Yesterday I had the distinct honor of meeting the Far West Outreach Officer for West Point. She was most impressive.
She was of average height and good physical shape, but certainly didn't look like she'd play women's rugby--or founded West Point's women's rugby team! A 2003 graduate, she's already served in Korea, in Iraq, and with the Old Guard, the ceremonial unit stationed near DC.
I've observed the Old Guard in training. They're the ones who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington, and who wear colonial uniforms for certain ceremonies and parades. Being in that unit is not something that happens just because your name pops up on a list--you have to be good even to be considered. And this young officer was good.
We chatted for probably 15 minutes. It was so nice to meet someone new from West Point, and to get to talk shop as we did. Among her few rows of ribbons she was sporting a couple that didn't even exist back in my day, so she explained what they were and how she got them. She told me about her experiences going to different schools, how some are--how shall I say it delicately--more organized regarding her visits, and how others are not.
At one point, when discussing how she tells students what West Point has to offer, I said to her, "Allow me to be blunt. Your being a black woman, who's accomplished as much as you have in such a short time, speaks volumes to the opportunities that West Point and the army offer."
She told me she doesn't try to hard-sell kids on West Point. She presents the information, and let's the kids determine if West Point is for them or not. Those who choose West Point will want to go, they don't need to be pressured or tricked into attending.
It was a treat meeting this young officer. I hope all of our representatives are as impressive as she is.