This Friday the Corps of Cadets was privileged to be addressed by Sec. Gates. This visitation was accompanied by something not quite as pleasant: an ealry morning. The West Point solution to making time out of thin air without losing class time is to start the day with a 5:45 breakfast formation instead of the usual 6:55 formation. Lucky me, my first period class kicked off with a 6:20 differential equations quiz. Thank G-d it was short! The worst part of the day, however, was that it was raining. This meant that us cadets had to garb ourselves in the ridiculous gray raincoats--complete with disfunction cape and way too many buttons--between classes and to formations. Quite a sight we were, all rushing down to Ike Hall for Sec. Gate's speech in gray plastic bags!
The speech itself was fairly concise, under forty minutes I believe. It covered a broad spectrum of topics, but the Secertary seemed to want to focus on his acknowledgement that Army life has not been easy over the past 10 years and that in order for a military to act mroe effectively we must begin to rely more on the Navy and Air Force as well as be more scrutinzing in the prmotion of our officers. He particularly mentioned a need to focus on the top 20% of officers for promotion and the bottom 20% for improvement and possible discharge. His talk was broad in its statements and did not particularly address budget or social issues going on in the military right now. All in all it was a good speech not meant to stir up the cadets one way or the other, and so it has not been a large topic of discussion amongst the Corps--although, they did not like the relying on Air Force and Navy more comment :)
This weekend I am preparing for a terrible Thayer week, which is what we call difficult school weeks. I have 6 exams, an essay, and a lab. At least I get to leave campus all next weekend for fencing nationals. The women will be competing at John Hopkins in MD on Saturday and the men at William and Mary in VA on Sunday. Well, this ends my study break...back to the grind.