligence. “I received the Rhodes Scholarship and I will be studying abroad at Oxford to get my master’s and hopefully I’ll take lessons learned from that experience and bring it back to my branch.”
After she made her statement, Walker was assailed with hugs by her peers. The rest of the graduating class did the same with everyone embracing each other and triumphantly waving their branch results in the air.
Class of 2021 Cadet Giovan Navarro broke down many obstacles throughout his tenure at West Point to finally branch into Cyber. The support of friends and his strong desire to aspire for greatness in the Army led him to this moment, Navarro said.
“I’m excited — it's been a long three-and- a-half years here. Me and my buddies have all been working hard and I’m Just happy,” Navarro said. “I’m excited for all of us — this is our moment tonight and everybody got what they wanted!”
For Class of 2021 Cadet Justin Gittemier, aviation was always his calling. With the Aviation branch modernizing rapidly, state-of-the-art aircrafts are constantly being created to enhance the military war fighter, Gittemier explained.
“I’m really happy I got the aviation branch. It feels amazing! You put in all this work and then you make it to Branch Night and you get anxious because you really don’t know,” Gittemier said. “Two new aircrafts are being developed so I am hoping to fly one of those eventually and I hope to be one of the first pilots on them.”
Following the branch results, the Cadets continued with the night’s festivities eating Chick-fil-A and guzzling a variety of hearty beverages. Soda and beer cans clanked over the celebration of the end of one trial and the beginning of a more arduous journey that includes completing their final semester and then becoming an officer in the Army.