27 June 2011

“Beast” Day 1 – West Point

Morning arrived! I was eager to report for duty. My orders stated to report at 1300 (1pm), so I had the morning to relax, find breakfast, and get situated. I didn’t take any pictures today because I was so busy getting acquainted here, and totally forgot to take my camera with. I was told that West Point was a small campus. That may be compared to JBLM or Ft. Jackson, but this campus is big enough IMHO. It’s easy to get turned around on the roads here. The PX was recently moved quite a distance (about 2 miles) from quarters, so it took some orienteering to locate that as well. Fortunately, fuel here is cheaper than most of NY. I think it’s at 3.81, and 5 cents off that with the military credit card.
Well, 1300 rolled around, and I made my way to the Chaplain’s office. Before driving over, I met LT Scott Hurst, another CC assigned here for 30 days (there will be nine of us total). I remembered him from CH-BOLC last summer, so it was great to see him again. He was one of two CCs who flew here, so since he didn’t have a car, I took him over to the office as well.
We arrived, only to discover that the office was LOCKED! Fortunately, we met up with more of our CH-BOLC friends, LTs Don and Kyndalin Mooney (married couple). They both have over 20 years of prior service, so it was an honor to be teamed up with them this summer as well. The rest of the CCs began trickling in as we waited there…wondering what to do next! We discovered that there was another Chaplain office a couple blocks away, but two of the other CCs (Matt and C.J.) said no one was there either. (We discovered later that there is yet another Chaplain office in addition to these two – a Catholic office, but that’s beside the point!)
We stood around, saluting many Cadets in the process, until we decided to report back the following day in the morning. We weren’t able to reach any of our POCs by phone either. We exchanged numbers and went our separate ways, exploring the West Point campus and its beauty and history.
Some of us grabbed lunch at Grant Hall, while CJ and I went back to check the 2nd Chaplain office that he had visited before. We ended up running into a Chaplain’s Assistant, who told us that our POC Chaplain was conducting services at the Cadet Chapel, and that we should report there. This Monday turned out to be a busy/hectic day for most of the staff on post. This is the first day of "Beast" (or CBT - Cadet Basic Training), the first day being known as “R” day. Today is when the New Cadets arrive and report in the AM, while many of their parents wait until evening, when the New Cadets march on the field (known as the “Plain”) and take their oath to begin their process as New Cadets. It’s amazing to see what the Cadre can do with these young men and women in one day!
So, the CCs regrouped, ate some free food (subs in the Chaplain fridge), and headed over to the Cadet Chapel via the Chaplain van! We were introduced to the USMA (United States Military Academy) Chaplain’s wife (Mrs. Durham), and were invited in to their house. Their home is actually attached to the old Cadet Chapel! Many buildings here are made from granite here btw! It’s beautiful!
The time finally came when we were introduced to our Chaplain Supervisor, CH (MAJ) Berghaus. We had introductions, some casual small talk, a brief outline of the week, and then decided to report back tomorrow morning, where we would begin the in-processing. Five of us CCs are stationed here on post, one CC stationed at the West Point quarters just off post, another CC at a Holiday Inn a few miles off post, while the Mooney’s have a (very nice) hotel about 30 minutes from post! I for one am currently glad I’m on post, and easily accessible to any needs that may arise. On the other hand, going from the breakfast this morning, I’m pretty sure the CCs off post will have a better free meal every AM! I guess there’s always a give and take! I’m sure looking forward to tomorrow!

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