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The Presidential Pardon at West Point

When I was a freshman, my best friend from high school came to the Academy to visit because we weren’t allowed to leave. It was late fall and he had brought some booze with him. He and I plus another Cadet went out to one of the soccer fields and got drunk, which was against the rules obviously. My classmate and I stumbled back to the barracks and were caught by an upperclassman, big mistake! The punishment for being drunk was what they called a 25-66-3.

This consisted of 25 demerits (you were only allowed around 35 I think for the entire year), 66-hours of walking punishment tours in full uniform with your weapon marching back and forth every weekend until you completed the 66-hours, and 3-months of weekend confinement to your room. About a week later, President Nixon came to visit the Academy and anytime any Head of State came to the Academy they had the ability to grant amnesty. So, there we are, 4000 cadets in the mess hall with the President and his people. The Cadet Adjutant gets up, introduces the President, and he gives his speech. Now, typically, at the end of the speech is when the President grants amnesty. Instead, the President finishes his speech and sits down.

All you heard was a 4000 person collective groan. The mic was still on and we heard the Adjutant say, “Mr. President, did you forget something?”, the President says, “Oh, Oh yeah….Publish the Order!”. The place erupted. I jumped up, everyone is cheering and yelling, and I run up to the President as he was leaving and grab his hand saying, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”. His Secret Service Agents ushered me away. But I was so happy! The President said, “Your welcome”

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