Branch Night for the Class of 2021

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

Given that classes are held outside in tents, Army Football games were canceled at the last minute, and masks are now part of the uniform, it is only natural for cadets to think they are living in some sort of alternative reality in 2020 due to COVID-19. But thanks to Branch Night, the ceremony during which firsties learn in which Army branch they will serve, members of the Class of 2021 are now staring the reality for which they have been preparing for four years straight in the face: In a few short months, they will be serving as second lieutenants in the Army, and, thanks to the generosity of the Class of 1971, their 50-Year Affiliate Class, they now have the brass branch insignia to prove it.

Class of 2021 Branch Night

“Branch Night is the first significant and clearly visible step to becoming a lieutenant in the U.S. Army,” says Ambassador and Lieutenant General Dell Dailey ’71 (Retired), the keynote speaker for the Class of 2021’s Branch Night ceremony, held on December 2, 2020. “The firsties will now wear their branch insignia on their uniform, and it will be a continuous reminder of their soon-to-be future.”

“Up until this year, the idea that we will soon be officers has always seemed somewhat abstract and far away,” says Cadet Hailey Hodsden ’21, who is looking forward to being a Military Intelligence officer with an Armor detail. “Firstie year is filled with reminders of our impending reality, and none are more tangible or impactful than Branch Night.”

Outside of Graduation, perhaps no other event in a cadet’s time at West Point is as meaningful as Branch Night.

Class of 2021 Branch Night

“Branch Night is special to me because it is the culmination of the blood, sweat, and tears that I have shed throughout my time at West Point and the night where one’s path in the military comes to fruition,” says Joshua Musiol ’21, who is looking forward to following in his father’s footsteps. “My dad spent his entire 26-year career in the Aviation branch, culminating as the brigade commander of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade.”

“A cadet’s identity will be changed because of their branch assignment,” says Dailey. “They will no longer be seen as an ‘F-3 cadet,’ which was my cadet company, but as an Army Armor officer, a pilot, an intelligence officer, etc.”

According to Dailey, the most important part of a cadet’s post-Branch Night reality will be the desire to “move on.” “They will really have a strong sense of ‘it’s time to leave West Point,’” he says, “and an immense desire ‘to finish it, get it over and move on!’”

Branch Results for the Class of 2021

Infantry – 211
Field Artillery – 143
Engineers – 120
Armor – 95
Aviation – 90
Military Intelligence – 65
Air Defense Artillery – 52
Cyber – 41
Signal Corps – 39
Ordnance – 32
Quartermaster – 25
Medical Services – 20
Transportation – 17
Military Police – 13
Chemical – 13
Adjutant General – 12
Finance – 4

  • 80 percent of the Class of 2021 received their #1 branch choice
  • 96 percent received one of their top three branch choices
  • 98 percent received one of their top five
  • No member of the Class of 2021 received his or her last branch preference
  • 86 percent of the Class of 2021 branched Multi-Domain Operations (traditional Combat Arms plus Cyber, Military Intelligence, and Signal Corps)
  • 92% of males; 67% of females
  • 72 percent of the Class of 2021 branched traditional Combat Arms
  • 599 males; 112 females
Branch Night Class of 2021_NC_10

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