West Point’s ‘Class of 9/11’ Graduates

This year’s crop of Service Academy graduates are the first since the Vietnam era to serve essentially their entire cadetships during wartime. Even more so than the other academies, the West Point Class of 2005–dubbed thee “Class of 9/11”– has been living with the fact that, upon graduation, serving in a combat zone was a near certainty.

West Point’s ‘Class of 9/11’ Graduates (AP)

Graduating U.S. Military Academy cadets — who came here just weeks before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — were told Saturday they were a special group forged by historic events. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the class “one of the few since the early days of the Vietnam War who came to West Point in peace time, saw the nation transition to war and chose to stay, knowing you would raise your right hand and take an oath and swear to defend the constitution of a nation that was still at war.”

The Class of 2005 is nicknamed the “Class of 9/11” and, coincidentally, the number of graduates was 911.

The class spent almost all of the past four years drilling and studying under what West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. William Lennox called “the shadow of war.” About seven in 10 of the new second lieutenants who threw their caps in the air are expected to be in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan within a year.

Congratulatons, lieutenants. And godspeed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    And as always, we’d rather honor them on future Veterans Days than Memorial Days.

  2. Jim Henley says:

    Something on which I agree with McGehee!