During the first semester of the Firstie year the first class will have Branch Night. Some time in November the Firsties will assemble in Eisenhower Hall to hear the Commandant briefly speak about the importance of the evening in relation to the future officers' chosen profession in the Army.
For the first three years at the Academy each cadet has received information about each of the 16 Branches. By the time Branch Night occurs they will understand what the normal duties, responsibilities, assignment patterns and locations are for each of the Branches. Late in the Cow Year each cadet must indicate, by order of preference all specialties for which they are qualified and eligible. Branches are then assigned according to performance, preference and current Branch goals [which means what the Army needs at that time]
The Commandant will give the order and TACs will hand out envelopes to the Firsties that contain the insignia of the Branch to which they have been assigned. On order the cadets all open their envelopes at one time. Exultation, cheers, groans, high-fives and more are heard coming from Ike Hall once the envelopes have been opened and then there's a time for relaxation and refreshment with the Branch representative and the other members of their Branch "family."
Branch options include the following:
- Combat Arms - Air Defense, Armor, Aviation, Field Artillery, Infantry
- Combat Support - Chemical Corps, Corps of Engineers, Military Intelligence, Military Police, Signal Corps
- Combat Service Support - Adjutant General Corps, Finance Corps, Medical Corps, Ordnance Corps, Quartermaster Corps, Transportation Corps
These links show all of the sleeve and collar insignia currently in use at the USMA [note these are not DOD or US government web sites]
The Branch Links Page has links to branch homepages or the links to the USMA page of interest for the branch.
- Back to Firstie Page -
From Monday through Friday, cadets have the opportunity to participate in Branch Week. Throughout the week, cadets from all class years, as well as U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School cadet candidates and ROTC cadets from other colleges, have the chance to speak with branch representatives to help them decide which of the 17 U.S. Army branches interests them for a future career.
Military Police Branch Representative, Capt. Jannelle Allong-Diakabana, said that the week is a great opportunity for both staff and cadets.
"Cadets can take the time to meet potential mentors in the branches of interest to them," she explained. "It's important that these cadets get candid and professional insight into the varying branches of the Army before making their selection."
Learning about each branch, Allong-Diakabana emphasizes, is key.
"It's essential for cadets to explore different branches so they are informed. In a few weeks, the seniors will make choices that will impact the next 5-8 years of their lives," she said. "The more educated they are on the various branches, the more informed decisions they can make."
Firsties find out which branch they are going into on Branch Night, Nov. 15. Prior to Branch Night, they rank their branch preferences in order from one-17.
Class of 2018 Cadet Robert Li is hoping to branch ordnance (lieutenant time) with a branch detail in infantry (once a captain).
"I'd rather do paperwork on the logistics side and having a combat infantryman's experience really helps out knowing what you need to do in order to help the platoon out in terms of logistical resources," he explained.
Li said that every year, he had a different first choice branch, but finally made up his mind this summer.
"After doing (Cadet Troop Leader Training) and actually talking to infantry guys, the lane walkers, over the summer, (it helped me make my decision)," he said. "It's not just Branch Week alone, it's the cumulative experience that's helped me finalize my decision."
Cadet Jacob Roberts, also a Firstie, hopes to branch field artillery.
"I make sure I stop by the (field artillery) tent for a little every year and talk to them," he said. "I liked the jobs that they do and the experiences they had, and I feel like I would do well in those kinds of positions, too."
Having attended Branch Week for the last four years, Roberts has some advice for the plebes.
"Don't get too dead set on one," he said. "Keep an open mind and find what you like, not what other people like, and just find the job that suits you and where you can be most effective."
Class of 2015 USMA graduate and military intelligence officer 1st Lt. Patrick Bastianelli from the 525th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, offered advice as well.
"Don't worry too much about the branch that you're going to choose," he said. "No matter what route you take, you'll find your niche and you'll enjoy it, but obviously, take advantage of Branch Week and all the officers you have as instructors and use them as a source to connect with company grade officers."
- March 9, 2018Army Corps of Engineers announces 90 percent power restoration for Puerto Rico citizens
- March 9, 2018US Special Forces bring elite training to South America
- March 9, 2018Alaska Army National Guard freezes hot 'threats' during Arctic Eagle exercise
- March 7, 2018Modernizing Army network key to battlefield advantage, say Army generals
- March 12, 2018Infantry Soldier earns 2nd place, recognition at strongman competition
- March 6, 2018Fort Hood's innovative methods for eliminating waste earns Army secretary's 2017 environmental award
- March 8, 2018Army success relies on materiel in the right place, right time
- March 8, 2018Army staff sergeant finishing her Army career on her own terms
- March 8, 2018Army developing system to allow Soldiers to see buried bombs for route clearance
- March 6, 2018From historian to cyber expert: Soldier takes on a new career in cyber intelligence