Elburn cadet spreads word about West Point

By on April 23, 2009

After May 23 graduation, Nick Dieter will train for Army platoon leadership
by Martha Quetsch
West Point Cadet Nick Dieter of Elburn is among a select few students responsible for representing the military academy during visits to high schools nationwide.

In mid-March, Dieter traveled home a few days before spring break to participate in the Cadet Public Relations Council (CPRC).

While in the area, the 22-year-old visited his alma mater, Marmion Academy in Aurora, along with Wheaton Academy and Geneva and West Chicago high schools.

At the schools, Dieter provided encouragement and information to students interested in West Point, ROTC, the other service academies or any of the armed forces.

“It is helpful for prospective students to talk with someone who was in their shoes only four years ago as I was,” said Dieter, a 2005 Marmion graduate and former Kaneland Middle School student.

“When I was in high school, I wanted to know as much about West Point as I could, and when I got the chance to talk to cadets, I took full advantage of those opportunities,” Dieter said. “Coming to West Point is a big commitment, and I wanted to know as much about my future as a I could. Now that I am a cadet, I feel it is my obligation and duty to give students who are interested the answers to any questions they might have.”

Dieter and other CPRC cadets have an opportunity to visit their hometowns before Thanksgiving, spring and summer leaves to spread the word about the United States Military Academy.

During his local school visits, Dieter talked to about 10 prospective candidates, and about 30 students interested in the armed forces in general, he said.

At Marmion, Dieter talked to students during both the junior/senior and sophomore/freshmen lunch periods, said Marmion Director of College Guidance Dan Thorpe.

“We introduced him, and kids on their own went up to ask Nick questions. He is very knowledgeable about West Point,” Thorpe said.

Dieter lets high school students know that attending a military academy after high school is quite different than going to a regular college or university.

“I try and give them an unbiased representation of what life is like at a military academy or in the military, i.e. it is not always the most glorious lifestyle and it is definitely not easy,” Dieter said.

Dieter tells students that military academies have no frat parties and have no tolerance for underage drinking. Cadets have mandatory formation meals at least twice a day during the week, mandatory uniforms, mandatory athletics, mandatory class, and mandatory responsibilities.

“I am always encouraged by students who are still interested when you start listing off many of the hardships that are presented by attending a military academy,” Dieter said.

Marmion hosts the CPRC visits each year for students interested in finding out about military careers. Currently, 12 Marmion graduates currently are enrolled in military academies, Thorpe said.

West Point selects its CPRC cadets carefully, since they represent the academy and the military. They must be in good standing militarily, physically and academically to participate.

Academically, Dieter has maintained above a 3.6 grade point average every semester, so he has been on the Dean’s List for each of the seven semesters he has been at West Point. He has taken extra classes and is doing an independent study this semester for the honors program.

At West Point, Dieter is majoring in honors-level geospatial information in the Geography and Environmental Engineering Department.

In his military training, Dieter is in company D-2 and has served as a team leader, squad leader, military development sergeant, platoon leader and regimental S-4. He was on the drill team for his first two years at West Point, which took up the majority of his time, he said.

Also an athlete, Dieter played company athletics to include floor hockey and tackle football. His company’s football team won the Brigade Championship last year, and was the Regimental Champion last fall.

In addition to the CPRC, Dieter belongs to several organizations at West Point. He is a member of the West Point Chapter of the Knights of Columbus, the Gamma Theta Upsilon International Honor Society, the Golden Key International Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.

Last summer, he served as an assistant Platoon Leader with a regular Army Infantry unit at Fort Bragg, N.C.; conducted applied research collecting soil samples, terrain data, and GPS coordinates of test facilities at the Cold Regions Test Center at Fort Greeley, Alaska; and did an internship working in the Defense Solutions department at the Environmental Science Research Institute.

What’s next for the cadet?
Nick Dieter will graduate from West Point on May 23 and will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army the same day. After a short summer leave, he will go to Fort Benning, Ga., to complete the Basic Officer Leader’s Course, the Infantry Officer Leader’s Course, Jump School and Airborne School. After completing all of that training, he will go to his first duty station with a light infantry unit to serve as a Combat Platoon Leader at Fort Campbell, Ken.