A Sky-Diving Cellist Aviator from the Virgin Islands

Dion Perinon


2LT Dion Perinon was born in Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands. His parents later enlisted in the Army, both in Quartermaster specialties. His mother served in the Army Reserve and his father is a parachute rigger and chief warrant officer stationed in Japan. Dion has two older brothers, one of whom is a 1LT commissioned through the ROTC program at Florida A&M University. Dion is an accomplished cellist who thought about music school, but he ultimately decided to attend West Point. During his 3rd Class year, he considered music school again, but once again opted to remain at the Academy. He took advantage of opportunities to grow and learn at West Point, joining the parachute team, attending Airborne School and Military Freefall Parachute School (HALO), and serving as a company 1SG, Beast Commander, and 4th Regiment Commander. He played cello with the Glee Club, the USMA Band, and the Cadet Strings Orchestra. He even played for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He has branched aviation, and will attend BOLC and flight school at Fort Rucker. In this interview, 2LT Perinon shares stories of growing up in a military family. He recalls having no clear understanding of what West Point was until after he arrived on R-Day. His father only knew of West Point by reputation, and didn’t think himself important enough to have a son at the Academy. Dion talks about the value of failure on the path to success. He remembers leading his regiment after the death of a cadet, losing a classmate to a training accident at CLDT, and befriending the parents of yet another cadet who died in an accident on post. He addresses the importance of music in his life, and explains how he was able to continue to pursue his passion of playing cello, even while in the field as a New Cadet in Beast Barracks. He also discusses spending the last few months of his cadet career away from West Point due to the Coronavirus pandemic, commissioning before graduation, and then returning to West Point for graduation while the nation grapples with the legacy and reality of racism.


name Dion Perinon
institution USMA
graduation year 2020
service Aviation
specialty Cello