West Point Chapter of NIA welcomes cadets, SMA

Story and photos by Kathy Eastwood Staff Writer

February 11th, 2016 | News, News and Features
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey spoke at the Infantry Ball Feb. 5 at Eisenhower Hall. Dailey is the 15th Sergeant Major of the Army. He has held every enlisted leadership position during his career, ranging from Bradley Fighting Vehicle commander to command sergeant major.
Class of 2016 Cadet Mike Lami places the last ingredient into the grog and presents it to Maj. Thomas Nelson to taste at the annual Infantry Ball Feb. 5 at Eisenhower Hall. Nelson pronounces the grog, made up of 10 different interesting ingredients, fit to drink for everyone.

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth and the Infantry. And God looked upon the Infantry, saw that it was good, and said unto them “Thou art my chosen children. Take thou dominion over the Earth; over the fish of the Sea, the birds of the Air, and all of the Key Terrain.” And as a mark of His favor the Lord placed in the hands of the Infantry the sacred relics: the Apostolic Anti-Armor Weapon, the Catholic Claymore, and the Marian Machine Gun. Likewise gaveth the Lord unto the Infantry the Rucksack of Repentance, the Radio of Redemption, the Rifle of Rectitude. Lastly, unto the Infantry, and most divine of all, the Lord gaveth the Holy Hand Grenade.”—From the Gospel of Saint Miles.

 

The West Point Chapter of the National Infantry Association sponsored the annual Infantry Ball Feb. 5 at Eisenhower Hall. The Ball is a way for cadets to speak to other infantrymen about their experiences and stories. It also creates an immediate connection between infantrymen from past and present to those who will commission as Infantry lieutenants in May.

The annual Infantry Ball welcomed 160 cadets from roughly 240 who branched Infantry to hear guest speaker of the evening, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey.

“My brother has always served in the Army to only return from the service,” Dailey said. “I came home from the recruiting station and told him I signed up for the Infantry service. He said ‘you dummy, why did you do that? All they do is dig ditches, stand out in the cold and brake stuff.’

“Do you know what,” Dailey said. “I did dig ditches and served my time in the cold and I broke my stuff. So, a little earlier, right before I became Sgt. Maj. of the Army, I looked at him and said, remember when you told me that all I would do is dig ditches, stand out in the cold and brake stuff? I looked at him and said ‘who’s the dummy now?’”

Dailey acknowledged the night’s celebration and the nearly 157,000 infantrymen who are working on the ground around the world.

“I am keenly aware, that you, the Infantry, are the most lethal weapon on this Gods earth,” Dailey said.

The Infantry Ball is part theatrics, part serious, part ceremony and yet everything has significance to the Infantry. First and foremost, there is the making of “the grog” consisting of 10 potent ingredients, all representing a theater of operation.

The grog is usually stirred with a cadet saber. The grog is tasted with the declaration that the grog is still missing ‘something’ and the missing ingredient is added, perhaps a rock or ‘sand’ from a boot.

The grog is then declared ready for consumption and attendees are served.

“This is something (Infantry) I thought about since before I got here,” Class of 2016 Cadet Eric Johnson said. “Going through here (West Point) the more I liked it because you are more close to people on the ground.”

Johnson will be stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

“My grandfather was in the Infantry, but he was trying to get me into the Navy. That made me want to go into the Army,” the Pennsylvania native said.

Class of 2016 Cadet Stephen Bainbridge, who will be heading to Fort Hood, Texas, likes working with people, which is one of the main reasons he chose the Infantry.

“It all about the challenge. You only get one chance to do this kind of stuff when you’re young,” Bainbridge said. “I’m the only one in my family that is military. You have to create your own adventure.”

U.S. Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, Jr. spoke about the Infantry and introduced the guest speaker.

“In his assumption of command speech last August, our Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Mark Milley—himself a fellow Infantryman—said that ‘wars are ultimately decided on the ground, where people live. And it is on the ground where the United States Army … must never, ever fail,’” Caslen said. “All of us here this evening know just how true that statement is, and not to take anything away from the other branches, but that sentiment is especially true for the Infantry. Since the birth of our Army, the Infantry has been right there in the thick of things, at the tip of the spear …ready to fight.”

During the Infantry Ball, the Order of Saint Maurice and the Shield of Sparta Awards were presented to the Soldier who served the Infantry with distinction and demonstrated a significant contribution in support of the Infantry.

The Order of Saint Maurice was presented to the following: Lt. Col. Greg Boylan, Maj. Daniel Capozza, Capt. Jeffrey Auer, Capt. Josh Silver, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Grizzle and Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Tremblay.

The Shield of Sparta is awarded to a spouse who has contributed significantly to the Infantry. The award was presented to the following: Colleen Boylan, Allison Capozza, April Pixler, Dana Silver and Jessica Green.