Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1976

Female cadets enrolled at West Point

For the first time in history, women are enrolled into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. On May 28, 1980, 62 of these female cadets graduated and were commissioned as second lieutenants.

The United States Military Academy–the first military school in America–was founded by Congress in 1802 for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Established at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.

Located on the high west bank of New York’s Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General Benedict Arnold, the commander of the fort, agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for 6,000 English pounds. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into British hands, and Arnold fled to the British for protection.

Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in Congressional action to expand the academy’s facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer–later known as the “father of West Point”–and the school became one of the nation’s finest sources of civil engineers. During the Mexican-American War, West Point graduates filled the leading ranks of the victorious U.S. forces, and with the outbreak of the Civil War former West Point classmates regretfully lined up against one another in the defense of their native states.

In 1870, the first African American cadet was admitted into the U.S. Military Academy, and in 1976, the first female cadets. The academy is now under the general direction and supervision of the department of the U.S. Army and has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Building of Hoover Dam begins

On this day in 1930, construction of the Hoover Dam begins. Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest manmade structures in the world. Although the dam would take only ...read more

Jim Thorpe begins Olympic triathlon

On this day in 1912, Jim Thorpe wins the pentathlon at the fifth modern Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. At the time, Thorpe, a Native American who attended Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian School, was only beginning to establish his reputation as the greatest all-around athlete in ...read more

Warren Earp killed in Arizona

Warren Earp, the youngest of the famous clan of gun fighting brothers, is murdered in an Arizona saloon. Nicholas and Virginia Earp raised a family of five sons and four daughters on a series of farms in Illinois and Iowa. Three of the Earps’ sons grew up to win lasting infamy. ...read more