On Monday, April 20th, a small ceremony was held at Base Camp Stephenson, where a Guyana Defense Force Officer Cadet was presented a certificate of appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Officer Candidate Britany Van Lange, of Georgetown, received her appointment from U.S. Embassy Georgetown’s Senior Defense Official, LCDR Robert Novotny. Ms. Van Lange will join her older brother Errol, who is currently enrolled at West Point in the Class of 2016.
The ceremony was presided over by the Guyana Defense Force Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips. He remarked that he and many of his officers and enlisted ranks have benefitted from training in the United States over the years, but an appointment to West Point is “at the top of the list”.
The United States Military Academy serves to prepare students, known as the Corps of Cadets, for service in the United States Army. The mission of West Point is to educate, train and inspire the Corps so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character, committed to the values of Duty, Honor, and Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to their nation. West Point provides a superb four-year education which focuses on the leadership development of the Corps of Cadets, all underwritten by adherence to a code of honor. Ethical and moral development is emphasized as is selfless service to one’s country. The academic program grants a Bachelor of Science degree with a curriculum that grades cadets’ performance upon a broad academic program, military leadership performance, and mandatory participation in competitive athletics. Cadets are required to adhere to the Cadet Honor Code, which states that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”
As West Point is universally regarded as one of the finest universities in the United States, selection for admission is incredibly difficult, as each year only 1200 of over 13,000 applicants are offered appointments to join the incoming class, an acceptance rate of just 9%. West Point alumni include two Presidents of the United States, presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and The Philippines, numerous famous generals, and seventy-five Medal of Honor recipients.