Cadet First Captain addresses ‘Old Grads’ at WPSDC Winter Luncheon

By Maj. Tania P. Donovan

February 8th, 2018 | News, News and Features
 West Point First Captain Simone Askew with oldest graduates present, Col. Francis Kane, USMA Class of 1945, and Col. Eugene Deatrick, USMA Class of 1946, at the West Point Society of Washington D.C.’s annual Winter Luncheon Jan. 24 at Fort Myer, Va.      Photo by West Point Society of D.C.

The West Point Society of Washington D.C. (WPSDC) hosted its annual Winter Luncheon Jan. 24 at Patton Hall, Fort Myer, Virginia.  The guest speaker was First Captain Simone Askew. Approximately 120 old graduates were in attendance.
Askew took her opportunity to address the room full of grads to deliver, a much appreciated, “state of the Academy” report.  She began by explaining that some classes are being extended from 55 minutes to 75 in order to have more time to dig deeper into the subjects.
Plebes were choosing their majors on the same day as the luncheon, which is a lot sooner than it has ever been, in an attempt to allow cadets to decide on their major and start taking classes earlier, she said to the crowd.
Cadets are still devoted and very much engaged on the fields on friendly strife through physical training on Saturdays followed by rigorous military training like Sandhurst.
The Army Physical Fitness test is not conducted at the brigade level anymore and the Corps was taking the Indoor Obstacle Course Test (IOCT) Jan. 26. The graduates wished them all luck on this annual tradition and show of grit and strength.
Askew laid out some of the priorities of the Superintendent and explained that character development is at the top. Some of the focus areas within character development are: building honorable leaders of character, respect, sexual harassment/assault prevention, and the work of the honor committee.
“How can we be the best version of ourselves? And how can we embody professionalism,” asked Askew about the academies focus on character development.
The report Askew delivered was followed with a question and answer session, giving graduates an opportunity to focus on more specific areas of interest.
“As alumni and graduates, what can we do to help?” asked one graduate.  Askew explained there are many ways of reaching out like through the Association of Graduates (AOG), among others, but that personally reaching to potential cadets in their communities is one thing she would highly encourage graduates to do. Educating their communities on what West Point is and everything that it has to offer is a critical thing for the future of the academy.
It was another successful event for the WPSDC. They are incredibly proud of the cadets and faculty who represent the academy every day and look forward to the upcoming Founder’s Day dinner at the Marriott at Crystal City Gateway March 10, for another event of camaraderie, good conversation and fun.