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US Military Academy at West Point/West Point admissions criteria (age limit) in 1929


I am doing a project for my history class about my great grandfather who attended West Point
in 1929.  I need to find out what the cut-off age was at that time to get into WestPoint. My grandfather was 21. Was that unusual?
Thank you so much!
Lizzy Farrell
(I think the web site is not working?)

ANSWER: Hi, Lizzy.  It's good to hear from you.  Thanks for your interest in West Point.

I don't have precise information as to the age standards in 1925 when your Grandfather would have entered West Point, but I do not believe that it has changed much over the years.  The present standard says that you must be at least 17 years old and not yet be 23 years of age as of 1 July on the year you enter.  

I know that for the past 50 years or so fully one third of each incoming class is NOT coming directly out of high school.  They come from within the military, post high school prep schools, and even some with 1-3 years of college!  As such I do not find it that unusual for your Grandfather to have entered at age 21.

If you can follow-up with your Grandfather's full name I can look him up in the Register of Graduates and send you some additional information about his military career, and possibly his Obituary if published by the West Point Association of Graduates.

Good luck in your quest.

Best Regards,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you sooo much! That was a fast answer!

My great grandfather was William Francis Ryan.
He entered West Point in 1929.
I think he graduated in 4 years.

I really appreciate any more information you can find on him!
This is a great site! I didn't know for sure if I would get a response before my paper
was due, but I did get one!

Lizzy Farrell

ANSWER: It's good to hear from you again, Lizzy.  I'm glad you took me up on the offer to dig more information.

One thing I misread from your original question was the 1929 date.  Usually that is given as a Graduation date; in re-reading your question I see that you said he "attended" in 1929; meaning that's when he entered, not in 1925 as I incorrectly inferred.  That doesn't change my original answer, but I just wanted to clarify the situation for you.  

My primary reference is the "Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the US Military Academy at West Point," published annually by the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG).  The "Register" has the following information on your Grandfather.  

William Francis Ryan was born in New York and was appointed to West Point from the New York National Guard.  He graduated with the Class of 1933 on June 13, 1933 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery.  His Cullum Number (graduation sequence from West Point beginning in 1802) is 9771.

In World War II he served in the European Theater from 1943 to 1946 and was the Commanding Officer of the 402nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 42nd Division.  He was awarded two Bronze Star Medals and a Soldiers Medal for his WWII service.

After the war he served on the Staff and Faculty of the Air University from 1950 to 1953.  Then as the Executive Officer of the IX (9th) Corps Artillery and G3 of the 8th Army from 1953 to 1954 where he was awarded the Legion of Merit medal.  From 1957 to 1960 he was the Commanding General of the 4th Armored Division Artillery and from 1960 to 1961 the Commanding General of VII (7th) Corps Artillery.  Then in 1962 he served as the Commanding General of the US Army Test and Evaluation Command (TECOM) at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD.  He retired as a Brigadier General in 1963 with 30 distinguished years of Army service.

He passed away at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on September 10, 1983.  His obituary was published in the June 1985 issue of "Assembly Magazine" published by the WPAOG.

If you want to send another follow-up question, I will look for a copy of his obituary and attach that to the next answer.  If I can't find it, I will point you to the right person at the WPAOG where you can get a copy.

Gook luck on your continued research of William Francis Ryan!!

Best Regards,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much again for your quick response!

I actually have a copy of his obituary, but I do not know who wrote it.
That would be great to know if at all possible!
Thanks again!

William Francis Ryan Obituary
William Francis Ryan O  
Hi again, Lizzy.

I know you said you had his obituary, but I'm not sure that is the one from West Point's "Assembly" magazine.  It was published in June 1985, authored by, "A Classmate."  Your Father and Mother are definitely mentioned at the end of this piece, along with, "the grandchildren."  It is attached to this response; I apologize that the image is cramped, but "Assembly" was published as an odd-sized (9"x12") magazine in those days.

Your maternal Grandfather was a distinguished Soldier with a remarkable career.  I also noted that YOUR Father was a 1960 graduate, along with your Grandfather Farrell in the Class of 1920.  That's quite a West Point family behind you.  You must be very proud.

I also noted that there is an "Assembly" obituary of your Grandfather Farrell that was published in March of 1982.  If you don't have that I'll be happy to try to find it and send that along also.

Thanks again for your family's service and your interest in West Point.

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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