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Public Affairs : Plebes no more

Plebes promoted in rain-soaked ceremonies 

Story and photos by Mike Strasser
Assistant Editor
WEST POINT, N.Y. (May 25, 2013) — Just hours before the Class of 2013 marched into Michie Stadium and the cadets took their seats for the commencement ceremony, there was one last, albeit brief, duty they had to perform.

It’s a tradition for the graduating class to recognize the advancement of the 4th class cadets from plebes to yearlings. Short, rain-soaked ceremonies were conducted by the 36 companies around Central Area this morning as the soon-to-be second lieutenants said farewell to the plebes.

The company squad leaders approached each plebe and turned over the shields on their shoulder boards, acknowledging their advancement in the Corps of Cadets. It was also the first time they were allowed to be called by their first names.

They will earn the rank of cadet corporals after successfully completing Cadet Field Training this summer. Until then, they’re not quite plebes, not quite yuks.

“We’re plucks,” one cadet admitted.

Along with handshakes and congratulations, a few words of advice were imparted during these ceremonies as upperclassmen dispensed some lessons learned they acquired through the years.

“Try to think of your plebe year for all the lessons learned. Think about how you’re going to make the plebe you’re going to be responsible for better,” was the advice Class of 2013 Cadet Kevan O’Rear offered.
The Class of 2016 cadets were recognized by the upperclassmen in the Corps of Cadets prior to the graduation ceremony on May 25. The shields on their shoulder boards were flipped, indicating the advancement from plebe to yearling.

“Make friends quick and hold onto those relationships,” Class of 2013 Cadet Jake Robbins said. “They may change over the years as far as who your best friend is and who you spend the most time with, but the relationships you make early will be the ones that help you make it through the academy. If you build those bonds early and hold onto them you can make it through West Point.”

The Class of 2016 will earn new rank as cadet corporals following completion of Cadet Field Training this summer.