Each state has a “West Point Field Force” of volunteer grads and parents who help young candidates assess whether West Point is a fit for them and assist the Congressional staffs and West Point to assess each candidate’s likely degree of success at West Point and in the Army.
In Washington State, our G2 classmate Joe Brillante has led the Field Force since 2004, with distinction. Under Joe, cadets from Washington have punched way over our population weight in the number who became First Captains, Brigade Staff, Regimental Commanders, and Rhodes Scholars, among other honors.
On a Sunday afternoon in September 2021, the Washington Field Force held a by-invitation event for candidates seeking admission to the rising Class of 2026. Two majors from the USMA Department of Admissions were on hand. They and Field Force members, including this author, met with individual candidates. Field Force members wear these magnetic badges that hang in our blazer pockets, and for grads, show class year.
As I was shaking hands with a young candidate for the Class of ’26, he read my badge, and his eyes got big.
“Did you REALLY graduate in 1969?”
“Wow. My father wasn’t even born then.”
“Well, it WAS about a hundred years ago.”
“So that would make you … [eyes rolled up, trying to do the math] …”
“Are you really 73?”
“Last time I checked.”
“Wow. You look pretty good for 73.”
In his defense, the time gap between his prospective West Point experience and mine is huge. It would have been as though, as a candidate, I had been interviewed by a member of the class of 1912!
These young candidates are nearly always amazing, and occasionally entertaining as well. West Point’s future is bright.