Trip to the US Military Academy at West Point
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
On 22 Sep 2007, I visited the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, United States.
The campus is fairly restricted for a tourist destination; while the West Point Museum and the Visitor Center are open to the general public, to see the rest of the campus I had to sign up with one of the registered tour operators. Fortunately the price was very reasonable, if a bit rushed; for a 2-hour guided walking tour, it was US$12.00 per person. The only complaint I have of the tour was the incessant Navy-bashing. I suppose it was to be expected from alumni of the academy of the US Army, but it really got tiresome after the tenth joke.
The tour took us to many points of interest on campus such as the Old Cadet Chapel, Trophy Point with its stunning view, the West Point Cemetery, and others. The cemetery is the resting place of many WW2 veterans. I kept an look out for the cenotaph of Joe Stilwell, though with little luck. I was able to find Donald Bennett, however; to be able to pay respect to the veteran of the Desert War, the Sicily Invasion, and the European War was a pleasant surprise.
The West Point Museum was definitely a highlight of the visit. It houses a rich collection of military equipment and weapons, with several galleries focusing on those used by the US Army. I was naturally gravitated toward the WW2-era weapons, and I was treated to some nice examples of them. Aside from military equipment, other items of WW2-interest can also be found there, such as Hermann Göring's baton, Tomoyuki Yamashita's sword, and the Japanese instrument of surrender.
If you are also considering a visit to the United States Military Academy at West Point, which is rather recommended for any military history enthusiast, be advised you should make sure to bring along a photo identification. While still photography is unrestricted, do not take motion pictures, as I was by the guards and the tour guide at the start of the tour.
Last Major Update: Dec 2007
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945