Academic journal article Military Review

West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On

Academic journal article Military Review

West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On

Article excerpt

WEST POINT 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On

Michael Haskew, Zenith Press, Minneapolis, 2014, 224 pages

Was it their time? Or, was it the men themselves that make this such a compelling subject? The Class of 1915 had the highest percentage of U.S. Military Academy graduates reaching general officer ever: 59 of 164. The author details his case why this class is the best in military history based upon "the magnificence of their deeds" Haskew focuses much of his attention on the brightest stars, such as Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley, but he also candidly includes the accounts of officers who fell short of great expectations. This historical study should be read by Army officers who want to understand the human dimension of their profession--under stress at the highest level.

The book is filled with memorable stories, like one about a medical board unanimously voting against commissioning Cadet Eisenhower because of a knee injury. Ike first injured his knee as a star running back in football and then compounded the fresh damage during horse riding. His academic record was unimpressive, and he had "a mountain of demerits" before being ranked 95th in overall conduct. Without the extraordinary intervention of the head of the Academy's medical department to reverse the board and then take its split decision to Washington, Ike may have pursued his dream to Argentina. A fellow classmate, with inside information, related that ultimately Washington considered Eisenhower to be "a good gamble"--but only if he became an infantry officer.

Bradley's start was also inauspicious. He was a long-shot "Augustine" (a cadet who enters in August) who missed the hell of June at Beast Barracks because of a special late congressional appointment. …

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