New Cadets March Back from 'Beast Barracks' at West Point

WEST POINT -- They survived the initial test.

Now it's on to four more years of learning how to be a soldier in today's Army.

Members of the West Point Class of 2020 took part Monday in the traditional 12-mile march from Camp Buckner on the military reservation's outskirts that marks the end of cadet basic training.

And when they came into view along Washington Road, a cheer arose from the family members who had lined up on both sides.

Cadets at the head of the group carried a banner with the class motto: With Vision We Lead.

Known as Beast Barracks, the initial training faced by cadets is so intense that not everyone who comes to West Point is able to handle it.

Of the 1,308 who showed up for Reception Day on June 27, 1,276 made the march back -- an attrition rate of nearly 2.5 percent.

But for those who made it, their loved ones couldn't contain their pride and joy at seeing the new cadets march back.

Susan LaFlam of Greenville, S.C., who watched with husband Bruce as their son Andrew marched past, has been glad for the few letters and phone calls she and Andrew shared the past six weeks.

"He said he's changed so much, and it's all for the better," LaFlam said.

Sara Ginzburg of Coral Springs, Fla., said her daughter Danielle scores very high academically but had some difficulty handling the physical challenges of West Point.

"It was tough," Ginzburg said. "She said it was very hard. She was last in the group a lot, but she made it through."

Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr. and other West Point leaders joined the cadets on the march, as did members of their 50-year affiliate class, the Class of 1970.

The Class of 2020 will be formally accepted into the Corps of Cadets with a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday on The Plain.

Related Video:

Show Full Article