US Military Academy at West Point/West Point Selection


Hello, I am a retired Army SGM.  I have a neighbor telling me while he was in Basic Training, Ft Bragg 1970, that he and 49 others in his class were pulled from the ranks and told they had qualified for West Point attendance.  I know we were closing down in Viet Nam, but I find his story shameful and outrageous.  I remember they would take Privates out of AIT and make them E5's in three months but West Point?  I believe never.  My question:  Have you ever heard of such a lowering of admission standards on this level?

Hi, Russell, it's good to hear from you.  Thanks for your interest in West Point.

The one thing I am pretty sure of is that West Point Admissions does NOT lower it's admission standards.  They DO seek out enlisted men with demonstrated leadership potential and work to make them qualified, primarily through attendance at the US Military Academy Preparatory School.  As an additional example from that era, a draftee with college time could well be qualified for West Point and could get an appointment through the military.

The part I find most difficult to believe is that they took 49 such candidates.  A handful, maybe, but I find the large number incredible, as you do.

So the bottom line is that Admissions has ALWAYS looked for good officer candidates from the enlisted ranks, and West Point is one of the paths to officership for them, as well as OCS.  In the end if they are not fully qualified, or can be made fully qualified through the Prep School, they would never be admitted.

Thanks for the great question, Russell.

Best Regards,

US Military Academy at West Point

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Bill Taylor


I can answer questions about admissions to West Point; about the history of West Point; about how to travel to West Point, where to eat, where to stay, etc.; and about West Point`s alumni organization, the West Point Association of Graduates.


I am a 1970 Graduate of West Point. I served six years on active duty and another 8 years in the active reserve. I have been actively involved as a Field Admissions Representative for over 20 years and have participated on my Congressman's Academy Selection Panel for over 25 years. I am actively involved in West Point Alumni affairs, serving in roles both with the West Point Association of Graduates and the local alumni chapter in Annapolis, MD. I also have two sons who graduated from West Point in 1995 and 2001. Both are veterans of the Iraq War and Afghanistan War. The 1995 Grad continues to serve on Active Duty in the Army.

Bachelor of Science, US Military Academy, 1970 Master of Science (Computer Science), The Johns Hopkins University, 1980

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