The Class of 2023 unveiled its class crest at the Plebe Parent Weekend banquet. Pictured here are COL (R) Pat Kane (Class of 1973, Class President), Cadet Jordyn Kenkel (Class of 2023, Ring and Crest Committee Chair), and LTC (R) Al Sciarretta (Class of 1973, 50-Year Affiliation Committee Chair).
Symbolism and Meaning of ’23 Crest: Displayed boldly beneath a fierce eagle, the Class of 2023’s motto reads, “Freedom is not Free.” This motto is a reminder of the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Every member of our class is willing to make this same sacrifice. “Freedom is not Free” will be a daily reminder of those who have served or are currently serving, and the legacy that they have left as inspiration for us as future officers.
Building off our gratitude for those who served before us, the crest bears symbolism from our fifty-year affiliate class, USMA Class of 1973. The font of our class year and “USMA” were created to stylistically mirror the 1973 crest. Additionally, beneath each of the eagle’s three talons, we can count seven chain links, symbolizing their graduation year. However, the chain not only represents our connection to the Class of 1973, but to each other. It is a reminder of our purpose. The breaking of the chain is representative of our fight against oppression and tyranny in the defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The outstretched wings of the eagle serve as a shield against those same evils. The eagle serves as defender of the nation, its people, and its values.
In keeping with tradition, we chose to incorporate the eagle to encapsulate bravery, the flag to represent freedom, and the olive and oak leaves to embody victory and resilience. These historical images depict the values that the Class of 2023 internalizes. Values that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. As we look forward towards our careers in the military, we understand that today we are cadets, here to learn, so that tomorrow we may be officers meant to lead. This transition from cadets to officers is represented by the sabers that frame the bald eagle.
Since 1889, every West Point class has chosen its own crest to represent what it stands for, and we are no different. Our crest is meant to unify a diverse group from a variety of backgrounds. However different we are, we are united by our willingness to serve in defense of freedom and the values enshrined in the Constitution. The crest itself is a symbol of this unity, a physical manifestation to represent our connection to one another and our dedication to our mission.
–Cadet Jordyn F. Kenkel
Ring& Crest Committee Chair ’23