Saturday, July 23, 2011

and Pause

The committee I'm working for this summer is the land nav committee, and as far as work goes, it's really not bad and I even appreciate how relevant it is as skill.  It has been a rewarding experience thus far, even considering recent sad events.  A new cadet died on one of the courses.  The cause of death is unknown.  I don't know anything about it since it was the evening I got off work with a day off to look forward to, but today there was talk.  There are already a handful of theories being rumored through the Corps.  Whatever the theory, it's being layered with the heat wave going through the North East.  According to the news, the heat has accounted for 22 deaths in this region of the country this summer.  I don't really know, it's possible, but I'd much rather wait for a news update rather than jump to conclusions.  There are three land navigation sites.  I'm at site one.  The occurrence was at site three, so the long course day.  We have been in the upper heat categories, tonight there will be a Taps Vigil at West Point.

Similar to when a Soldier passes away, the Corps (most of those who are in Garrison in the summer anyway) will gather on the 'Apron' which is the area in front of the main buildings (Ike Barracks, Washington Hall, and Mac Long Barracks) and the deceased Cadet's name will be called three times.  It's symbolic and sad.

A brief scan of news showed the last time a young cadet died from a training-related activity was actually as recently as 2003.  The circumstances were a little different, and in the 2003 case the cadet was trying out for the marathon team.  I have not been able to pinpoint the last time a New Cadet died in Basic Training or Beast Barracks.  As I said I have no idea the cause, but the New Cadet was on the individual long course when he was found.  Rather than wait for the result to be determined there were those in the media who immediately investigated if abuse was a factor.  That is, thankfully, not part of training anymore.  Beast barracks is still a challenge, but Cadets who try to haze their New Cadets in a way that could harm them are punished, sometimes failed militarily and forced to re-do their summer leadership details after extensive retraining.

Today there was pause, but training must continue.  The big Army machine cannot stop, but tonight at TAPS it will pause.

In addition, and not to add to the doom or gloom, and certainly not to make light of the situation, but Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home.  She was only 27.  It just makes one stop and wonder for a moment.

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