Dear Members and Friends,
A tradition set in 1802 that allocates an U.S. Army branch to each member of the graduating senior cadet class of the United States Military Academy took place last night for the class of 2013 at Eisenhower Auditorium in West Point, NY. The 1,066 West Point cadet class were all given plain yellow envelopes that were opened at the same time to reveal their assigned one of the 16 U.S. Army branches while hoping their preferred branch was selected. There were cheers, there were tears, and there were beers in celebration as this next infusion of leadership into the Army makes up 20 percent of the incoming officer corps.
The Army allocates its branch selection to its current needs and overrides the popularity of certain branches by the cadets. Army Missile Defense (AMD) is comprised of the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) branch which makes up 1.3 percent of the force. Yet, unlike any other branch, an outstanding amount of 46 percent of this branch is deployed forward. This incoming senior cadet class in the ADA branch will make up to close to 40 percent of the new first year officers of the ADA branch which is double what West Point graduates in its makeup of first year officers amongst the other branches. The ADA branch is well sought after as it requires a combination of leadership and high technology skills along with a defensive mind set of preventing conflict globally and defending their fellow servicemen and allies through teamwork. The ADA branch is joint services and ally team oriented with locations all over the world. This year there were only 51 ADA slots given to the Corps of Cadets.
We congratulate the lucky 51 excited young men and women who make up the diversity of our nation and are going into an honorable and selfless profession as they become leaders of the Army that will help make our nation and world safer. They are like all the 1,066 cadets coming from the hallowed grounds of West Point in giving back to the country they love and to extend the long gray line.
MDAA was honored to be with them last night and today in their new branch of Air Defense Artillery and Army Missile Defense.
Here is to defending the dream of the 2013 West Point graduating class.
You are all in and we are behind you.