18 things (we’re reflecting on) from 2018
2018 was special to us for many reasons. It’s the year we, the CADET TEAM, were married at West Point. It was the year we moved our operations and small family across country from Chicago to the Washington, D.C. area to embark on new, exciting challenges. And it was our first full year as a hard-copy, print publication. With all those momentous happenings, it can be hard to let go. But, it’s now time to bid farewell to 2018.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
- Alfred Lord Tennyson
However, this won’t be a clean break. We are saying good-bye by highlighting and honoring 18 things, from the year that was, which made us feel proud and/or inspired. We here at CADET feel that there is truly no time like the present and we consciously practice mindfulness amidst the ever increasing noise levels of the world around us. And in order to enjoy the present to it’s fullest, we must spend proper time both reflecting on what was and peering into what could be. So here is part 1 of our 2-part series dedicating to wrapping-up 2018 and looking forward to 2019.
THE RELEASE oF VOL I
01-15-18 The release of VOL I of CADET was a special moment for the CADET TEAM. Years in development, the inaugural volume was the realization of a simple idea - create a magazine about West Point and its community from the perspective of its graduates, through the lens of creativity.
The result was a tangible product, in print, that could be held. 100 pages of photo essays, commentary, columns and features.
In the vein of Victory Journal, The Players Tribune and independent magazines everywhere, we’re proud to be behind West Point’s addition to the mix.
This was the beginning of something new, harnessing the old, relying on tradition and community.
Where will it take us? We’re excited to find out and are happy you are along for the ride.
THE LAUNCH OF THE West Point 100
03-15-18 Both a creative project and an insightful ethnography, West Point 100 is curating a collection of 100 West Point creators.
What’s common among them is that they are all leaders, innovators, trendsetters, pathfinders and most importantly are all members of the strongest brotherhood + sisterhood in the nation - The Long Gray Line.
This project - a collection of creators - acts as a companion to CADET. It’s our lifeline to the creative professionals, hobbyists and creatively curious who are often buried or living on the periphery of the West Point community.
We’ve successfully connected with nearly 75 creators thus far and have big plans for 2019 to highlight the creators and their creations.
SAMPLE OF INDUSTRIES, CRAFTS AND PROFESSION
All the collaborationS
We are witnessing a huge increase in the collaborations between members of the Long Gray Line, specifically on-line. From Podcasts and vlogs to T-shirts, flags and sandwiches, the connectivity technology provides and the platforms the internet supplies allow for the West Point community to connect and create in a prolific fashion like never before. We couldn’t be more happy to be a part of it.
There is truly no better time to be an Old Grad than right now. Prove us wrong…we’re listening.
Its been a pleasure to watch the entrepreneurial chops of the hearts-in-gray scratch, claw, self-promote and succeed with their side-hustles, passion-projects and full-time endeavors.
Let’s all keep it up, yeah?
A SMALL SAMPLE OF COLLABORATIONS
03-07-18 The seasons are really felt at West Point. The harsh Summers become insufferable by way of field training at muggy Camp Buckner. The anticipation of Spring is made more beautiful and satisfying by the magnificent cherry blossoms and the promise of graduation. The Autumn palette of the Hudson Valley is truly unmatched as sharp leaves crackle underfoot.
As for Winter, there is something so haunting and ethereal about the way a snow storm at West Point transforms the place.
The eerie silence. The child-like whimsy. It all clashes with the stone and hallowed grounds in a way that is both remarkable and frightening (in the best possible way). And it wouldn’t be West Point without those wintery feelings bleeding well into March, as was the case this past year.
This snow storm blanketed the academy grounds and became a canvas for cadets to capture some truly breath-taking images (like the one above by cadet Bobby Norwood).
Snowstorms like this inspire us to create some atypical West Point wall prints.
Army-Navy Baseball AT CAMDEN YARDS & Fenway
03-25-18 Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark. It’s a shame there doesn’t seem to be any real great visual documentation of this game. Army swept Navy to open Patriot League play, so thats pretty awesome. Playing in the house the Ripken built is pretty awesome. Hope they do it again, we’re available to cover it. Let us know.
04-20-18 Army + Navy + Fenway = America. The Army-Navy football game has been played in many professional stadiums. But Army-Navy baseball has had a less spectacular list. Let’s hope this is a new tradition that will catch on. Because if Army-Navy baseball makes it’s way to Wrigley Field, we might explode (footnote: we had our first date at Wrigley Field). This game was a one-off in a three game series that ended with 2 games at Doubleday Field. Army lost all three games, but this should definitely become a regular occurrence. Below is a link to a few more photos from the great Dustin Satloff.
OUR MAGAZINE ON DISPLAY at Founders Day
04-21-18 This was our first public display of the magazine. The event was Founders Day in Chicago at the Union League. It was both unnerving and exciting and horrible and great all at the same time. If you’ve ever put your own creation on display you know what we mean. It was great chatting with members of the Chicago Society about our efforts and plans for the future of CADET. It was so very encouraging to meet people that had heard of CADET or said “Oh, you’re the ones behind that”. We even made a few sales that night.
We truly cannot wait for our next event to display CADET.
Our West Point Wedding
05-12-18 was the day we made our very own West Point collaboration very, very, VERY official. It was a perfectly typical West Point day. Overcast and rainy. We simply loved it, just look at that million dollar view (below). It made our heart sing with joy as we celebrated with our closest friends and dearest family members. Once we were engaged (in Philly, the Thursday prior to the 2017 Army-Navy Game) it wasn’t even a discussion where these two grads were going to get married. Less than 6 months later, we said I do and pushed forward to the next big adventure, together.
Our move to D.C.
06-25-18 Less then 1 month from getting married, we set our sights on the nation’s capital. One-half of the CADET TEAM took a full-time U.S. Army Reserve assignment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. So, we packed our bags, said good-bye to Chicago and moved East.
The DMV area is filled with US history, energetic go-getters and is ripe with West Pointers young and old. Some of the youngest old grads are attending medical school and a few of the oldest of the old call the area home (the class of ‘55 has a monthly lunch get-together, for instance).
Then there is the foot traffic this area provides. There seems to be a constant flow of old grads on trips both business and pleasure. As well as a steady stream of cadets on trips sections, corps squad athletes, club activities and AIADs and summer internships.
We are super stoked about out new home and can’t wait to meet YOU the next time you are in town.
Let us know and we’ll get a drink.
THE RELEASE of VOL II
09-06-18 The release of VOL I was very special. But the release and reception of VOL II was magical. We were not content on creating a one-hit-wonder. VOL II was bigger and better then VOL I in every way. 15 collaborators + 104 pages combined to create a fully-realized version of the magazine VOL I set out to be.
We have decided to push the envelope from here on out.
VOL II is a visual punch-in-the-face with bold graphics, engaging photography, and a depiction of the West Point community that you’ve never seen before. Best of all, VOL II was proudly created with the help of 10 Old Grad creators. The result is a beautifully crafted 104-page artifact full of Long Gray Line tradition and legacy with a modern twist.
OUR MANY VISITS TO THE POST OFFICE
We've been very occupied this year with fulfilling orders. They have come in from all corners of the country as well as several OCONUS locations. In fact, we’ve spent so much time at the Post Office that we are on a first name basis with the staff.
Orders have been sent to cities like Muskogee, OK, Lake Bluff, IL and West Point, NY and to states like Alaska, Texas, California and Hawaii and to countries like Germany and the UAE. Every order and each magazine truly and sincerely feels like a physical connection with each of you.
Because of the process we decided on, we get the chance to hold each magazine, and we package every envelope by hand. We then, personally, drop them off at the post office to send them on their own little journey to you.
Our creative process starts with an idea and it ends with a package at your doorstep, in your mailbox or on your kitchen table. We like to think that maybe your kids open it or maybe you do. Then you get to the chance to crack open the cover, flip through it, maybe you sit with it over a coffee or a beer or a glass of wine and enjoy it.
That whole process - from start to finish - brings us incredible joy, its why we do this. Thank you for being a part of this process with us, we couldn't and wouldn't do it without you.
We've thoroughly enjoyed the images being sharing on Instagram and Facebook. We love seeing VOL I & VOL II out in the wild - see a few below.
Going behind enemy lines & LEARNING the EXISTENCE OF THE West Point SOCIETY OF Annapolis
So, it should come as no surprise that our move to Northern Virginia has increased our touch points with West Pointers. At least a few times a week we see a car window sticker or a license plate frame or a sweater or sweatshirt with West Point/USMA/ARMY on it. It makes us smile and generally feel pretty great to be a part of the the Long Gray Line.
Well, one added benefit of moving to the area is that we are just a hop, skip and a jump from the United States Naval Academy. Now you might be scratching your head and saying “what do you mean BENEFIT??” Well, in mid-September we started making trips out to Annapolis. On back-to-back days Sprint Football and Women’s Rugby played and #BEATnavy. And we were there. It’s great being able to support Army in enemy territory and capture visuals of the Pride & Dream in the best rivalry in America.
Another unrealized benefit is learning the existence of the West Point Society of Annapolis. This near oxymoron was a fascinating concept we just had to experience first hand. And boy are we glad we did. We found out they play surrogate sponsors to the exchange cadets attending USNA. And even host a welcome BBQ and a farewell Holiday Social. #griphands
Army FootbalL’S entire 2018
2018 Where to start. It’s a great time to be an Army football fan. What great fun we are all having. Here’s a recap of Army Football’s year:
- Cracked the Top 25 for the first time in 22 years.
- Won 11 games in a season for the first time in program history.
- Won at least 10 games in consecutive years for the first time in school history.
- Took powerhouse Oklahoma to 2OT in September.
- Remained undefeated at home for the second consecutive season.
- Unveiled another top-notch, story-driven uniform for the 119th Army-Navy Game.
- Defeated Navy for a third-straight year for the first time in almost a quarter-century.
- Captured the Commander In Chief's Trophy in back-to-back years for the first time ever.
- Strung together their longest win streak since 1996.
- Coach Monken named the 2018 George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award winner.
- P.S. In April of 2018 Army Football visited the White House for winning the 2017 CIC trophy.
With three consecutive wins over Navy, Army-Navy week has become one long fun-filled stream of sharing, collaborating, photos, parodies, spirit banners, #BEATnavy messages, pranks and on and on and on…
Honestly, we can’t get enough of it. There really is “no substitute for victory”
Its essentially a “two-week-long” week and if it was longer you wouldn’t hear us complaining. Then there’s the actual weekend, which if your not careful can fly by in a flurry. This year produced some serious withdrawal.
During the weeks leading up to the game we had a blast compiling some long overdue retrospectives on the Design of Army-Navy:
all the GREAT photoGRAPHY
The influx of good and GREAT photography currently coming out of West Point is extremely exciting. We are obviously big proponents of visual communications and have a deep penchant for photography. The extremely capable stable of talented cadets in the Cadet Media Group coupled with the very creative Army Athletics communications personnel make for an almost unending supply of top-notch visuals with which you can treat your eyeballs to after most sports contests and marquee West Point events. Additionally, there are several pro-photographers from wire services that routinely make stellar West Point imagery.
The entire list of photographers is available in our journal.
Below is a small selection of our favorites from 2018. Enjoy!
WE GOT to Photograph the West Point Community
OLD GRAD PORTRAITS
OLD GRAD BUSINESSES
WEST POINT SOCIETY OF CHCAGO
USMA CLASS OF 1968
ARMY FOOTBALL CLUB ANNUAL GOLF OUTING
USMA CLASS OF 2003
WEST POINT SOCIETY OF DC
YOUNG GRADS WEST POINT SOCIETY OF DC
WEST POINT SOCIETY OF ANNAPOLIS
PARENTS CLUB OF MD, DC, VA
BEYOND THE POINT
ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATES
From cadet activities and reunions to sports, graduates’ businesses and parent clubs we have found great satisfaction working with the West Point community on creating impactful, engaging, custom photography. Whether the need is for posterity, creative communications or just for fun, we are both willing and able to take on photographic challenges.
We can’t wait to see what collaborations we encounter in 2019.
This really makes this all worthwhile. When a person or a group of people set-out to create something the task can be filled with negative self-talk, self-imposed demands of perfection and an unending gauntlet of self-criticism; the process of creating each volume of CADET is no different.
When the time comes for your creation to make its way out into the world you can only hope that you executed in a way that resonates with someone, anyone. The feedback below brings us so much happiness.
Thank you all for making this effort so worthwhile.
Class of '68 was so very pleased to have Chris and Caroline serve as the official photographers for the Class' 50th reunion ... and are honored to be prominently displayed in the current issue of CADET USMA Class of 1968 They did a fantastic job and were a pleasure to work with! AND the magazine is FANTASTIC
- Dutch (USMA ‘68) & Megan Hostler
You guys are amazing. Such a huge fan of your work. If there is anything I can do to promote your greatness, let me know.
- Simone Askew (USMA ‘18)
I received my copy last week. Between content and presentation, Chris and Caroline did a great job presenting a premium product!
- Andy Mazeika (USMA ‘08)
Chris!!!!! I love CADET. It is a phenomenal collection. I pray that sales & subscriptions are going well. I think that you and I agree on the concept that WP cadets, grads, and old grads should lead the charge of communications among the Long Gray Line.
As a former co-president of the Georgia Parents Club, I applaud your efforts to lead this effort.
How can I help?
- Clayton Ivey (Parent of USMA ‘19)
I've told my classmates in emails to go to your website and at least look at all of the photos from our 50th reunion -- study and marvel over them. Look at the arms and hands with dry, thin, bruised (we bruise easier due to age and meds we take) skin -- texture -- but the ring still fits and looks like it belongs. Look at all the hugs and smiles -- lots of hugs and smiles. Seriously present and past. Thanks.
Your photos are neat -- not just in composition and lay out. They are sharp and show the differences in uniforms, ring wear, marching, etc. between our day and the present. Neat stuff. Your photos tell quite a story.
- David Gerrard (USMA ‘68)
Caroline, Don’t know why it took me so long to realize that this amazing publication was made by YOU! God, what an awesome product! You and your husband have INCREDIBLE production quality! I don't know how you do it! Way to go!!!
- Garrison Haning (USMA ‘09)
I'm a retired minister and NG Chaplain. For many years now I've had fun writing limericks on all kinds of ridiculous subjects. Below are a few examples. I've written hundreds and can write them on demand, so if ever you need one let me know.
Caroline and Chris had the thought,
Perhaps they ought tie the knot.
And having done that,
With a bit of a chat,
A Black, Grey and Gold Mag was wrought.
- CH Ray Dupere (USMA ‘ 69)
SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS
On the whole we all seem to rail-against social media more than speak positively about it. So, We’d like to take a moment to shed some praise on how much we enjoy experiencing West Point via social media. The awareness of sports, clubs, parent, grad, society and faculty events and happenings and accomplishments is staggering. Its downright fantastic to be able to have a mainline to anything and everything West Point related.
Whether its voting on a @DrunkOldGrad poll on Instagram Stories or sharing a #1 ranking article from Forbes on Facebook, to seeing what Army Equipment (@ArmyEquip) is up to on Twitter to scrounging for artifacts and old movie posters on Pinterest, we can’t get enough of West Point online. Then there’s this wonderful list of Army-Navy/West Point videos from @chrisWpestel on YouTube.
Anyway, we love Social Media and all it offers as creators, graduates, Army fans and general West Point community members. Keep it up everyone, you’re doing great.
INSTAGRAM - We’ve doubled our following from a year ago and love keeping tabs on the great photography everyone is sharing.
FACEBOOK - We have a very active and engaged community. Despite having to negotiate the ever changing algorithms of the platform, we have found Facebook to be a wonderful arena to engage with Cadets, Parents, West Point Societies and several niche West Point Facebook groups.
PINTEREST - As photographers, designers, typography nerds and lovers of illustration and animation we find Pinterest to be a wonderland of inspiration and reference materials. Come check us out.
We successfully delivered a monthly newsletter for 12 consecutive months. We have had a blast sharing what we’re up to, galleries of West Point events we've photographed, release updates of new products and announcements for pre-orders of the magazine.
Well, its been quite a year for West Point and for us. We hope to cross paths with you in 2019. If you see us with a camera in hand, don’t hesitate to say hello or jump in front of our lenses for a quick portrait. If you find yourself in the DC area, reach out. We’d love to connect. Have an idea for a story? Shoot us an email. Need some photography done for your business or of your cadet at West Point? Let us know, we love making trips to the Hudson Valley.
Happy New Year! Beat Navy!