1. USAA will be at USAFA on 4 September. Please click the link for more information.

The weakening of Beast Barracks

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by scoutpilot, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,004
    Likes Received:
    241
    Well for one, it's not allowed to be called Beast Barracks anymore. Someone might be offended or get the impression that it's hard.

    Other changes from "my day" (which was not all that long ago) include...

    1. Cadre may not yell outside
    2. No table duties for new cadets
    3. Cadre may issue only limited physical corrections
    4. Water tents and shade tents in the Area and at the cadet in the red sash

    Can't imagine what they've done with the rest of Beast. Oops, I mean CBT...

    Ten more years of this and we'll almost be USAFA...
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
    DachtorStrange likes this.
  2. BigNick

    BigNick Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    1
    I am a grad but not a "The Corps Has" type. However, it is CLEAR that it is no longer Beast Barracks. My son and his roommates (Class of 2015) all said that the were very surprised that "Beast" was not very hard. They said that the Upperclassmen were very limited in what they could do and that the physical training was very easy because they adjusted the difficulty to the weaker people in the unit. The drop-out rate during CBT is very low compared to past years because the New Cadets are not under the great pressure as is years past. I do not know why or when this changed - is this progress?
     
    DachtorStrange likes this.
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,004
    Likes Received:
    241
    Progress from the same minds that gave us the progress of the black beret, the ACU, the ASU, BOSS, a gutted NCO corps, moral waivers, etc. and so forth ad nauseum.

    I hate to say it, because I think you're stand-up guy and from what I've heard were a good officer, but this...garbage, this...bull***t is coming from the generation of "leaders" (those are sarcastic quotation marks) who were commissioned and raised in the 80's and 90's. Your peers.
     
  4. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    0
    We weren't allowed to call it Beast Barracks back when I was cadre in 1987. :confused: Of course everyone "did" but that's not a new change to me. As for the rest, I personally think USAFA's Beast is by far the toughest (at least physically) of the academies these days. Ah well, we can all agree "The Corps Has" as have all the generations before us! :wink:
     
  5. BigNick

    BigNick Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    1
    scoutpilot
    Unfortunately I am a little more senior than you think. I was still on active duty in the 80s and 90s but I never had anything to do with the easing of standards. In my Cadet days we braced all year and , sat-up at all meals and ate "square" meals. There were no summer schools or mid-year graduations. You either passed all the standards or were seperated.
    As an old grad my only complaint (other than the Navy white shirts) is that there is too much effort to retain marginal Cadets. I certainly agree with extra help and second chances but I think we have gone too far.
     
  6. buff81

    buff81 Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,293
    Likes Received:
    78
    I wonder if these changes were made because of the death of the New Cadet last summer.
     
  7. falcongirl

    falcongirl USAFA grad

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    4
    I am happy to report that USAFA BCT is holding the line against raging fires, eating with all meal decorum and many cadre corrections, and doing vast amounts of flight physical corrections as well as daily pt (at 7,258' above sea level). Business as usual up on the hill :biggrin:
     
  8. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,004
    Likes Received:
    241
    Yes, I'm sure the 3-mile march to Jack's Valley is just grueling. :rolleyes: My brother is a zoomie (Class of '10) and was disappointed at what he found to be a very weak BCT experience. Maybe they've raised their game a little on the physical front. That'd be good, since it'll be the last physical challenge most of them undertake in their USAF careers :thumb:

    As for my original post, some of it was tongue-in-cheek, though it may not have read that way. The Beast part is probably cultural. My New Cadet handbook in 2000 very clearly said "Beast Barracks" on the front. So things ebb and flow on that front with the leadership.
     
  9. BigNick

    BigNick Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    1
    One thought -the easing of Beast is probably just an evolutional society thing. Our society has grown soft - everyone has to be labled a winner - standards are adjusted down so the weaker people do not feel bad- political correctness - the last place team members get trophies so they won't feel bad etc etc. Just a reflection of our society.

    The standards in the Corps have also lowered. Look at pictures and note trousers that are too long, hats back on head and to one side, some Cadet out of step at parades (normally the short ones in the rear of the formation), etc. Small things but indicative of good order and dicipline.

    Also - we have been at war since 9/11. Based on multiple combat assignments the retention rates for junior officers are low. There was probably a push to graduate as many people as possible to fill the LT ranks.

    I hope we have leadership at West Point that will not completely revert to the "old" system but get back to enforcing high standards and not hesitate to seperate Cadets who do not meet those standards.

    A final thought - I love West Point and am a loyal grad- it is in my DNA- and I think West Point remains the best school in America and manages to graduate hundreds of exceptionally fine men and women every year. We just need to tighten the standards and enforce those standards. I believe the vast majority of grads and current Cadets would agree.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2012
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    7,797
    Likes Received:
    361
    I disagree.... but I'm biased.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,004
    Likes Received:
    241
    I'm sure Coast Guard is at LEAST in the top 100 or so! :wink:
     
  12. dsacto1

    dsacto1 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,004
    Likes Received:
    241
  14. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,017
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would definitely say that Swab Summer is a lot physically less intensive now than it was when I was a swab. Cals are now called "morning preps" and are just stretches. We're limited on how much IT we can do as well.
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    7,797
    Likes Received:
    361
    You are correct! :thumb:
     
  16. billyb

    billyb Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    5
    When I was in beast (almost 20 years ago).....
    * We had to ping everywhere we went, brace during meals
    * Were starved due to not eating much b/c we couldn't perform table duties in a timely manner (kids were eating toothpaste b/c they were so hungry)
    * We were screamed at constantly and from every direction

    Looking back on it... was there any reason for all of this? I think there was. A lot of new cadets didn't make it thru Beast and that was by design. They couldn't handle all of the different pressures (no sleep, no food, constant yelling) and in my view this was better found out earlier rather than later. Being able to effectively function under stress like that is imperative as an Army officer.

    That isn't saying that there aren't a ton of great kids, that didn't go thru this type of beast, graduating every year. On the flip side, there are those that won't be able to perform well under stress and they make it thru under the kindler/gentler system.
     
  17. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    7
    So in the same vein of you reap what you sow, my son recently finished Air Assault School at Camp Smith. The first day, zero day, started very early with regular army instructors who didn’t have the same rules yelling, swearing, making them do physical activity. My son said it was a shock and way worse than the New Beast. Three cadets dropped out and quit before they even got to the morning obstacle course. It was too overwhelming for them.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,004
    Likes Received:
    241
    Yes, you definitely end up with a tougher and more capable officer from that type of environment.

    I blame a generation of leaders (O-5 and O-6) for whom "combat" took place in an office (yes, I'm talking about the Supe and and Comm, and no I'm not afraid to say so).

    Generals are careerists. In this Army, today, numbers make careers.
     
  19. hawk

    hawk Parent

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    780
    Likes Received:
    32
    Lot's of buzz back from cadets just back from ABN & AASLT. I'm reluctant to comment, but can't leave this one alone. Based on what I heard, you can argue about "the corps has", but I'd not base it on your AASLT feeback unless you have personally been through the course. (Which you may have, in which case, fire away)

    Some additional background.... there *will* be 20 drops in an AASLT section, usually on day zero or one. 200'ish attempting, 180 will get wings. They will rank and drop people in the end of they have not attrit'd 20. (But that's rare the cadets were told)

    Likewise, the classes are not all USMA. There was a section of 10th mtn in one class, a some of the cadets I know had them in their squad. They were not lightweights, most had multiple combat deployments.

    The cadets I know were not shocked, instead they were disillusioned by the RA cadre (mostly NCO's, only one officer).

    The difference was that the 101st cadre did not and largely could not do what the classes were doing. And joked about how much the cadets could run and do pushups, that must be all they do, etc. They smoke until muscle failure, and that was dragging on and on for many. They had female cadre which would focus on girls who went down, as male cadre could not single them out. Some of the cadet girls had stronger raw APFT than the cadre did, go figure.

    This was the major difference..... USMA cadre (cadets or RA) can and do every bit of smoke they dish out. Lead by example. 101 did not in most cases. This may be an RA thing, but even the non USMA students (RA) were not impressed.

    When they could not break any more on day zero they moved the PT to gravel parking lots instead of the fields and made them do pushups on their knuckles in the gravel, etc. Even the RA students were pissed. But they did it to force the attrition. Did not hear specifics on class 2, but class one had roughly 9 hours of smoke on day zero. Virtually none failed inspection or obstacle course. (two cadets I know cleared both with no issues/retries)

    As the cadets I know joked, it sucked, but they could handle it. (and did). In one class where we knew cadets, there were no DOR's, and only 2 drops after day one. There were some who had to repeat the ruck due to injury, but they were pulled by cadre and told they could not complete it.

    With only 2-3 exceptions for specific cadre, the cadets we know left AAS with much lower respect for the 101 training group. Even 101 cadre did not agree with some of the things done, apparently. It's not clear if this is a difference in the units, or just the course focus.

    Very different experience than the cadets we know who went to Airborne. It's just less of a grind, less academics, less smoke. But it does seem to vary by class/section how much special attention the cadets get in ABN, some report none, others were singled out. It's also not clear if ABN has forced attrition.

    One cadet who did both called ABN a vacation in comparison!! But ABN had at least one broken ankle, a head injury, etc. Then again, 82nd types I know indicate ABN is now much watered down. "They used to teach you to be a paratrooper, now they teach you to jump out of a plane". I'm sure both "rope dopes" and "bird turds" have their version of "the corps has". Ranger school for sure does.

    Regarding yelling, the current USMA teaching is that if you have to yell your leadership has failed. Which I can see, to a bit. Talk to current cadets and ask who they are most concerned with (Cadre/upper class). It's not the yellers, it's the ones who whisper. :smile: And, there are some generalizations which I wont' repeat about which types of UC's yell vs not. Hint: the yellers are not the hardest cadre, and certainly not the most respected.

    They still hit the cadet candidates with multiple cadre in their face, issuing contradictory orders. There is also much that is done not in public. The uniform factory seems to have consistently bad memories for cadets. "Nothing good ever happens at the uniform factory".

    Most 2015 for sure had table duties, did not know it was dropped for 2016. No starving cadets for sure, they had weight monitored. Some had to regain weight or would be put on profile, possible forced to drop. DS had to eat squared in CBT and much of the 1st year, but that can vary by squad leader and even table. Hot companies have kept more of the tradition. Based on cadets we know, there is huge variation between companies, and even squads for both CBT and AY. Some largely quit plebe duties in general after 1st semester, others kept them to the day before graduation.

    The shade and water on R-day in 2015 was only used in cases of heat exhaustion to our observation & knowledge. They did have the reporting in the shade, usually the sally ports, but the formations were in the sun. I personally saw cadet candidates pass out on R-day last summer and there were definitely heat exhaustion. All while being forced to guzzle water all day. (how much that helps, who knows. DS did not think it helped much, 100 degree water does not cool much, just stops dehydration)

    I can't comment on "The corps has". I've heard old grads and recent grads go both ways. And have seen full COL's shoot down some old grads with direct challenges about comparative difficulty and service records. Maybe recent cadets don't ping, but there are many challenges they face that 80's grads (and even 90's) did not. I'll leave it to grads to argue which makes better leaders.

    I am convinced of one thing- USMA is still an excellent leadership school, probably the best that exists, especially when combined with the supplementary training & AIAD's most cadets get.
     
  20. BigNick

    BigNick Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    1
    I was not going to write this note but based on this string of notes I must.

    My son - Class of 2015 - successfully completed the Airborne course in June. As a Master Jumper I was allowed to pin-on his Airborne wings.

    There were two airborne classes in June with West Pointers with starting times one week apart.

    I was very surprised that several Cadets were kicked-out the first day of each class due to the inability to do 42 good push-ups. In the second class two female Cadets were kicked out after completing 5 jumps because they were late for graduation formation.

    SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG HERE

    Why would we send people to the Airborne course unless we WERE SURE that they could do the minimum PT requirements and make formations on-time? This is a "black mark" against the Cadets and West Point.

    My son said that he thought that the Black Hats at the Airborne school graded push-ups "by the book" straight back, all the way down and up etc. and that they were graded easier at the WP PT test. Anyone that has been around the airborne in the Army knows that the Airborne PT test will be done "by the book". This should have been no surprise.

    The airborne PT was very easy - short runs at 8-9 minute pace. Yet several West Pointers - mostly female - fell-out of several of the runs.

    MAKE NO MISTAKE - The vast majority of the Cadets - men and women - easily passed the PT test, sucessfully completed the training, and were examples for others to follow (the class had ROTC students, marines, Navy, and enlisted men as class members).

    The point of my note is that the individual Cadets and West Point were at fault in the failure of a few Cadets in this relatively easy school. A special PT test using Airborne grading should be conducted before sending Cadets to Airborne school. I understand that there will always be some screw-up people. However, I can not help but think that the lack of a tougher Plebe year was a contributing factor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012

Share This Page