Reception Day, commonly called R-Day, is a special day for all candidates coming to West Point to join the Corp of Cadets for the summer New Cadet Barracks. Special might be a misnomer. It might better be called a whirlwind! On that day in 1965, young men from all over the country arrived to be transformed in one single day from a young civilian American to a member of the United States Corps of Cadets. You can’t imagine that day! Beforehand, even weeks and months before, thrilled with the honor of being admitted to the world’s premier military academy, the candidate has to prepare to go to West Point. He receives a list of things to bring and some need to be prepared days/weeks before R-Day. Unlike other new college students, a West Point candidate can bring only one small bag of belongings. Along with medical and dental records, a new cadet is instructed to bring West Point-approved black leather quarter-high shoes with laces purchased early enough to be well broken in, medium-weight cotton socks, and toiletries. Most everything else would be provided! Each New Cadet is encouraged to consider carefully their choice to attend West Point before reporting. You can read here the memories of some of the Class of 1969 as they prepared for and headed towards West Point to join R-Day on July 1, 1965.
Reception Day or R-Day Letter
Newly discovered letter sent in 1965 from the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy to the candidates for entry into West Point for the Class of 1969.
Excerpts from the instructions for R-Day sent to the candidates for admission to the Class of 1969.
Note the blunt statement in #16.
Memories of R-Day by the Class of 1969
The Pledge of Reception Day
By the end of R-Day, the New Cadet had signed an oath and raised his hand. Here is what he said and pledged:
“I, (your name), do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and bear true allegiance to the National Government; that I will maintain and defend the sovereignty of the United States, paramount to any and all allegiance, sovereignty, or fealty I may owe to any State or Country whatsoever; and that I will at all times obey the legal orders of my superior officers, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Then, he had to figure out what to do with all that he was issued that day. This is the first day’s issue that includes shirts, underwear, bathrobe, shoe-shine kit, towels and laundry bag.