Here to help answer questions


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
May 5, 2007
I've posted before on the collegeconfidential forum, but I'd like to extend my hand out to you all here to help answer questions. I'm an Infantry Officer and 2006 graduate of USMA and currently I'm in the process of leaving Ft. Benning to move on to the 101st Airborne at Ft. Campbell. I know a lot of people have questions about life after West Point, and if I could shed any light on academy life, BOLC II, IOBC, or Ranger School, I'd be more than happy too. I was also a civil prep at NMMI many years ago, so I have some insight into that program as well. Please dont hesitate to contact me and I look forward to helping out.
Welcome and thanks for coming to offer your insight and expertise to the forum.

Welcome ScreamingEagle and thanks for giving us the opportunity to find out more about what you have done and are doing now. Best of luck at Ft. Campbell!
Glad to see you over on this forum ScreamingEagle!!! :welcome1:

He has been a big help to this Mom already, offering information and reassurance over the last year while my son was at NMMI.
summer training questions

Hey, ScreamingEagle, how are you? You must be in Iraq or Afghanistan by now...thanks for being there for us...and thanks for taking the time to be on our forum.

I have some questions about summer training at West Point. (My son is a plebe). You will probably say "the Corps has..." . Summer training will be much different this year. Nothing official, but I have heard that this summer will be scheduled into three blocks. For the soon-to-be Yearlings, one block will be a shortened Cadet Field Training (Buckner).

My questions are:

Could you give us a perspective on what summer training "schools" would most benefit an Infantry 2ndLT?

The Commandant told us at PPW that he would try to schedule the summers for the Classes of 2011 and beyond so that cadets would have an opportunity to complete three training schools during their summers. Which three would you recommend?

Thanks for your help!

I had forgotten about this form, thanks for reminding me Antoinette. I've been in Baghdad for 4 fun filled months now, not that bad overall.
They've been tinkering with summer training for years now, trying to match the current theatre of operations and what not. COL Curry, the director of DMI, was a mentor of mine at USMA and I know he's put a lot of great work to try to make the training relevant, so I'm sure it would be great.
As far as "schools" I would recommend, I'll go through the three requirements I had, dont know if this has changed as we only had to do one Army School (such as Airborne, Air Assault, Sapper, schools that the Army, not USMA, ran).
I would start by saying that in my experience, the best CST leadership details for someone interested in Infantry would either be CFT2 squad leader or platoon leader. That was an invaluable experience for me.
As far as a CTLT goes, post doesnt matter, only branch. You need to do something you're going to like. The one thing I would add is avoid a unit that just came back from deployment, as there will be no training going on, avoid a unit at JRTC or NTC, as you wont be able to do much training because the real PL needs that training, and avoid the desire to go to a post because it's high speed, focus instead on branch. Any unit will work if they're doing valuable training, best way to find out what units are doing what is to look at the Army times and see when units are coming and going from theatre or talk with recent grads who are at said post.
As far as schools go, for an infantry LT I would say it all depends on what you want. Airborne is good to knock out because you have to do it as an LT if you're not already qualified, so knocking it out at USMA means you can get out of Benning faster as an LT. The downside is that if you go to Ranger as an Airborne qualified Ranger, you'll jump 3 times, and that's just three more chances to hurt yourself (trust me, it'd been over three years since I'd jumped between airborne and Ranger and I was sure I was going to kill myself when I jumped). I hear Air Assault is a waste of time, and I'm in the only Air Assault division in the world and still havent gone, so I really cant comment on that. I hear the real hidden gems are schools like Northern Warfare, the Sandhurst exchange (I hear that is an incredible MIAD, the training is superb and the experience is irreplacable), Mountain Warfare, basically the schools that dont have tabs or badges. Everyone I've known who went to those schools said there were very valuable in the fact that you legit learn a skill you normally wouldnt have and you see interesting places and deal with Soldiers from the Army. Everyone wants to go to Sapper because of the Tab, but what good does a Sapper tab do you as an Infantry officer? It's a great school, but go because you think it might help you for Ranger (it wont, Ranger will suck no matter what), or because you're interested in the ciriculum. Same goes for SFAS; you're going to have to go again as an O if you want to go SF, so dont go just to say you're bad ass. One school that I hear is great is CDQC, but you have to be a great swimmer to handle that. I bring up that course because theres really no way you'll get it in the Army unless you're in Ranger Regiment or SF, so if swimming is your thing and you want to drown, go for it, you probably wont get the chance again.
The bottom line is that it depends what you want to do, where you want to post, and what you think would be best for you. My only major advice that West Point gives you some great opportunities you wont get in the Army, so takes those up if you can.
Hello screaming eagle I have a question about civil prep what qualifies you to go there for a year before west point. Also any tips for a high schooler who is a USMA hopeful.
Many thanks ScreamingEagle, I will pass your advice on to my son.
I honestly dont exactly know what qualifies you for civil prep, but I belief you are fully qualified with a nomination and would normally gain acceptance but there are too many other candidates who are "more" qualified than you are. It is my understanding that civil prep usually goes to those who dont need any major work on academics or anything, they just fell a bit short but are otherwise a great candidate. I'm sure somone else might know the exact answer, but that was my take on it.
As far as tips for a USMA hopeful. Get as involved in activities as you can, but get really involved in a few good things, not involved in everything just a little bit. I was a 3 sport varsity athlete, and when I realized I wanted USMA, I ran for class president, joined big brothers/big sisters, and I was already in NHS but took up an officer job there. Basically show that you have leadership potential. Being a Team Captain is huge, but you cant exactly will that one to happen, much like being a class officer. Just be involved, keep your grades up, and you'll be ok.
The other thing I'd suggest, which wasnt the case when I was applying, is pay attention to what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. I kick myself every day for not knowing more Arabic and not having spent more time studying Middle Eastern history and culture. You wont have time for it at USMA for the most part, so if you can get a jump start on it, it helps. I'm always on my Soldiers who have no understanding of the factors that make them think that all Iraqis are "lazy and stupid," when if you know a bit about the past 400 years of history over here, there are many cultural reasons for their mannerisms, that we ignorantly catergorize. I know this seems far off, but I dont see this war going anywhere any time soon.

My apologies for the delay, but welcome to the forum!

Even if you are a mangy woop. :thumb: