Authenticity Without Compromise: Honing Leadership Skills At West Point

Benjamin Fernquist


Ben Fernquist grew up in a diverse community in West Bloomfield, Michigan, with his parents and his two older brothers. A multi-sport athlete, Ben and his brothers were also Boy Scouts. Shabbat dinner on Friday evenings was an important part of his family’s religious life. When both of his brothers chose to attend West Point (Dan ’16 and Josh ’19), Ben was certain that he was not going to attend the Academy. After some introspection, however, he decided to follow in their footsteps. Beast Barracks was not a physical challenge for Ben. He understood that it was meant to be a mental and emotional challenge, and he prepared accordingly. He selected Environmental Engineering for his major because of an interest in sustainability and renewable energy. He has enjoyed his military training at the Academy, serving as a Second Detail Beast Squad Leader and completing Air Assault School. He remains active in extracurricular activities, including the Hillel Club, the Scoutmaster’s Council, West Point E-sports, and Ultimate Frisbee, noting that West Point is what a Cadet makes of it. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, Ben was back home for Spring Break, and he remained at home with his parents during the lockdown semester. Although he had his computer with him, he did not have his books, but professors compensated by scanning assignments and posting them online. Ben branched Field Artillery and is looking forward to posting to 1st Brigade at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In this interview, Ben talks about his family, following his brothers to the Military Academy, his West Point experiences, and his plans for the future. He highlights the different opportunities he has taken advantage of as a Cadet, and explains how they have shaped his time at the Academy. Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to him.


topics West Point History Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Jewish Military Experience Military Family COVID-19
interviewer David Siry
date 25 February 2021


name Benjamin Fernquist
institution USMA
graduation year 2021
service Field Artillery
unit 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
service dates 2021