“What An American Soldier Should Be”: Treating Others With Dignity And Respect

Zoe Kreitenberg


Zoe Kreitenberg grew up in Orange County, California, with her parents and her brother. Her mother is a civil rights lawyer, and her father is an orthopedic surgeon. She considers her family “very Jewish,” and had visited Israel three times by the time West Point recruited her for volleyball. Her family heritage played a role in the person she became; her grandparents were Czech Holocaust survivors. Her grandmother, her hero, survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen as a teenager. After WWII, they came to the United States seeking the “American Dream.” When Zoe came to West Point, she faced the challenge of balancing academics with a Corps Squad schedule, and she found the military training difficult but rewarding. Throughout her journey, she found mentors who helped her along the way. Her Firstie (Senior) year, she was appointed the Brigade Respect Executive Officer, a job she considers the “most important thing” she’s done at West Point. In that role, she developed “Faces of West Point,” modeled on “Humans of New York,” that highlights the diversity of those around the Academy. She was responsible for implementing the Cadet Character Development Program (CCDP) to help the 4,000+ Cadets wrestle with respect issues. She also worked closely with the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic, and she interned with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. At the end of this interview, she talks about what West Point means to her.


name Zoe Kreitenberg
institution USMA
graduation year 2016
service Air Defense
unit 3-43 Air Defense
service dates 2016