The United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point is a four-year, coeducational federal service academy as well as a beloved national landmark full of historic sites, structures, and monuments. For over 200 years, the “Long Gray Line” has provided this nation with generation after generation of military, political, sports and scientific leaders, including many generals, 74 Medal of Honor recipients, two presidents of the United States (and one president of the Confederate States of America), several astronauts (including the second man to walk on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin), as well as dozens of CEOs and hugely successful captains of industry.
Recently, I was invited to spend a week at West Point, where I got an opportunity to meet the incredible cadets and cadre who are involved in the academy’s shooting clubs and competitive teams. I also got a thorough indoctrination of the history, heritage and traditions of the USMA. I stayed at the famous Hotel Thayer, which has rooms themed for USMA graduates (I was in the Buzz Aldrin room) and frequently ate at Patton’s Tavern, which is full of rich woodwork and leather chairs that I am sure George himself would have enjoyed.
I was given tours of West Point, first by Lieutenant Colonel John Vigna, co-author of West Point Leadership: Profiles of Courage, and then by Sergeant First Class Nate Hevner, who took me through West Point from the top down. We started with Fort Putnam and the four redoubts that protected the land approaches to West Point during the Revolutionary War and worked ourselves down to the plain in front of Washington Hall, normally used for formations and reviews but where it was being used that day as a drop zone for the inter-service academy parachute competition. Along the way, we visited the incredibly ornate and beautiful Cadet Chapel and were able to sit and dine with the Corps of Cadets after the noon formation.
For more information about West Point’s shooting organizations and John Vigna’s book, keep and eye out for upcoming issues of TACTICAL WEAPONS and GLOCK AUTOPISTOLS 2015 magazines. To subscribe, visit