Bay Ridge

Fort Hamilton celebrates West Point Day

Army cadets take part in parade, hold information fair

April 20, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
West Point cadets march through the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton. Eagle photos by Paula Katinas
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Two historic military institutions, the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, joined together for a day and invited the public in to have a look behind the scenes.

Fort Hamilton celebrated West Point Day on Saturday, welcoming hundreds of cadets and academy officials to the garrison for a parade and a fair aimed at providing information about the academy to prospective students.

Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr., superintendent of West Point, and Col. Joseph D. Davidson, commander of Fort Hamilton, also welcomed hundreds of local residents to the fort to meet the cadets.

The day of celebration began with a parade. Looking impressive in their grey and white dress uniforms, the cadets marched through fort, from the Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division Headquarters building to Engeldrum Bluff, overlooking the Narrows. As the parade progressed, spectators scurried to hilltops inside the fort to get a better view of the cadets as they marched in formation.

Military commanders reviewed the cadets from a reviewing stand on the bluff.

At the end of the parade, the West Point Pipes and Drums and Drill Team performed.

The informational fair also took place on the bluff. While the mission of West Point is to train future army second lieutenants, the academy also offers a wide variety of extra-curricular activities and clubs for cadets including boxing, fencing, cheerleading, power lifting and cyber games. Visitors got the chance to see displays of physical and mental strength by the cadets.

Dazzled by what they saw, many young children asked to have their pictures taken with cadets.

Admission into West Point is an honor reserved for the nation’s most promising students, according to an academy spokesperson. It takes more than good grades to get in. West Point wants leaders who are intelligent, physically fit and of outstanding character. Those who are selected to attend West Point receive a college education with tuition, room and board and expenses fully paid.

Upon graduation, West Point students are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

“The number of students we accept is determined by Congress,” the spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle. Students are nominated for admission into West Point by their local congress member or senator. The President of the U.S. and the Vice President can also nominate prospective students.

It’s important to Congress that all 50 states be represented in the student body at West Point, according to the academy spokesperson.

One little known fact about West Point: a handful of students from foreign countries are accepted each year. The foreign cadets are usually from countries that are U.S. allies that don’t have military academies of their own.

In addition to learning to be a military leader, a West Point cadet takes courses any other college student would take, including English literature and philosophy. But West Point students graduate with Bachelor of Science degrees.

West Point was founded in 1802 after President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation authorizing the establishment of a military academy. Fort Hamilton, named for Alexander Hamilton, was founded in 1825. Located in Bay Ridge, the fort is currently the only active military post in New York City.



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