West Point As The Foundation Of A “Considerable Life”: Over Four Decades As An Army Officer And Teacher

Pat C. Hoy II


Pat Hoy spent much of his childhood in a single-parent household in a small Arkansas town, where his mom managed the local bus station. Both of his older half-brothers served in World War II; one was lost over Europe when his B-26 bomber went down. He learned about West Point from an older boy in his town who attended the academy but did not graduate. Pat attended Marion Military Institute in Marion, Alabama, prior to reporting to the Military Academy in 1957, where he found that the year at Marion made much of Plebe year redundant. His favorite academic subjects were math, engineering, and English (which he admitted made for a strange combination). He credited his TAC (Harold DeMoya USMA ’46) for giving him great latitude to develop as a leader, which served him well as company commander during his Firstie year. After choosing Artillery as his branch (“it seemed like the smart branch”), his first duty station took him to a Nike missile site in Lorton, Virginia, where he experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis. His later operational assignments took him to Korea, Fort Sill, and Vietnam. Central to his long career were several different assignments back at USMA, where he worked in both the Office of the Dean and the Department of English. He witnessed a number of significant events while stationed at West Point, such as the aftermath of the 1976 honor scandal and the arrival of the first women cadets in the summer of 1976. He remained at the Academy until his retirement in 1989, after which he continued teaching writing at Harvard and NYU for more than two decades. In this interview Pat talks about his humble upbringing and his time at Marion and West Point. He also highlights a number of operational and academic experiences over a 28-year Army career and another 24 years in civilian academia. Pat concludes with some thoughts about how West Point provided the foundation for the rest of his professional life.


conflicts Cold War Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie West Point History Cuban Missile Crisis USMA 1961
interviewer Rick Black
date 29 January 2022


name Pat C. Hoy II
institution USMA
graduation year 1961
service Artillery
unit 1st BN, 71st Artillery; 1st Cavalry Division; 2nd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery; Department of English & Philosophy; 3rd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery; Office of the Dean; Department of English & Philosophy
specialty Department of English and Philosophy
service dates 1961 1989