After seven days of intense training, seminars, and activities, the Corps of Cadets class of 2017 has completed their New Cadet week.
During New Cadet week, incoming freshmen are trained by 130 upperclassmen cadets on how to perform basic functions necessary to be successful cadets. Exercises include rappelling down the Ranger Tower— a military obstacle course, teambuilding activities, learning the correct way to wear the uniforms, male cadets getting the traditional buzzcut, and how conduct themselves on upper quad.
The introductory week ended on Saturday with a drill rifle march, where parents and community members gathered to watch the newest cadets complete the drill rifle sequence.
The incoming class is made up of 331 freshmen, from eight different countries and 30 different states, which caps the total Corps of Cadet membership right around 1,000 students. This year, the incoming class is made of 18 percent women — a larger percent than the last few years.
“Given the staff and students, we’re trying to sustain a Corps of 1,000 students,” said the Assistant Commandant of Cadets for Recruiting, Major Rewa Mariger. Mariger also noted that besides the Corps vision of 1,000 students, space is also a factor in the enrollment of the Corps.
“There is a tremendous learning curve for these new freshmen,” Mariger said. “We’re essentially taking them from zero, to learning how to march in parades with rifles.”
The upperclassmen cadres who have been training the new cadets were chosen based on their performance. Black Shirts, who are selected sophomores, have been helping with the physical labor involved during the first week, from placing uniforms in the classrooms to helping move all 331 freshmen into the dorms.
With the conclusion of New Cadet week, the red phase begins: a six-week period that leads up to the 26 mile Caldwell March.
“Red Phase continues with a lot of the training that we weren’t able to fit into the first week. It’s the same training, just now with academics thrown into the mix,” Mariger said.
The Caldwell March will take place before midterms, and will complete the Red Phase for the newest members of the Corps of Cadets.