Firsties receive duty assignments at Post Night
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Feb. 6, 2014) — Cadets in the Class of 2014 assembled Jan. 30 to learn where they’re going to initially live and work following graduation from the U.S. Military Academy.
Post Night is the last “unknown” for many firsties. Last November they discovered their branch selection and now Post Night confirms their first duty station and reporting date for the basic officer leadership course.
From the expression of joy on Class of 2014 Cadet Chris Price’s face, it was hard to tell he didn’t get his first choice. With much enthusiasm, Price will be heading to Fort Richardson, Alaska, and serve with the 2nd Engineer Brigade.
“I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before and Alaska seemed like an awesome opportunity,” Price, a Civil Engineering major, said.
Price said now knowing where he’ll be stationed gives him time to research the specific companies in the battalion.
“Now we can really start planning on our futures as second lieutenants after BOLC,” Price said.
For others it was a little less of a mystery. Cadets who branched Aviation, like First Captain Lindsey Danilack, aren’t assigned a post until after completing flight school. In August, Danilack will report to Fort Rucker, Ala., for BOLC before continuing to flight school.
“Post Night for Aviators is actually a fun experience,” she said. “Because we do not post and we only put in preferences for our BOLC report dates, we all met at the First Class Club and received our dates there.”
Danilack said the remaining months will still be busy ones for the Class of 2014, but the light at the end of the tunnel is apparent. As a future Engineer officer, Class of 2014 Cadet Jason Hu will be preparing to take the exam which will license him as a professional engineer.
“I still have to study and get ready for the FEE, but other than that I’m just focusing on personal fitness and talking with my mentors about officership,” Hu said. “It’s been a long four years, and it’s exciting how close we are to the finish line.”
Hu got his first choice and is assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colo. Class of 2014 Cadet Rebecca Tummers also got her first choice. The American Politics and French major is assigned to 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., after completing the Military Intelligence BOLC at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
“I was pretty confident I would get what I wanted so (Post Night) was a little less exciting for me,” Tummers said. “I was happy, however, because I knew I would not be debating with myself anymore. It was a really hard choice.”
Cadets who branched Infantry and Armor gathered at Robinson Auditorium Jan. 30 for Post Night.
Class of 2014 Cadet Chris Price, the commander of 1st Regiment’s Company G, is clearly pleased with what’s displayed on the screen behind him. Although it wasn’t his first choice of duty stations, Price is headed to Fort Richardson, Alaska, and said it will be an awesome opportunity to go somewhere he’s never been before.
Tummers said when deliberating posts, locations weren’t as much a factor as the unit and available career opportunities.
“The worst place in the world can be awesome just by having the people you care about the most around you, and great people can be found anywhere,” Tummers said.
Prior to the announcements for Infantry and Armor, an officer reminded the cadets there are no wrong choices.
Class of 2014 Cadet Andrew Trahan agreed. Having grown up an Army brat, he said he’d be happy anywhere.
“This was not my top choice but I am very happy that the Army stationed me at Fort Benning, Ga.,” Trahan said. “To me, there are no bad posts in the Army and I am excited to graduate and serve the Soldiers at any unit or post.”
He said when he discovered he was assigned to 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division—“The Sledgehammers”— he felt happy and excited.
“Excited to finally know where I will be heading after I finish my athletic intern job (at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School), and happy for the rest of my classmates,” he said. “Post Night is a wonderful bonding experience that is really cool to go through not only with your classmates, but also members of your branch.”
Like Class of 1976 graduates Gen. Raymond Odierno and Gen. Rhett Hernandez, Class of 2014 Cadet Mark Antonio’s first assignment as a field artillery officer will be in Germany.
“I was excited because I got my first choice and this is the first time I will be leaving the States since I was young,” Antonio said.
Antonio said it was a relief to finally learn where he’s going after graduation.
“I am much more relaxed now,” he said. “It’s hard to beat senioritis.”
The Class of 2014 still has milestones remaining. The firsties will gather for one last celebration as cadets during 100th Night on Feb. 22 before getting back to the business of graduating from West Point.