Reorgy Week kicks off new semester for USMA cadets
By Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 9, 2013) -- Cadets could be seen returning to West Point in droves last week, lugging travel bags, recreational gear, laundry and duffel bags as they arrived back in time for Reorganization Week Jan. 3-7.
Commonly referred to as “Reorgy Week,” this is the time when cadets receive textbooks and visit the Admissions Office to add and drop courses. Many will undergo training for their respective duties, like the Respect and Honor staff. Still more will attend informational briefings by class, regiment or selected personnel.
For Class of 2013 cadets this marks their final semester before graduation and commissioning, and it will be highlighted with events such as Post Night—where they choose their first duty station—and 100th Night—a milestone celebration and countdown of their final days as cadets. The Class of 2016 completed its first of eight semesters and has Plebe-Parent Weekend to anticipate this spring. Some of these highlights and a review of 2012 were presented to the Corps during a leaders’ briefing at Eisenhower Hall Theatre Jan. 5. It’s also an opportunity the academy’s command team takes at the start of every semester to set the tone, the focus and the priorities for the remainder of the academic year.
Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. delivered a message about leadership and referred to the “educate, train and inspire” mission statement as the focus which guides everything at West Point.
“This is what matters in your 47 months here at the United States Military Academy. That’s your focus,” Huntoon said. “It is your preparation to lead the sons and daughters of America, to serve the nation in a selfless and courageous manner. That’s the point of everything you do here. And that’s why we start the beginning of every term by reminding ourselves of our true azimuth.”
The command briefing addressed issues such as the SHARP program—the Army’s sexual harassment and assault program, suicide prevention and hazing.
Huntoon said trust is the foundation of leadership and those types of incidents are detrimental to establishing and building trust in a unit.
“Every one of you here shoulders the responsibility for every member of our team. And part of that mantle of leadership includes no tolerance for the criminal misbehaviors that are part of SHARP, that means no assault, no harassment to other members of our team,” Huntoon said. “It means respecting each other and respecting boundaries.
“You need to build and sustain the trust that I know exists in the Corps all the time. That is your duty. And it will certainly be your duty as officers in the United States Army where you will stand in front of a formation and say the same words and hold your organization accountable as they trust you with their lives.”
Commandant Brig. Gen. Ted Martin said even one instance of sexual assault or harassment shocks him, and he doesn’t like the fact that a Google search on hazing inevitably will find reference to West Point and of practices nearly a century ago.
“Because that was the flavor of the day here. It wasn’t too long ago when hazing was out of control at West Point. If we don’t fight every single day and stamp it out wherever it shows itself, it’ll come back,” Martin said. “It’s the tool of the weak. It’s the tool of a weak leader. The only way Soldiers will follow you in combat is if they trust and respect you. When push comes to shove and it’s their life or yours, they have to give it to you; you can’t take it. And they have to trust you. We can build that trust by not having hazing as part of our leadership lexicon.”
Martin said what was developed by the senior leadership from the Class of 2012, which is now being confirmed by the Respect staff from the Class of 2013, is that the most progress in this fight can be made at the company level.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been a company commander, so I listened when the cadets talked. It’s the tone that is set at the company level, it starts with language, attitude, the words that we say—some of which are very hurtful,” Martin said. “It’s not that we’re not strong and we can’t take it … but personal attacks, going after someone because of their gender, race, religious orientation or sexual orientation is not how you develop leadership. It’s not how we develop the type of tone and atmosphere in a company where we all go about the business of studying physical development, military development, professional development.”
U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon Jr. chats with cadets prior to the leaders briefing Jan. 5 at Eisenhower Hall Theatre. Photos by Mike Strasser/USMA PAO
The Commandant of the Corps of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Ted Martin, addressed the Corps of Cadets Jan. 5 at Eisenhower Hall Theatre. He first spoke of some of the remarkable contributions made by the Corps in 2012, like the Tunnel to Towers Run and the parades which preceeded each Army Football home game.
Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Timothy Trainor opened his remarks with a reminder about how well the Corps is doing—citing two Rhodes Scholarship recipients, the Model UN Team earning three Best Delegation awards in competition among the accolades and the many cadets representing the academy throughout the world in the Semester Abroad program.
He also provided advice to each class for the upcoming semester and beyond. For the seniors, Trainor said “finish strong and graduate” and assist underclassmen to also succeed.
“And as the leaders of the Corps I ask that you continue to enforce study conditions in the barracks. We’ve been doing pretty well in that area, at least from what I’ve seen,” Trainor said.
To the entire Corps he emphasized a message of starting strong and finishing stronger.
“We throw a lot at you here in developing you to be scholars and warriors,” Trainor said. “There’s a lot on your plate but it’s very purposeful because you need to seek excellence in all of those to be successful as an Army officer, for what the demands of the Army are, and what our Soldiers deserve from their leaders of character.”