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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Collected Works
of Ducrot Pepys

by
Ronan C. Grady

Newburgh, N. Y., 1943

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Sep. 27
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p5 Foreword

The life of a cadet is, to say the least, peculiar. To train the happy American college lad to be an officer capable of leading men into battle, discipline must be severe. At West Point, discipline is severe. For four years in normal times a cadet is closely confined within the grey walls of the Academy. His every move is watched over, guarded, and guided.

Plebe year, of course, is the worst, or best, depending on the square of the distance you are from it. The Fourth Classman not only has the many restrictions of the upperclass cadet, but he has also the not‑so-pleasant status of being a plebe. Every upperclassman is his superior, and feels greatly the responsibility he has for bringing up the plebe right. For the plebe, it often means, a bewildering number of police calls, push‑ups, and other interesting games.

The upperclassman is comparatively lucky; he has only the "System" with which to contend. However, this is often more than enough! To begin with, there is a special book of regulations published which the cadet must obey. Obviously, it is humanly impossible to do this completely, so the "System" provides certain interesting punishments — such as confinement, walking the area, losing leave privileges, and so on. Then, add a long and difficult academic course, and you have the makings of an academy to train officers.

Yes, the life of a cadet is quite often trying, but, as it is with almost all difficult things, la vie militaire provides an opportunity for many a laugh. And this is what Ronan C. Grady has done. The man himself is gifted with a great creative sense of humor, and the impact of Grady and the "System" produces not a crash, but a wild, raucous laugh. Step by step through the years Grady has not recorded so much the products of his imagination, but the effect of the actual bewildering events that befall any cadet. The endless soirées, the eternal inspections, the hoped‑for rain, the impartial, satanic justice of the Academic P's are all here in their reality. You see, this is not a book about West Point in its culminative result, but a book about West Point as each little detail occurs. You see, a cadet does not get the big picture. All he sees is the little day to day events, which he calls soirées. Most cadets sigh and do their duty, Grady gets excruciatingly funny. For three years cadets have laughed 'til the tears came over Grady's diary of Ducrot Pepys, because not only was it funny, but amazingly, it was true! Yes, true, in an exaggerated, howlingly funny sort of way. We give you the "Collected Works of Ducrot Pepys".


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Page updated: 16 Aug 12