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FAQ - Military Training
  
Answer
When do cadets take military training?
On the first day you arrive at West Point you experience a military environment. You quickly learn to live by military standards, render proper military courtesies and complete a rigorous military training program. The purpose is to develop leaders with a strong moral-ethical foundation who have an appreciation for discipline, sensitivity to the needs of others and a commitment to a demanding code of ethics as professional Soldiers.

You are instructed in fundamental military tactics and leadership during a 2-week intercession period between the first and second semester each year. A strong physical education program helps develop your strength and endurance. These attributes are essential to the physical demands of service life in the U.S. Army and combat. Field training is conducted during the summer months at West Point and at military installations located throughout the United States and parts of Europe and the Far East.
What is Cadet Basic Training like?
Cadet Basic Training is a 6-week program that helps you make a rapid transition to military life. You are physically challenged with daily physical fitness training that helps prepare you for long footmarches, mountaineering, rifle marksmanship and tactical maneuvers. "Beast Barracks", as it is commonly called, is challenging, stressful, physically demanding and rewarding. It establishes a foundation for your basic military skills.
What training follows basic training?
Cadet Field Training is conducted during your second summer at West Point. Eight weeks of field training is given at Camp Buckner, various locations throughout the West Point military Reservation, and at Fort Knox, Kentucky. It is designed to familiarize and train each Third Class cadet in basic and advanced individual Soldier skills. Training is conducted in combined arms operations, introducing the cadets to the combat, combat support and combat service support branches of the U.S. Army. First and Second Class cadets develop their leadership skills by serving as officers and noncommissioned officers for the Cadet Training Regiment during the summer.
What military training occurs during your third year?
As a Second Classman, or junior, you receive leadership experience in active Army units, serve as squad leaders at Cadet Basic Training and Cadet Field Training, or participate in military specialty training. A portion of the class participates in Drill Cadet Leader training at U.S. Army training centers, guiding new U.S. Army recruits. Another group participates in Cadet Troop Leader Training at U.S. Army posts and in locations around the world. The remainder of the class participates in Cadet Basic Training at West Point or Cadet Field Training at Camp Buckner.

Cadets also participate in Military Individual Advanced Development training courses in such programs as Air Assault, Airborne, Mountain Warfare, Northern Warfare, Special Reaction Team Course, Sapper Leader, and Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training courses. There may be duty at the National Training Center, the Joint Readiness Training Center, or Combat Maneuver Training Center. Attending these schools helps motivate and build your confidence while learning usable military skills and developing individual leader proficiency.

Many cadets say these are the most valuable experiences of their four years at the Academy.
What about training for First Class cadets?
With the First Class year comes more privileges, latitude, and much greater responsibility. Approximately half of the first class leads the training of the third class cadets at Camp Buckner and the New Cadets during Cadet Basic Training.  The balance of the first class receives leadership experience in active Army units in Cadet Troop Leader Training. They may join United States Army units in Germany, Panama, Alaska, Hawaii, Korea or the continental United States. First classmen also participate in Military Individual Advance Development training courses.

Final preparation for the first class before graduation and a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army includes courses in the profession of arms. These courses educate cadets on military justice issues, ethics, Army organization and standard operating procedures. The courses are designed to show a cadet how a junior officer takes charge of a platoon, protects against terrorist measures and develops a professional military role with noncommissioned officers.

First class cadets also receive information on the various Army branches of service, assisting them in selecting a branch and a first unit assignment.
What are my Army career options?
After graduating from West Point, you will be commissioned in one of several Army branches. You may want a combat arms branch such as Infantry, Field Artillery, Armor, Air Defense Artillery, Aviation or Combat Engineers. You also may choose a combat support branch such as Signal, Military Police, Chemical or Military Intelligence. You may also want to choose one of the combat service support branches such as Ordnance, Quartermaster, Transportation, Adjutant General or Finance. Opportunities are also available for the Medical Service Corps or the Judge Advocate General Corps later in your service career. You will advance to positions of greater responsibility in each branch based on your abilities.
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