West Point grads leaving service at highest rate in over 3 decades

From Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON — Recent graduates of the US Military Academy at West Point
are choosing to leave active duty at the highest rate in more than
three decades, a sign to many military specialists that repeated tours
in Iraq are prematurely driving out some of the Army’s top young

According to statistics compiled by West Point, of the 903 Army
officers commissioned upon graduation in 2001, nearly 46 percent left
the service last year — 35 percent at the conclusion of their five
years of required service, and another 11 percent over the next six
months. And more than 54 percent of the 935 graduates in the class of
2000 had left active duty by this January, the statistics show.

The figures mark the lowest retention rate of graduates after the
completion of their mandatory duty since at least 1977, with the
exception of members of three classes in the late 1980s who were
encouraged to leave as the military downsized following the end of the
Cold War.

UPDATE:USA Today reports on the soaring cost of bonuses to entice military personnel to stay in service…

The bonuses can range from a few thousand dollars to as much as
$150,000 for very senior special forces soldiers who re-enlist for six
years. All told, the Army and Marines spent $1.03 billion for
re-enlistment payments last year, compared with $174 million in 2003,
the year the war in Iraq began.

5 thoughts on “West Point grads leaving service at highest rate in over 3 decades

  1. You know, people don’t go to West Point just for grins, or because it pads their resume. This isn’t the equivalent of going to Harvard Law and then taking a job on Wall Street as a broker, or in the corporation as a VP of Marketing.
    These are people giving up careers. These are people busting their humps just to get into West Point, and then looking at their (short) future under W. and saying: “Not worth it.”
    Imagine med school graduates deciding they don’t want to be doctors after all.En masse.
    I mean: “Wow.” Just: “Wow.” If ever there were an “accounatbility moment” on Chimpy’s tenure as C in C, this is it.

  2. Interesting RMJ. Got me wondering – I wonder if the number of admissions applications to the military academies is holding up? I’m thinking that people could still apply and figure that they’re at least 4 years from graduating and hopefully by then someone else is in charge?????
    Personally, I’m constantly sickened by the commercials they keep running here having the black youth going to his parents, giving them the spiel that this is his way up in the world, its good training because its the army, and that he can stay home and study until they need him.
    With 15 month tours getting shot at in the desert, not like that is gonna happen any time soon, huh?

  3. So nearly 50% of the ‘Class of 9/11/01’ is just saying no to the GWOT? I’d be curious to see how many West Point grads were leaving the service in 1945. Just one more data point in how the President’s rhetoric comparing fighting terrorism to WWII is complete and utter BS.

  4. By the way, those Army commercials of black youth discussing the Army with parents are not commercials advertising West Point. The Army and West Point admission processes are comepletely different. West Point is an Ivy league school, rated 6th in the country. It is an awesome academy and the students/cadets are all top notch. In case you weren’t aware, West Point produces quality officers, which after 10 yrs in the Army still holds true in comparison to the ROTC officers I’ve worked with. But the commercials are still correct about the Army training, and the camaraderie compares to nothing else. You go through challenges that no one else can understand and we truly are a “Band of Brothers/Sisters”. I believe in our country and our military and I was also surprised at how many grads did leave the Army as soon as they could. But they did so for well calculated reasons and with a plan in mind. They aren’t just out there flapping like most college students. Most grads who chose to get out of the Army are still serving their country honorably in other capacities.

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