Before Beast

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Roxane, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. Roxane

    Roxane Member

    Mar 5, 2015
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    DD was home for a few days and wanted to offer some insight from her point of view. It is long, but hopefully can help someone.

    This is advice from a cadet who has struggled greatly at West Point. I wanted to send any advice I could think of because, although a certain degree of difficulty promotes growth, I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through. I’ll be honest, there were many times during Beast when I thought, “Why would I ever tell someone to come here?” because it was that miserable. West Point is not a cake walk, but you have to go by faith that there’s a reason you went, that it will pay off in the end. I tell you this because you need to be prepared mentally, too. I hope my advice helps your Beast experience goes better! I would print and pack this with you to beast; I guarantee you will not remember it all.

    Before Beast

    · Males: Yes, this is from a female standpoint, but I’d advise prepping your hair by cutting it short enough before-hand for your skin to start getting acclimated to sunshine. I saw too many of my buddies with seriously burned scalps that I swore to warn all of you that I could! (yeah, I’m serious)

    · RUN! RUN! RUN! You will be running a lot there. Not usually more than three miles at a time, but you will run very frequently during the week. Ruck if you can.

    · Be outside in the heat of the day. Maybe do something fun so it’s not that miserable, but you need to get as acclimated as possible

    · BREAK IN ALL YOUR SHOES, almost more important to break in your low quarters because you will spend more time in them at the start

    · Write your name on anything you wouldn’t want to disappear.

    Things to Pack (besides or of special importance within the packing list)

    · Baby wipes (aka mobile showers)

    · Sunscreen

    · INVEST in your FEET!

    o Good Boot Socks (most people swear by FoxRiver), Black dress socks, (PT socks shouldn’t be bad, so I wouldn’t buy white socks)

    o MoleSkins Walmart has them near the orthotic shoe inserts (Bring scissors)

    o Band Aid Blister guards – even if you won’t need these, you’ll be a popular person!

    · Ziploc Bags (Use to organize hygiene in your ruck and keep everything, like maps and writing supplies dry in your ACU pockets)

    · CA$H $$$, no more (of course) than they say you can take on r-day, but you will need $ to buy things at the C-store during Beast

    …When you get there, I’d buy a Big room fan (approx. $40), halls cough drops (your only candy during beast), and Laundry Detergent – I’ll explain later.

    · Consider packing in large vacuum sealed bags; that will make transferring from your civilian to flight bag much easier

    · Sports Watch with an alarm – might need to be black

    · Envelopes, better if they are pre-addressed, and writing supplies (stamps)

    · HEADLAMP – Flashlights are difficult to use, honestly, when you’re out in the field, digging through your ruck at 0300. So buy one with a red light, they have them in Walmart’s hunting section for approx. $13

    · Consider a small fan. It might be a while until you can go to the C-store, so it would help greatly.

    · Even still, remember to pack as light as you can because that first day, you are carrying it everywhere.

    · Do not take food, makeup or a sleeping bag. I’m serious about the sleeping bag. Wasn’t me, but the poor soul who wasn’t warned got made fun of a lot.

    · BRING your PHONE! I did not bring mine. So, there was no chance I’d lose it, but I also had to borrow my roommate’s phone during reorgy week. You will turn it in on R-Day when you transfer bags and sign for it; they store it and give it back when you return from Buckner. I guess you could ask your parents to ship it when you complete Beast.

    Tips for During Beast

    R DAY

    · Show up in your low quarters and not in your best clothes, since they may be ruined, or you may want to throw them out by the end of beast

    · When you get to your room, start organizing, putting away your clothes (don’t take time with that, though, because they probably won’t ever check how well you folded your t-shirts.) You might consider making your bed or starting on some knowledge

    · Do NOT throw away anything that has been put on/in your desk; that is for you to keep. And you will need most of it, if not during Beast, during the school year.



    · You’re supposed to pass off all of the knowledge before completing beast; I am not so sure how well that is implemented, but you will have tests at the end of each week. It’s not going to be fun, but memorizing what you can early on in the week will help you relax. Here are some good ones to start memorizing Now because the longer they are, the harder. *If you complete your knowledge book too soon, you will be assigned other things. Also, during those times that you are allowed to talk or study knowledge, talk to your battle buddies. That’s so much more important in the long run.

    · Cadet Oath of Allegiance

    · The Cadet Creed*

    · The Soldier’s Creed*

    · Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

    The Rest of Beast

    · Wake ups- be prepared, that first morning they will have air horns and yelling, pounding on your door, loud music in the hall- and all at (or before) 0500. They will want you “on my wall” 5 min later. SO, I advise getting up (so have a watch with an alarm) 10 min or so early to get ready

    · See if you can take one fruit or something back from meals; it will be a great bit of nutrition before PT in the morning, or a snack at night. DO NOT just take it though, ask your SGT. You can get kicked out for having unauthorized food in your barracks, they’re kinda picky about that.

    · Chaplains’ Time- GO to it! You can go to any religion, they don’t care (But I will say, the protestant one is closer.) There is always a lot of food and snacks, kind civilians to empathize or put your picture on Flickr for your parents to see, and you can actually talk to other New Cadets!

    · Mass Athletics- this is sports time in the afternoons. If you want to be on any competitive sport, you NEED to go to that practice, although not all teams will have practice. HAVE parents ship you CLEATS if you will need them, I would probably not take them initially. Keep in mind that most competitive (corps squad) teams do not run to their fields and that they often get fed snacks, too. However, if you stay with your company, you will be able to build relationships with your fellows and talk with cadre in a fun environment.

    · Write your name on anything you wouldn’t want to disappear, but not on TA-50 (your “soldier stuff”, like rucks and E-tools.)

    · Fan- Try to fit your mini-fan (if you have one) in your flight bag for pack-out when you move to Buckner during 2nd Detail.

    · Validating Classes - If you think you can validate any academic classes, go to the test. A little lack of sleep will be a huge payback during the school year. But do not go if you honestly don’t think you can pass- time is money and you might be able to stay in your room and write letters or study knowledge.

    · Laundry- The laundry system there is slow and doesn’t always get your laundry back to you, so beware. But, for T-shirts, Pt clothes and undergarments, you can wash those yourself! Take the detergent that you bought at the C-store, some hot water in your sink and get to work! Once you rinse and wring, dry them in front of the fan on hangers or off your bed. Should be dry in the morning. (and if they leak the black dye, put a brown towel on the floor to catch that.)

    · Sick Call- don’t be afraid to go if you are hurting. We were always told, “Don’t be a Hero.” Sick call is a nice, relaxed environment and a great time to pass off knowledge! But, don’t go too soon or too often if you can make it. You don’t want to be called a Profile Ranger.

    · Expect tons of things to do and no time to do it.

    · It will suck. Just keep going. You will make it.

    · Remember above all things your reasons for going, for staying. Remember that how you react to things says a lot about you. Even if it does suck, be strong for your battle buddies.

    Good luck!

    “It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” -Rocky Balboa

    Resources for you!

    Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

    The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.

    Major General John M. Schofield
    Address to the Corps of Cadets
    August 11, 1879

    Cadet Creed

    As a future officer,

    I am committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country.

    I am an aspiring member of the Army Profession, dedicated to serve and earn the trust of the American People.

    It is my duty to maintain the honor of the Corps.

    I will live above the common level of life, and have the courage to choose the harder right over the easier wrong.

    I will live with honor and integrity, scorn injustice, and always confront substandard behavior.

    I will persevere through adversity and recover from failure.

    I will embrace the Warrior Ethos, and pursue excellence in everything I do.

    I am a future officer and member of the Long Gray Line

    Soldier’s Creed and Warrior Ethos. (V) (Warrior Ethos is underlined)

    I am an American Soldier.

    I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

    I will always place the mission first.

    I will never accept defeat.

    I will never quit.

    I will never leave a fallen comrade.

    I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment, and myself.

    I am an expert and I am a professional.

    I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

    I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

    I am an American Soldier.

    Seven Army Values. (V)


    (1) Loyalty: Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, and other soldiers.

    (2) Duty: Fulfill your obligations.

    (3) Respect: Treat people as they should be treated.

    (4) Selfless Service: Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

    (5) Honor: Live up to all the Army Values.

    (6) Integrity: Do what's right, legally and morally.

    (7) Personal Courage: Face fear, danger, or adversity (physical and moral).
    sdsmom, jllera1, random214 and 13 others like this.
  2. jl123

    jl123 Member

    Feb 20, 2016
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    Congratulations on completing plebe year! Well said - anyone heading to Beast should heed your advice.
    Roxane, wondermom and cr062999 like this.
  3. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery... 5-Year Member

    Jul 24, 2014
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    Laughing at this. DS will be a platoon sergeant at Beast this summer. I asked him to give me an example of his yelling voice. Without missing a beat and without care for my poor eardrums, he shouted:


    Had I been near a wall, I would have been on it.
  4. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery... 5-Year Member

    Jul 24, 2014
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    Another piece of advice. Some, like DS, find all the yelling rather humorous. Under no circumstances should you laugh or crack even a shadow of a smile while being yelled at. Just don't.
    wondermom and bookreader like this.
  5. bookreader

    bookreader Member

    Feb 5, 2015
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    My son attended a police camp for several summers during high school. It was run in a similar fashion to police academy (which is quite similar to army training) and so there were plenty of yelling . My son got a few friends to join him at this camp one summer and most of them quit after a couple days because of the yelling. He was stunned that they'd take the yelling personally.
    VelveteenR likes this.
  6. TheSeventhDog

    TheSeventhDog Member

    Jun 10, 2017
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    Thank you even though I'm still applying for the c/o 2022 this will help me anyways.
  7. TriService2017

    TriService2017 5-Year Member

    Feb 26, 2013
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    Heed this advice! As the mother of a recent grad and soon to be Yuk, I can confirm she is totally spot on. In times of doubt during Beast remember this: The only thing you have control if are your attitude and your effort.
    ncmom98 likes this.
  8. bookreader

    bookreader Member

    Feb 5, 2015
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    During Beast, my cadet held onto two thoughts.
    1. They can't stop the clock.
    2. They can't kill me.

    He actually has fond memories of his time during Beast.
    ncmom98 and VelveteenR like this.
  9. brovol

    brovol Member

    May 26, 2015
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    My son enjoyed Beast last summer. He hated the waiting around, but overall had a good experience. He loved Buckner, and looks forward to going back in a few weeks.

    Some cadre are better than others. It's all part of the learning experience, and gives the new Cadets an opportunity to assess and defelop a sense of leadership for when they have the same opportunities. West Point is a big lab for learning leadership, and beast is one of the great exercises.
  10. JWP

    JWP 5-Year Member

    Dec 19, 2012
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    Just a gentle suggestion. The incoming class really should not memorize knowledge prior to their receiving specific instructions from their leadership. There is a reason they are required to memorize during beast and they will have more than enough time to do so.
    jebdad and bookreader like this.