How's the Cow?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by djjon22, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. djjon22

    djjon22 Member

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    I have spoken to a current plebe and he instructed me to memorize the solders creed, army core values, ranks and ect. However he was not too specific.
    http://www.west-point.org/academy/malo-wa/inspirations/buglenotes.html
    This website provided me with answers to common hazing questions along with other valuable info.
    I just wanted to hear from current plebes or past cadets that have more knowledge on what to memorize before R-Day.
     
  2. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    Don't memorize anything. You can't possibly understand how much time you'll spend during your first 3 weeks here standing in a formation or a line with that stupid book in front of your face. You will have plenty of time. Maybe know the ranks of cadets (2 bar-SGT, 3bar or up, sir/ma'am) and you'll be fine.
     
  3. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    Yea, literally, you have so much time. I would have an understanding of rank structure of actual officers and enlisted as that will make your time easier as well as what mtnman suggested about basic cadet rank although that you will pick up that up really quick and really for beast all you'll need to know is two bars = SGT, more than two bars = sir/ma'am for the most part.
     
  4. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Perhaps, you will need an attitude adjustment :smile: A better way to look at the knowledge requirement is professional development, not "hazing."

    Shouldn't know what Army Values are as a future Army Officer. When would you learn it? When you feel like it?
     
  5. pkneram

    pkneram Member

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    Let's be fair. The knowledge book had very little to do with development. It was mostly a time suck so that NCs didn't have time to themselves. What else would you do when you stand in formation for hours. Granted some of the knowledge was necessary to know, but I'd say a good amount was fairly superfluous. Not to mention it was all memorize, quickly spit out to the nearest upperclassman, and then promptly dump.
     
  6. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Heartily disagree. For one, The act itself is the development. Situational awareness. The ability to focus on a complex task while in a taxing and non-permissive environment. The ability to extract difficult information under stress. NC knowledge is not meaningless or superfluous, nor were you expected to dump it. I don't know what year you graduated, if at all, but 11 years later I can tell you that the lacteal fluid of the bovine species is highly prolific to the Nth degree.

    A major component of Beast is learning to make your brain function in an organized and efficient manner when it would be natural to overwhelmed and not function at all. Knowledge memorization is key to that. We were all smart and could no doubt have memorized the knowledge rapidly if left in a quiet room with a notepad and a soft drink. That's what we were used to doing in high school. Standing in formation, in the heat, not moving, watching for upperclassmen with one eye, and listening to your surroundings while still learning that the discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment....there is a purpose to that.

    I know that when I was 18 and doing it, I hated it too. But when I was 25 and had 4 radios blaring in my ears and was trying to make sense of the multiple burning vehicles and TIC calls in an unfamiliar AO, while piloting my own aircraft and directing my sister ship, I was glad I went through the stress of reciting the days and learning the second verse to the national anthem or Scott's fixed opinion and then reciting them all while doing table duties.

    Again, I don't know what year you graduated, or what combat experiences you have. Perhaps your experience was not the same.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Spoken like an old grad . . ..

    I graduated before you so I am an older grad
     
  8. abeastlybeast

    abeastlybeast USMA Class of 2015

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    I agree with not learning knowledge before Beast. You will have time to memorize...trust me.

    Knowledge is not pointless. When I first opened the book and realized all the things I had to memorize and learn, I was overwhelmed. You will learn that your mind is definitely capable of memorizing a lot of information - and more importantly, that you can do so while under stress. Knowledge actually granted me confidence in my ability to access and properly deal with difficult tasks that initially appear impossible. You will learn to not let the stress of an assignment overwhelm you.
     
  9. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    I talked to my son tonight who is a member of the Class of 2015 (Company I-3) about this issue.
    He said that you should study the "Plebe Poop" extensively before you enter. He said that some squads, platoons, companies asked many questions and others not so much- it depends on what upperclassmen you get.
    However, he was tested early and was able to answer all the questions and that he was now seldom asked anything because the upperclassmen concentrated on the plebes who did not know the information.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Apparently "How's the Cow" is at every academy? We learned it at CGA. A woman I worked with at the Pentagon graduated from USNA...and they had it too.


    Indoc isn't horrible. No NEED to learn it before heading to beast, but if you want to have "fun", take a shot at it. Cadre will get in your head either way. Don't want to "show up" your classmates either. You start together. Better finish together. Goes for indoc too.
     
  11. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Some of us concentrated on the ones who had obviously studied it prior to R-Day and were given extra knowledge to learn in order to fulfil the intention of the original knowledge (which Scout already noted). :wink:
     
  12. lightfoot

    lightfoot Member

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    I had a kid in my squad who was very good at memorizing things. In fact, he finished the knowledge book on week 4. So what did they make him do? Memorize the appendix and help the rest of us memorize our knowledge. No matter what you do, they're just going to give you more things to memorize.
     
  13. You Got Smoked

    You Got Smoked New Member

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    There is no need to memorize anything prior to Beast. There will be plenty of time for you to do that. I wouldn't worry about hazing at the academy either. Most of it is just professional development. I would argue that most people here really care about their fellow cadets no matter which class they fall under. As a firstie, I would argue that I probably care more about the safety and welfare of the plebe class more than I do anyone else. It's just good leadership. In fact, if recent trends continue since the class of 2015's New Cadet CST, you may find yourself going through something that resembles more of a summer camp dedicated to military training than the traditional "Beast Barracks" that I remember in the past (summer of 2008 NC / summer of 2010 CBT 1 Cadre). I guess WP is trying to adapt and change the leadership climate. Call me old fashioned, but I really wish we stuck to the older practices. It really did a good job instilling discipline and pride within the Corps, which has long been absent within the past year.
     
  14. SimpleMan

    SimpleMan Member

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    You Got Smoked: Can you expand on why you say that bolded statement about lack of discipline and pride?
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    And those of us who did Beast almost a decade before you did think yours was too soft, and those a decade before us think ours was too soft. Thus, as ever...

    I don't put too much stock in cadets' opinions about what Beast should and shouldn't be. That's for no other reason than because largely have no concept of what tools they need to be prepared for the job of being an officer in today's Army.
     
  16. You Got Smoked

    You Got Smoked New Member

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    I disagree with that statement entirely. It doesn't take much experience for cadets to understand what basic tools are needed in the CBT experience. Hence, cadets lead and conduct training in all of these exercises. If it was really that difficult a job, we would see TACs running every aspect of training, as well as a large task force of active duty soldiers coming from the 101st, 82nd, etc. This task force system ended after my year because the Army felt it would be better for cadets to decide how training should be conducted. I'm sorry you weren't given the opportunity to experience that. So in short - I guess the opinion of both WP and the Army are that: cadets' opinions do matter and cadets know a lot more than you may think.

    The only thing that changed that WP forcefully implemented was the following: discipline, professional development, or what old grads may call "hazing" has been replaced in favor of a greater emphasis on military field training.
     
  17. hawk

    hawk Parent

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    Most seem to miss the point about knowledge- it's not learning the specific knowledge items that is important for cadet development.

    Instead, it's learning how to assimilate new information with very little time, and then recall it under pressure.

    And before it's over with, you'll have to learn how to do briefings and to receive them. As DS described it, what in a civvy school would be a book report takes a completely different context when your entire squad or company pays the price if you did not brief well and the "briefees" did not listen/learn well.

    Not all briefings are good, however. You'll have to sit through some really bad ones it appears!

    One other data point- in DS's company & squad there were recruited athletes given copies of bugle notes by coaches prior to R-day. Ultimately that worked against them, as they worried about memorizing stuff too early, and still had to work to get stuff signed off.

    If you want to practice something, start learning to memorize a new thing factoid each day, and recall it. The actual fact does not matter.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    What you don't seem to grasp is that a large reason the task force system ended was pressure from the actual Army, as units barely got time enough in the ARFORGEN cycle to induct new personnel, train them, and conduct CTC rotations without having to give up white space on their calendars to go teach cadets how to use a compass and rappel. BCT commanders pushed back against that tasker year after year.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion that cadets, with their depth of experience, train cadets better than some seasoned NCOs and Officers from XVIIIth Airborne Corps. Please do let me know how your future soldiers view that opinion. I, too, am sorry I missed out on that opportunity. I was forced to suffer through subpar Army-led training. My platoon trainer from Buckner (a 7th SFG tabbed Master Sergeant) taught us what he thought we needed to know. I am sure a firstie could have done it better and planned much better training.

    Believe it or not, CBT has undergone far greater changes in this century alone than just what you've seen in 3.5 years.
     
  19. hawk

    hawk Parent

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    You can take it with a grain of salt- but my understanding is that one of the factors for the change was that the leadership experiences that rising cows get as 1st time CBT leaders is considered important, perhaps enough that it is more critical than any difference the plebes might see under the hands of a RA NCO vs cadet cadre.

    And the "cow learning" in CBT is done (apparently) under direct supervision/visibility of RA staff in the form of the the TAC & TAC NCO's.

    IE: plebes will be plebes, beast get's them started, but they have all year to get fully disciplined. Where the leadership experiences the CBT cadre receives is sorely needed to be successful both as cadet officers and post USMA.

    This is what I've been told, and it seems to be correlated in some of the books about the USMA "method". Certainly current COMM & SUPE indicated such.

    "The corps has" comments aside, ask a old grad parent with a recent USMA cadet which program they think best positioned their spawn to be a good officer.... I don't hear any 70's, 80's, or early 90's grads saying they wish they the old system (pre 98) was in place. If anything I hear the opposite. Maybe officers with higher thresholds of pain, and will to succeed. But not better positioned for leadership & decision making.

    But then again, that may be just old COL's & LTC's who have gone soft over the years. :smile:
     
  20. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    The Tac and Tac NCO have always been a part of CBT, even when the regular Army task force was there for training. The task force brought a wealth of experience to the table, and provided most cadets with their first experience of the real Army insofar as meeting actual soldiers and NCOs and observing how they interact. Having cadets plan training isn't exactly the blind leading the blind, but would you rather have your cadet learn the basics of shooting, moving, and communicating from a platoon of soldiers who've done it in Iraq and Afghanistan, or a 21-year-old cadet whose overseas experience was a language AIAD in France?

    I don't think cadets are dumb or incapable. Just woefully inexperienced.

    I suppose it all depends to whom you talk. I've met more old grads than I can count who think the Corps lacks the crucible aspect of old, to its detriment.
     

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