WEST POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 11, 2010) -- More than 1,300 new West Point cadets treked up Mine Torne Hill, scaling rocks and clasping hands to reach the top, thus completing the final mission of the Hyde Challenge.

It was a test of their field training and a testament to a West Point warrior who gave his life in service to his country.

First Lt. Daniel Hyde, a Class of 2007 graduate, had served as a cadet regimental commander during CBT during his firstie year. He graduated 23rd out of the graduating class of 968 commissioned second lieutenants. Hyde was serving in Iraq on March 7, 2009, when he died from injuries sustained from a rocket-propelled grenade attack. He was an infantry platoon leader assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team with the 25th Infantry Division out of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

The Hyde Family, Glenda, Brian and daughter Andrea, saw firsthand all the training events that comprised the Hyde Challenge and made the climb to view the memorial.

"It was beautiful," Glenda said. "I thought I had a pretty good idea what it would be like, but it was pretty amazing once you've seen it."

Brian described it as a spiritual experience and Andrea was touched knowing that her brother was being remembered by so many cadets.

The Family also attended the CBT Awards Ceremony on Sunday and presented the award for the best squad performance at the Hyde Challenge. Glenda spoke to the new cadet regiment about her son, who had received appointments to all three service academies but chose West Point out of a desire to lead Soldiers.

"And he really didn't like those white shoes the Navy guys wear," she said.

Glenda described Daniel as a born leader, diligent and humble who lived by the philosophy of never accepting mediocrity.

"He thought West Point would be the toughest thing he ever did...until he went to Ranger School," Glenda said. "But that's a story for another day. "We continue to celebrate his life and thank all of you for the celebration of his life here in this challenging final event of your training.

Cadet Robert Baxter, an Alpha Company squad leader and member of the best overall CBT company, said the Hyde Challenge was a good assessment of the new cadets' skills.

"They performed excellent. As a squad leader, I tried to let them take charge of land navigation and whenever they could, to see how they could do on their own," Baxter said. Pretty much the whole time I never had to worry about them."

Baxter's brother and sister are members of the Long Gray Line, and said the memorial was a fitting tribute to all West Pointers who've made the ultimate sacrifice.

In her closing remarks, Glenda shared an e-mail from Daniel, his final words to his cadet company before graduation:

"In my humble opinion, I know this place throws some tough stuff at you, but it is the people that you get to share this time with that will get you through it. That has been an absolute truth for me. So no matter what you do, or where you go, lean on the person to your left and right, because we are a team and that is what good teams do."

Given those parting words, it seemed oddly appropriate that the first class to complete the Hyde Challenge chose as their class motto- "Forever One Team."

"Be an amazing team, Class of 2014, and God bless each and every one of you along the way," Glenda said.