WEST POINT – Richard Gash grew up at West Point, the son of an officer who still serves at the United States Military Academy.
Monday, he and about 1,200 other first-year cadets marched 12 miles from Camp Frederick after the six-week basic training camp to end what is also known as Beast Barracks.
“Since I was little, I always hoped I would come here,” said Gash. “I always saw my dad come home in his uniform, and it was always inspiring to me. And I always wished I could lead like he did.”
While at Camp Frederick, the cadets conducted difficult field training exercises, did plenty of team building and enjoyed some recreational activities.
“These are the culminating field training exercises for cadet basic training,” said Col. Alan Boyer, director of military training. “It’s hot and the rucksacks are heavy, and yes, the military is a difficult profession, and they’re learning, but they are accomplishing that. They are succeeding. They made it.”
Poughkeepsie’s Pat Dolan, who graduated from FDR High School, marched back with Gash and the others, and said he likes Army life so far.
“I really enjoy it so far,” he said. “There are challenges you go through, especially with your company-mates. You create a special bond, and that special bond is what keeps you going. It will keep me going through the academic years.”