I’m really coming late to this thread but thought I would add some perspective. I’m the son and nephew of Ft Schuyler grads and a grad of VMI and a retired Army officer now working for a very large multinational manufacturing company- so I have some understanding of the role and value of the regiment . While my Alma Mater carries the military indoctrination and military environment to an extreme that I don’t believe Ft Schuyler ever did - I think that there are several takeaways from any structured military environment. These include:
- Rapidly teaching Cadets that they can effectively function even under psychological, physical and time pressures. This is probably even more important today when people routinely expect the world to stop and relax when they are tired. Regardless of profession - if you are dealing with people and dynamic environments- you will have to function and make choices under stressful conditions.
- Priorities. Even when some flamer is screaming at you that you have to shine something or get something done NOW!!!- you discover that may not be the thing that must be your first priority. So you have to learn how to prioritize- and sometimes take the immediate but ultimately lesser pain that comes with making a hard call about what is really important.
- Teamwork: Virtually every military indoctrination system is designed to impress upon you that there are things more important than your own personal advantage. Real success comes from getting the team across the finish line- not sprinting out and leaving your teammates behind.
- Integrity: Personal honor and integrity matters - your word needs to be unquestioned. Whether in the Military, aboard Ship or in Industry- the person who is seen as always being a straight shooter is a highly valued commodity- they are the one who doesn’t get second guessed or micro-managed from above and they are the ones who get the resources when they report a problem and left to be on their own when they report a mission accomplished or well in hand.
- Finally - Loyalty and devotion to the organization through shared experiences. I promise that I am far closer to my classmates 40 years out than my counterparts at NYU from the 1970s are. There is a reason that the Alumni Associations of the Military and Maritime Colleges ( whether from VMI or the Citadel or Mass Maritime or SUNY Maritime etc…) have the long term ties that they do- shared experiences and hardships bind them together.
There is always somebody who bleats about the “real world” not being like the artificial world of the Regiment- but it misses the point completely. I believe that the graduate who comes through a hard experience is a better person , more prepared to deal with a hard world than those who faced no challenges not of their own making.