Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beast Barracks

Cadet Basic Training (commonly known as "Beast Barracks") is a seven week process that turns people accepted into West Point from civilians to cadets. There are a number of cadets who served in the armed forces as enlisted soldiers before coming to the Academy, and they have to go through Beast, too because being a cadet has different facets to it than being an enlisted soldier. Cadets in their Cow (junior) and Firstie (senior) years are assigned the leadership roles during Beast, and together, they and their new cadets train in a number of skills. There are two halves of Beast, the first of which teaches new cadets how to act, speak, and present themselves in a soldierly manner, while the second teaches new cadets military tactics, the basic use of military weapons systems, and other valuable military skills such as repelling, land navigation, and the use of gas masks.

Here's the basic run-down for a day in the life of a new cadet:

-Wake up at 0500 to do physical training (PT), which is either running or calisthenics. I'm not sure which one I disliked more.

-Rapidly shower, then go to breakfast formation, followed by breakfast. While eating in the mess hall, new cadets are required to stare at the top-most rim of their plates, may only chew their food three times before swallowing, and must perform the duties necessary to set the table.

-After breakfast, briefings follow. These may be about a great number of things, from the validation of certain classes to how to live according to the West Point Honor Code which states that "a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

-Lunch formation, followed by lunch. While moving from place to place, new cadets are required to move at 120 paces per minute, must cup their hands, may not speak unless it is to greet an upperclassman, and are required to study their book of cadet knowledge while waiting. Knowledge is a very important part of being a new cadet. There are a number of different things that new cadets are required to know, such as Schofield's Definition of Discipline, How's the Cow?, and the number of lights in Cullum Hall.

-After lunch, training occurs. Often, it is required that training be conducted over the course of multiple days in one of West Point's training areas, in which case all of these things things listed will occur in the field.

-If new cadets are not in the field conducting training, Mass Athletics occurs around 5:00 p.m. (1700). This is a time where NCAA recruits may train with their teams, new cadets interested in walking on to a sport may meet and work with the coaches, and new cadets not interested in joining one of these two groups may play a pick-up game of basketball, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, touch football, or soccer with their companies. This is always a great deal of fun.

-After Mass Athletics, new cadets quickly shower, change into their White Over Grey uniform, and go to dinner.

-The evenings are either used for more briefings or additional training time at the squad level (roughly ten new cadets and their Cow (junior) squad leader). This training may consist of practicing techniques or skills that will be learned the next day, going over things learned previously, or conducting proper weapons maintenance.

-At 9:30 p.m. (2130), new cadets are released from training to conduct necessary hygiene and then go to bed. All new cadets must be in their rooms with the lights out at 10:00 p.m. (2200).

Good Parts of Beast:
-Mass Athletics
-Rifle Marksmanship
-Chaplain's Time/Religious Services

Bad Parts of Beast:
-Daily PT
-Teargas Chamber
-Ruck Marches


  1. I must appreciate your post which is helping us in such a great manner.


  2. I can't believe a bad part doesn't include that there's definitely less than 8 hours of sleep!