West Point cadets get a preview of western Pacific life
August 13, 2003
TOKYO — Four U.S. Military Academy cadets wrapping up a tour of the western Pacific say Japan intrigued them, but most would prefer to be stationed elsewhere.
Senior West Point cadets Ellisa Hurley, Charles Lewis, David Howald and Rebecca Tsuchiya toured several areas last week to gain a better understanding of Japanese culture as it relates to geology.
Lewis, Howald and Tsuchiya are human regional geology majors; Hurley is studying environmental engineering.
All expect to graduate next spring. In the coming months, they will have to request duty assignments.
“I’d like to come back,” Howald said Thursday as the group dined at Tokyo’s New Sanno hotel, a day before they returned to West Point. “To be stationed here would be incredible.”
But Tsuchiya, whose ancestors emigrated from Japan to the United States generations ago, said she’d prefer to be in Europe.
Lewis said he wants to be stateside. “I’ve still got a lot to see in the United States,” he said.
Hurley said she’s yet to decide where she wants to be stationed.
Their Japanese agenda included spending a day with Japanese cadets at the National Defense Academy, visiting several areas and tasting Japanese cuisine.
“The people here are very warm,” Tsuchiya said. “It’s really nice to be somewhere where everyone is trying to help you.”
The cadets said their visit’s highlight was a two-day climb of Mount Fuji. Japan Self-Defense Force officers stationed at Camp Zama served as guides and interpreters.
The cadets said they also enjoyed the day they spent with Japanese National Defense Academy cadets. “I’m really surprised how similar we are,” Lewis said.
“Cadets are cadets,” Howald added.
While the people and Mount Fuji topped the list of what cadets enjoyed the most, Japanese cuisine fell short.
“There’s rice everywhere,” Lewis said. “I need American food.”