In Focus

  • Temperature check:West Point implements screenings at gates to combat COVID-19

    Last week, new gate screening measures were enacted at the entry points to West Point aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.
    As of Tuesday morning, there were already more than 25,000 confirmed cases in New York with most of them within an hour of West Point in New York City. To protect the families living on post and the workforce commuting in daily, everyone entering post will now have their temperature checked and be required to answer a series of questions to determine whether they should be allowed to freely enter or be placed into quarantine.
    To help facilitate the screenings, Washington Gate has temporarily been closed and all traffic must enter through either Thayer or Stony Lonesome gates.
    Following long lines at the gates during the first two days of implementation, it was announced Monday that on weekdays between 7-8 a.m. Read More

  • DeCA, West Point Commissary adjust shopping limits, implement other changes

    The Defense Commissary Agency announced several operational policies to help stores better serve customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
    These policies include the following actions:
    • Effective immediately, a 100% ID card check at all commissaries, so that only authorized customers—this includes disabled veterans with a Veteran Health Indentification Card—will be able to shop. While this policy is in effect, visitors will not be allowed to enter the commissary. This is designed to help with social distancing and crowd control. Children under 10 with their parents don’t need an ID card.
    • Effective as of March 15, to prevent customer-to-customer spread of germs, commissary cashiers no longer handle patron ID cards. Instead, customers will be asked to scan their own ID. Cashiers can use the handheld scanner if available or have the customer scan their own card. Read More

  • Keller Corner: Update on Coronavirus

    As most of you are aware, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on Jan. 30. Subsequently, our national, state and local community leaders announced a PHE as the virus continued to spread across the United States.
    Although there are no known cases of COVID-19 on West Point, there are currently 18 confirmed cases in Orange County and confirmed cases in neighboring counties.
    The Keller staff has been working diligently with the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Army Garrison West Point, West Point Public Health and the Orange County Public Health Department on a local COVID-19 response. Keller’s Emergency Operations Center is activated in an effort to implement measures to protect the community and our hospital employees. Read More

  • Garrison leadership hosts COVID-19 town hall

    U.S. Army Garrison West Point leadership held the first in a series of virtual town halls Tuesday evening to update the West Point community on the response to COVID-19.
    There are currently no confirmed cases on West Point, but the garrison and Keller Army Community Hospital has taken proactive measures to protect the community. Garrison Commander Col. Cecil Marson said they have been in contact with Army bases in Korea and Italy and have worked to build West Point’s protective measures based on their guidance and handbooks.
    “What we’re asking you to do is to follow these measures of social distancing, and reducing communal settings and taking the force health protection measures so that we can flatten the epidemiological curve and reduce the number of cases holistically,” said Lt. Read More

  • Plebes enjoy respite with parents, family members

    Hanging from the poop deck in the mess hall, the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2023’s crest was covered by a black shroud.
    The class’ motto “Freedom is not free” was revealed at the end of Cadet Basic Training in August and now it was time to unveil the crest. The image will be something the members of the class carry with them for the rest of their lives and it will one day be engraved on one side of the ring the cadets receive on Ring Weekend to start their firstie year. For many of them, this moment at the Plebe-Parent Weekend banquet March 7 was the first time they saw it.
    Members of the class started working on the crests’ design in October with representatives from each company coming together to pitch ideas. Read More

  • Celebrating Founders Day: West Point kicks off monthslong Founders Day celebration

    The U.S. Military Academy will officially celebrate the 218th anniversary of its founding March 16, but the academy kicked off the monthslong celebration Feb. 27 with the annual Founders Day Corps Dinner.
    Over the next two months, more than 120 West Point societies throughout the world will host Founders Day events honoring the contributions academy graduates have made and will continue to make to the Army and the United States as a whole.
    Since its founding in 1802, the U.S. Military Academy has educated and trained the future leaders of the Army and prepared them to fight and win in the crucible of ground combat. More than 200 years after the first class of cadets graduated, West Point remains the pre-eminent leader development institution in the world. Read More

  • Parham honors great-grandfather’s legacy at West Point

    Sitting at a long table in his high school gymnasium surrounded by classmates, Jonathan Parham signed his paperwork to join the Class of 2023 at the U.S. Military Academy.
    Along the same lines as the athletics signing days held throughout the country each year, this ceremony was a chance for seniors at Frontier High School in Bakersfield, California, who excelled academically to be celebrated for signing with their college of choice.
    Seniors filled six tables stretching the length of the basketball court. Many of them wore T-shirts or polo shirts. Some had on hats or hoodies. Then there was Jonathan. His choice of what to wear for the ceremony had been a no-brainer.
    The knit black sweater has a gold and gray line on each cuff and on the pockets. Read More

  • Center for Molecular Science works to protect, care for Soldiers

    The U.S. Military Academy’s Center for Molecular Science conducts research into a wide variety of fields.
    Everything is made up of molecules, so the areas of research are considerably more vast than the tiny particles being studied in the center.
    To Col. John Burpo, the head of the academy’s department of chemistry and life science, which CMS is a part of, the many research projects being conducted in the center can all be wrapped up into a single goal. The researchers in the Center for Molecular Science are working to find ways to keep Soldiers safe and then treat those who get injured.
    This includes research into lightweight power and energy, wounded warrior care, sensors to detect roadside bombs and more. Read More

  • 100 nights to graduation: Class of 2020 celebrates 100 days until graduation with show, banquet

    Standing on stage in a blonde wig at the opening of the annual 100th Night Show, Class of 2020 Cadet Evan Brunner says goodbye to the classmates portraying his parents and sets off on his 47-month experience at the U.S. Military Academy.
    When he next returns to stage, Brunner’s wig has been replaced by a bald cap symbolizing the haircut male new cadets receive on Reception Day and he begins to sing.
    Brunner’s on-stage journey takes him through the ups and downs of his time at the academy including Beast Barracks, plebe duties, his first Army-Navy Game and finally Firstie year and the changes that came along with a new commandant of cadets and brigade tactical officer.
    The 47 months become 19 scenes across two acts, with slightly more singing and dancing than is typically found at the academy, as Brunner and his classmates recap their cadet career with only 100 days left. Read More

  • WWII veteran shares stories, life lessons with cadets

    In the skies over France as part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth “Rock” Merritt’s plane got lost.
    Merritt was a corporal in 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment at the time. Between midnight and 3 a.m., more than 800 planes carried British and American Soldiers over Normandy to launch the assault on the German Army.
    Each battalion was divided across 40 planes  with radar in only the lead plane. As Merritt’s plane approached Normandy’s beaches, the lead plane banked to avoid enemy fire losing the 39 planes following it.
    “My jumpmaster went up to see the pilot, and the pilot said ‘I’m lost. I can’t find your drop zone,’” Merritt said. “(My jumpmaster) said, ‘Are you over France? Read More

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