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West Point

When visiting West Point during the field trip, I learned numerous interesting and fascinating facts about the history and the creation of the military academy. Starting in 1778, George Washington started West Point and it is the oldest army post, always having soldiers in residence there since then. On July 4, 1802, the military academy was opened with ten cadets, students at the military college, and five teachers. Now, there are about 4,000 cadets, 700 of those women. Rooms have to be very neat and there are two to three cadets per room. Some buildings on the campus include a bowling center, offices, a library, and a post office. Dennis Mickey, who was challenged by Navy in a football game, and graduated at West Point, has a stadium named after him that seats 40,000 people. Along the campus grounds, hundreds of monuments and statues were built in remembrance of deaths in battle and famous generals. There is a Chapel that can seat 1,500 people and was built in 1910 with military gothic architecture made of only granite that is 200 feet long, 56 feet high, and 72 feet wide. There are thousands of pieces of stained glass along the walls of it made by the Willet Company. Also, there is the 3rd largest organ console and the largest church pipe organ in the world with over 22,000 pipes, 32 feet at the largest and the length of a pencil at the smallest is inside. Another interesting thing is that there is a row reserved for the current superintendent in the front row with a silver plate and their name on it. In contrast, demerits are given out as a result of bad deeds and one would have to walk in the courtyard with a rifle back and forth, thinking about what they did wrong.

On the other side of the campus, there are the Trophy Grounds where there are many weapons collected from the enemy considered as trophies. There is also a chain that once stretched across the Hudson River as a barricade for British ships that was 1700 feet long and 65 tons. People back then cut down all the trees that they could in order to burn wood and make rafts in order for the chains to float. We now know that if the British were to ram their ships across the chain, it would have broken. As we walk towards the field, we can see many things including the eight barracks named after famous generals or dorms where the cadets live. In the center, we can see the dining hall where all 4,000 cadets eat at once with 10 to a table and with only 25 minutes to eat. There are several statues of prominent generals including Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Macarthur, George Washington, etc. Macarthur, after World War I decided that cadets needed to be stronger and made it a requirement for every cadet to be an athlete and be on a team, while women do the same activities as the men. As we walk towards the right, we can see a monument with a polished marble block with an angel on top built in 1897 and dedicated to the 2,200 officers and soldiers that fought in battles. Each cannon has a different battle name and the marble ball on top of each cannon is engraved with each enlisted soldier. The generals and officers are engraved on the large marble block in the center. In order to join West Point military academy, one would have to be between 17 and 23 years old, not married, have high grades, and get a nomination from the government. It is a four year college and each class consists of twelve to eighteen students. There are nicknames for the cadets based on the years they attended the college. First years are called plebes second years are called yearlings third years are called cows and the fourth year seniors are called firsties.

While touring around the campus, I saw many things that were related to the five senses. The things that I saw included the mountains in the background with the Hudson River winding around them. The clouds were very gray and dark. The leaves were all scattered across the ground, crunching against my feet as I walked along the path. There were red, yellow, pink, and green trees decorating the sky with their vibrant colors. I also saw the words on a building saying Sink Navy and Beat Air Force was on the other side. The sounds I heard included birds chirping the wind blowing, and the tour guide speaking all these remarkable facts. The things I smelt were the fresh mountain air and the smell of the dead leaves falling on the ground. The things that I felt included the stone walls in the chapel, the damp ground, my pen and paper, and the wind blowing in my face. The things I tasted were my lunch and thats about it.

While visiting the museum, I saw and read many different things about battles and the equipment that soldiers used. Some facts include as follows: The Case Shot is a hollow cast iron projectile filled with lead balls. The first hand grenades were ceramic shells formed with metal lumps on the outside. Hiram Maxim invented the first automatic machine gun and belt system of loading it. It is believed that rockets originated in China and by the 12th century, they were also used in Europe. The German Demolition tank was designed to be used against tanks, land mine fields, gun emplacements, or fortified compartments. Until the beginning of the 17th century, it was a common practice to carry the components of small arms cartridges separately. In 1807, a Scottish minister, the Reverent Alexander Forsyth patented a chemical compound which when struck, would detonate and produce fire and later developed into weapon ammo. Submachine guns, also known as Machine Pistols, are lightweight fully automatics which use pistol cartridges and cadets carry rifles and bayonets. While at West Point, there were many fantastic things that I learned and it was a very cool trip as well as an educational experience.

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