“What Is Your Fuel?”: Internalizing The Motivation To Succeed At West Point

Chloe Schretzman


Chloe Schretzman grew up in an Army family and lived in eight different locations while growing up. In 2018, she raised her right hand and joined the Class of 2022. Her mother had attended the Academy, and her father (USMA 89), brother (USMA 14), and sister (USMA 15) had all graduated from West Point. She chose to major in Operations Research because personal mentorship gave her the sense that the Math Department was an extended family, and she liked the ordered nature of solving problems. Although she admits to struggling with some of the coursework, she feels a great deal of personal satisfaction when she masters the assignments. She feels that she has struggled to find her way militarily during Yearling Year, but CLD (Cadet Leader Development) and being an academic year Squad Leader has helped her develop an empathetic leadership style. Physically, she admits she was not in peak performance entering Beast, but hard work and dedication have enabled her to turn a C+ grade on the IOCT (Indoor Obstacle Course Test) into earning a tab for outstanding performance in event. During her spring semester of her Yearling year, she was on leave in Florida when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and she returned home to Philadelphia to live with her parents. She notes that completing that semester was a challenge because taking classes remotely “changes how you learn,” and she missed the human contact, but felt fortunate that she already knew all of her professors personally from the first half of the semester. Her first semester of Cow year has been more difficult, because all of her classes are online, and they lack the personal interaction. While living in Philadelphia, she did not feel safe in the city once the riots started, but she feels that she missed out by not joining the peaceful protests to make her voice heard. In this interview, she talks about her upbringing, including numerous leadership lessons from her dad, her decision to attend West Point, and the role the Summer Leaders Experience played in solidifying her decision. She reflects on her progress academically, militarily, and physically, highlighting specific stories throughout her Plebe, Yearling, and Cow years. She describes surviving the remote semester during the COVID pandemic in Philadelphia. Near the end of the interview, she explains what West Point means to her, and provides advice to future Cadets. Finally, she discusses her dad’s battle against ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), recalling how his motivation and example have inspired her over the years.


topics Leadership Teamwork Military Family West Point History Camaraderie COVID-19
interviewer David Siry
date 10 December 2020


name Chloe Schretzman
institution USMA
graduation year 2022