Branch Night for the Class of 2014

Categories: 50-Year Affiliation Program, Cadet News, Grad News
Class Years: ,

Some were transparently anxious: “Did I do enough to get my first choice?” pondered one firstie. Some masked their apprehension with sarcasm: “I’m confident that I’ll get one of my top 16 choices,” joked another. But after the members of the Class of 2014 tore open their envelopes and saw the branch insignia inside, nervousness became excitement as they finally learned their identity beyond “cadet” in the profession of arms.

“I’m very excited,” said Ron Apostle ’14, “Armor was my first choice.” Justin Felix ’14 was just as thrilled about getting assigned to the Medical Services. “The Army as a whole is about helping the world,” he said, “and the Medical Corps is about helping our own Soldiers do just that, so I’m really excited about that.”

Of course, if Brigadier General Richard Clarke ’84, the Commandant of Cadets, had his way, all the members of 2014 would be going Infantry. “It is a complex and daunting process to get each cadet into the branch he or she desires,” Clarke said in a speech to the Class before the envelopes containing each cadet’s branch selection were distributed. “To simplify matters, I contacted the Army’s G-1 this morning, and requested 1,090 Infantry slots.” When their laughter at his jest subsided, Clarke turned serious and told the cadets: “Each of you may wear a different insignia, but what you have to remember is that the strength of the United States Army lies in the strength of Soldiers from each and every branch.”

Clarke was followed by the evening’s guest speaker, General Barry McCaffrey ’64, who provided the Class of 2014 with more wisdom regarding the occasion. “After four years at West Point, you’ve been educated for a world of uncertainty,” he said. “Now you are about to go to a branch where they’ll train you for a world that is certain.” The General also gave the firsties some questions to ask themselves at the end of their initial commitment: 1) Am I good at what I am doing? 2) Do I like a life of leadership? “If the answers to both is ‘yes,’” McCaffrey said, “then don’t you dare get out of the Army; you’ll never find a more absorbing and demanding life in any other profession.”

McCaffrey certainly knows of what he speaks. With 32 years of service, he is the most decorated member of the Class of 1964, which is the 50-Year Affiliation Class for that of 2014. Seventeen other members of Class of 1964, representing various Army branches, were also on hand to congratulate the firsties on this special night. “They are ours and we are theirs,” said Dave Smith ’64. “Tonight makes the connection between our classes much more real, and it makes the Long Gray Line truly tangible.”

With only 188 and a butt days to go, it’s getting much more real and truly tangible for the Class of 2014.

Class of 2014 Branch Night_01

Branch Results for the Class of 2014

Infantry – 210
Field Artillery – 151
Engineering – 143
Aviation – 130
Military Intelligence – 81
Armor – 69
Air Defense – 54
Signal Corps – 49
Ordnance – 42
Adjutant General – 35
Quartermaster – 32
Transportation – 30
Military Police – 23
Medical Services – 20
Finance – 11
Chemical – 10
TOTAL – 1090

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