Marksmanship and Leader Development
DUTY ~ HONOR ~ COUNTRY. This resounding challenge continues to guide cadets as USMA marches towards its bicentennial and third century of service to the nation. During their four years at the Academy, cadets undergo rigorous academic, military, physical, and moral-ethical development in preparation as leaders of character who serve the common defense.
The Skeet & Trap Team falls within the cadet military development program as one of several voluntary marksmanship activities. Cadet team members polish their marksmanship skills, develop a love of the shooting sports, serve as role models and ambassadors for West Point, and become lifetime spokespersons for competitive and recreational shotgun shooting. Team members forge lifelong friendships and gain invaluable experience filling important team leadership positions.
Douglas MacArthur once wrote, “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory.” If one accepts that marksmanship is the premier soldierly skill, then cadets who compete upon the Skeet & Trap fields of friendly strife are sowing seeds that will pay direct dividends to our nation’s defense.
A Rich Team History
The Cadet Skeet & Trap was organized in 1938 under the leadership of CPT Charles B. King, USMA Class of 1928. CPT King was killed in action at Normandy in June 1944. An inspiring mentor, King coached the team to the first of several National Intercollegiate Championships by 1941. During one subsequent season, the first five ranked cadets and the second five ranked cadets were the first and second place teams at Nationals. The team has accumulated an equally impressive record against its fellow service academies at both the Intercollegiate Nationals and during annual Service Academy matches.
The Team Today
Cadets from all four classes make up the Skeet and Trap team, which operates as a competitive club squad team under the auspices of the Directorate of Cadet Activities. Included are both experienced shooters and novices seeking to improve their skills. Team members practice on West Point’s Range 10 on Friday afternoons following academic classes. Competing on weekends during fall and spring seasons, the team engages in college-level meets including shoots against the U.S. Naval Academy, Yale University, and University of Connecticut. Matches against New York area shooting clubs traditionally round out a regular season schedule and provide keen challenges. Included among these competitors are the Campfire Club of America, New York Athletic Club, Rumson Country Club, Westchester Country Club, Union League, Weston Gun Club, Nassau Gun Club, Peconic Sportsmen’s Club, and Monroe-Chester Sportsmen’s Club. Cadets conclude their schedule by competing in the National Intercollegiate Championships.