In Focus

  • New USMA senior enlisted leader makes people his first priority

    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Josephine Pride
    West Point Public Affairs

    People first. People are everything.
    This is a part of the philosophy Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Coffey, U.S. Military Academy senior enlisted leader, has lived by as a leader in the U.S. Army.
    “I believe in doing the right things the right way,” Coffey said. “If you communicate, if you’re present and you’re a team player, you can get through almost anything and you will be a valued member of the team.”
    As the senior enlisted leader of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Coffey is in charge to extend the influence of Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, USMA Superintendent, and help inform and enforce his priorities and lines of effort all the while taking care of the entirety of the USMA team. Read More


    By Brandon O’Connor
    Former PV Assistant Editor

    (Editor’s note: This is Brandon O’Connor’s final story for The Pointer View. He has moved on the the Department of Agriculture, and I wish him good luck in his future endeavors.)

    It was in the most unexpected moments that Eston Smith’s life changed.
    He answered his phone expecting it to be a casual call between him and his sister before quickly realizing it was anything but.
    A few weeks later, he was sitting at a bar with friends enjoying the evening when he missed one call from his mom, then another before receiving a text that said “Please call now. Not good. Really, really not good.” And when he did, not just his evening but his life as he knew it up until that moment was shattered. Read More

  • Competitive club captains receive Centurion pins

    U.S. Corps of Cadets Commandant Brig. Gen. Curtis A. Buzzard, the head of the Department of Physical Education Col. Nicholas Gist and U.S. Corps of Cadets Command Sergeant Major Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Killingsworth present Centurion pins to cadet club team captains in a ceremony Sept. 10 at the Cadet Mess Hall. The Centurion pin recognizes the accomplishments and dedication of competitive club team captains. In the ancient Roman army, soldiers were awarded the rank of “Centurion” based on their strength, size and skills, as well as their years of dedicated military service. They would typically command legions of 100 men or more. The Centurion pin ceremony was the brainchild of former U.S. Corps of Cadets Commandant, retired Maj. Gen. William Rapp, in 2009, to honor those leaders in the competitive sports clubs, and to expand on Gen. Read More

  • New innovations improve branching process for cadets, branches

    Story and photo by Jorge Garcia
    PV Staff Writer

    Last year, the U.S. Military Academy applied its first-ever market-based branching model to the cadet branching process. This year, despite the pandemic presenting its own challenges, West Point continues to improve its market-based branching approach in an effort to align cadets with the branches where their talents best fit the unique demands of the job.
    Class of 2021 cadets will be assigned to a branch based on their preferences and how each branch commandant rates them. After conducting cadet interviews and sifting through cadet talent resumes, the commandants will  order cadets into one of three categories: “Most Preferred,” “Preferred” and “Least Preferred.” Moreover, within those three categories in the rating system, cadets are ranked from the highest to the lowest, based on their standing within the Order of Merit List (OML). Read More

  • ‘Never Forget’—Keeping memories alive of those who died on 9/11

    Story and photos by Eric S. Bartelt
    PV Managing Editor

    “This is our Pearl Harbor. When I went to school, I only knew of Pearl Harbor because it was taught to me in history. This is what 9/11 is becoming now. A lot of people are forgetting about it and we shouldn’t.” ‘Never Forget’ appears on screen and then fade to black.
    These were the words Sue Herr articulated and the sights seen in the final seconds of a 10-plus minute 9/11 remembrance video, produced by West Point Public Affairs, shown to cadets in the Cadet Mess Hall on Friday and available to the West Point community to watch on YouTube.
    The words were powerful because Herr lived the experience while working in Tower Two of the Twin Towers on that fateful, clear blue-skied Tuesday morning 19 years ago. Read More

  • Air defenders talk opportunities at USMA Branch Week

    Story and photo by Don Herrick

    Once a year, various branches across the Army visit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to participate in Branch Week. Through strict travel safety measures for COVID-19, the air defenders participated in the recruiting event Aug. 31-Sept. 4.
    The seasoned air defenders talked about the importance of the branch in today’s modern operations. They answered the questions of cadets who are getting ready to finalize their rankings on which branch they want to be assigned. In addition to personnel, the Air Defense Artillery displayed a Patriot and an Avenger Launcher. Cadets had the opportunity to climb into the turret of the Avenger and engage targets with a Stinger Troop Proficiency Trainer.
    “The Army’s Talent-based Branching Model emphasizes a cadet preference and a good fit between the cadet’s talents and the unique needs of individual branches,” said Lt. Read More

  • The 2020-21 Influenza season and COVID-19

    By West Point Health Service Area Department of Public Health

    The West Point Health Service Area Department of Public Health (WPHSA) has sought direction from the Army Public Health Center (APHC), as well as guidance for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to provide up to date, relevant information for our immediate community and outlying stations with regards to the upcoming influenza season.
    Essentially, we will be fighting two separate, yet highly contagious pathogens. The upcoming season will be unprecedented in modern times and will require every member of our community to adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) to include strict hand hygiene, appropriate wear of face coverings/masks, cough/sneeze etiquette, social distancing and notifying a supervisor when experiencing illness. Read More

  • Can I receive a COVID-19 test at Keller if I am ‘asymptomatic?’

    By Keller Army Community Hospital

    Army guidance is to only test COVID-19 asymptomatic beneficiaries who are scheduled for medical procedures, overseas missions (deployments, TDY or PCS) or readiness/training requirements.
    Keller Army Community Hospital will administer a COVID-19 test to asymptomatic beneficiaries in the following categories:
    • You are scheduled for or having a surgical procedure (inpatient or outpatient).
    •   You are a service member with a “travel medicine overseas deployment” requirement.
    • You are a service member with a “training” requirement (military training, National Training Center or Joint Readiness Training Center).
    •  You are a service member scheduled for “official TDY travel overseas.”
    •  You are a service member/military family who will PCS overseas.
    If you are in the above categories, you can book a COVID-19 test through the Keller Army Community Hospital Appointment Center at 845-938-7992 or 800-552-2907, from 7 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Read More

  • Stay safe during travels

    After teleworking and/or isolating at home, “you want to get away” or you’re feeling a little more comfortable with the decision to travel away from your local community. Travel — specifically in states with high rates of COVID-19 — increases your chances of getting infected and spreading illness. Staying home remains the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. But if you are thinking about traveling away from your local community, visit for information on travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read More

  • West Point honors Buffalo Soldier history

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