|The Robinson Library >> Dwight David Eisenhower|
|West Point Cadet
Dwight Eisenhower became a soldier by chance. After high school, he took a full-time job at the Abilene, Kansas, creamery, with plans to help pay the first-year college expenses for his older brother Edgar and then to enter college himself. In 1910, a friend persuaded Eisenhower to join him in applying to the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Eisenhower also applied for an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. He took competitive examinations for both academies, finishing first in the Annapolis examination and second in the West Point.
Eisenhower received appointment to the Naval Academy, only to discover he would be a few months past the age limit of 20 when the term started. By a quirk of fate, the highest man on the Military Academy list was unable to accept appointment and Eisenhower, as second highest, received it. Because of their religion, Eisenhower's parents did not approve of his entering military service, but they allowed him to choose his own career.
Eisenhower entered West Point in June 1911. His classmates included Omar N. Bradley, James Van Fleet, and other men who became famous generals.
At West Point, Eisenhower played two seasons of football and was regarded as one of the most promising halfbacks in the East until he broke his leg playing against Tufts College. He fractured the leg a second time while riding horseback. The combined injuries almost cost him his West Point commission. The Military Academy's medical board initially voted to discharge Eisenhower, but, on the plea of the board's chairman, it decided to consider further. Fortunately for him and the nation, Eisenhower was allowed to finish out his term at West Point. He graduated in 1915, 61st in a class of 164, and was assigned as a Second Lieutenant to Fort Sam Houston, near San Antonio, Texas.
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This page was last updated on December 10, 2018.