earned, not awarded
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Oct. 30, 2013) — Cadets were pushed to their limits Oct. 26 for a chance to train at one of 16 U.S. Army and foreign military schools next summer.
The Department of Military Instruction conducts this annual Military Individual Advanced Development assessment to ensure that cadets who are given these coveted slots can successfully complete them. Therefore, the tryouts are tough, long and comprehensive.
Before daybreak, more than 400 cadets assembled into Gillis Field House for the Army Physical Fitness Test. Pushups, situps and pullups were counted and not long after their two-mile run was recorded, the cadets strapped on their rucks for an eight-mile trek, tackling many of the inclines en route to the top of Ski Slope.
Cadets then had to complete the entire Indoor Obstacle Course Test and swim a few laps at Crandall Pool before the real assessment began. Of the 30 cadets competing for just one slot at the Sapper Leaders Course, only 10 made it this far. Cadets were then tasked with carrying a 400-pound Zodiac raft with the choice between two timed routes. The longer one would have less PT tasks along the way. Afterward, they were evaluated on team problem-solving at the Leader Reaction Course and the assessment ended that evening with a board appearance.
Cadets competing for the Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection had another timed foot march to complete, this time carrying heavy water canisters and encountered team events along the way.
Before daybreak, cadets gathered at Gillis Field House for the the Army Physical Fitness Test with a side order of pullups. With little pause after, more than 400 cadets tackled some of the many inclines at West Point during an eight-mile ruck march.
Click on the above graphic to see a set of photos from
the MIAD tryouts.
The Indoor Obstacle Course Test was just a fraction of the assessment more than 400 cadets began Oct. 26 in hopes of being selected to train at one of 16 U.S. Army or foreign military schools next summer.
Those who opted to try out for the Survival, Escape, Resistance, Evasion Course were put through a thoroughly uncomfortable series of drills and interviews to test physical and mental endurance on an individual and team level. Class of 2014 Cadet Chris Smith was the cadet-in-charge for the SERE-C assessment, having completed the course in 2012.
“We’re looking at cadets’ mental toughness and physical stamina, because the course is fairly rigorous and you need to have good endurance throughout the training,” Smith said.
The 10 cadets who make it through the assessment will be sent to Camp McCall at Fort Bragg, N.C. Others were looking to travel overseas and attend Airborne School or Commando School in France, Brazilian Mountain School or Georgian Mountain School. Class of 2016 Cadet Patrick Robertson was among roughly 160 cadets competing for one of 45 slots to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom.
“I’ve been wanting Sandhurst ever since I got here,” Robertson, Co. G-1, said.
He considered options like the Chilean Mountain school or Ecuadorian Jungle School for the combination of language and skills training, but focused on Sandhurst for the leadership training he heard so much about. Following the swim test, cadets received a short break before going into school-specific assessments.
“This definitely wears you down as time goes on, but you have to take it one step at a time to get through it all,” he said. “I’ll probably get some really good sleep at the end of the day.”
Additionally, 39 cadets from 3rd Regiment were competing to join the squad of 11 that will represent the Corps of Cadets in the Chimaltlalli Military Skills Competition in Mexico, Feb. 7-15, 2014. At the 2013 Sandhurst Military Skills Competition, 3rd Regiment achieved the highest score in the Corps of Cadets.