By John Van Winkle
Academy Public Affairs
Seniors got two surprises last weekend with the 100s night tradition.
The Academy’s 100s Night tradition marks the Friday closest to 100 calendar days from graduation, when senior cadets first find out where they will be assigned after graduation. That same night, the freshman cadets traditionally unleash their creativity to redesign the firsties’ rooms.
Seniors cadets – aka firsties – listened to a presentation by retired Gen. Charlie Holland, a former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, during the “100s Night” ceremony here Feb. 12. After his presentation, the cadets gathered together by squadron to learn where they would be stationed after they finished technical training.
The second surprise for the firsties came courtesy of the freshman cadets in their respective squadrons, as the freshmen delivered “extreme dorm makeovers” to senior cadets in the late hours of Feb. 12 as part of 100s Night.
Some were mild. One room in Cadet Squadorn 32 was turned into a “princess room,” complete with a mural and an aluminum foil-coated chandelier. Freshmen filled the room of Cadets 1st Class Sean Quintana and Joshua Bouquio with balloons.
“I was very surprised when I opened my door when I got back from the weekend,” Cadet Quintana said. “I had to come back on Sunday night because I had to catch a bus for a jump at 4:45 a.m. the next morning. I got back at around 11 p.m. expecting to go straight to bed. Instead, I had to spend 30 minutes popping enough balloons to clear off my bed and then swim through the rest of the balloons to get to the uniforms I would need the next morning.”
Cadet Quintana, the starting tight end for the 2009 Falcon football team, was a bit apprehensive about what could happen to his room after 100s Night.
“I did hear a rumor that they were going to try to move everything in my room to the football stadium, but luckily they changed their minds,” he said.
Tapping into three years of seeing 100s Night unfold, Cadet Quintana knew that providing snacks or entertainment for doolies was one way to mitigate the damage.
“We left them $20.10 to get pizza if they wanted and also left them more snacks for the weekend, so maybe that had some sway on the nice decoration,” he said.
The firsties’ reputations were a factor in the redesigns. For example, Cadet Wing Instruction 36-3501 is the Cadet Sight Picture, which sets the standards for cadet uniform wear, dormitory standards and a host of other cadet activities, in effect becoming the ‘how-to’ book on cadet life. In CS 29, Cadet 1st Class Jason Sewell is known for his in-depth knowledge of the Cadet Sight Picture, so Cadet 4th Class Jakob Fischer divided Cadet Sewell’s room with a wall of pages from the Cadet Sight picture and covered the firstie’s living area.
When it comes to inspections, the guru of dorm inspections in Cadet Group 3 is Cadet 1st Class Jenna Lindquist, CG 3’s director of standardization and evaluation.
“We had her during (Basic Cadet Training),” said Cadet 4th Class Katie Danno from CS 30. “She was in charge of checking to see how clean our rooms were, and she would always find something.”
So a team of doolies took her inspection-order dorm room to the next level, with a few miles of plastic wrap, mummifying her bed and clothing items. They also left an abundance of cleaning supplies, as the firstie was known for promoting hygenie following the H1N1 influenza outbreak during BCT.
“I had an idea that my room was going to get ‘wrapped,’ because I do have a reputation for being clean and somewhat fearful of germs (depending on who you ask), so the theme was appropriate,” Cadet Lindquist said. “I’m just relieved that it took very little time for me to clean up my room.”
Some were more diabolical.
Cadet 4th Class David Jorgenson orchestrated the total relocation of Cadet 1st Class Bryan Holtz’s living area from his dorm room in CS 07 to a stairwell in the southwest corner of Vandenberg Hall – setting up a mattress, bedding, computer, chair, table, books and uniforms into a space less than three feet high.
Others were creative but less sinister. Back in CS 32, Cadets 4th Class Lindsay Cordero and Kelly O’Grady led an all-star team of the squad’s Class of 2013 into a radical remake of the Cadets 1st Class Brent Killion’s and Peter Kaszynski’s room. The team of freshmen turned the firsties’ clothes and bedding into a giant disco ball and decorated a cardboard cutout with one of the firsties’ suits.
Other supplies for 100s Night mischief included Sakrete, plywood, wading pools and 1.5 tons of sand. A bag of birdseed sat next to a soda machine near one room – we didn’t ask.
In CS 36, Cadets 4th Class Michael Winstead and Ryan Thompson transformed Cadets 1st Class Benjamin Brice’s and Michael Langley’s room into a labyrinth. Cadet Winstead drew up a diagram of how to arrange the trunks. They adjusted the overall design as they went along, including “little prizes” at the dead ends.
“They’re bigger guys, and we think it would be really funny to watch them crawl through it,” Cadet Thompson said. “These (trunks) are not empty; they’re pretty big boxes on the inside. You’d be surprised how much you can get into them.”
Cadet 4th Class Corey Swartz of Cadet Squadron 11 tapped into historical knowledge to unleash an unforgettable 100s Night experience on the room of Cadets 1st Class Michael Skidmore and William Boyd. The door was removed, and in its place were two sheets of half-inch plywood bolted together. The freshmen then poured about 500 pounds of sand and other materials into the space between the plywood boards, Cadet Swartz said. Inside, the freshmen had filled the firsties’ room with more than 800 balloons containing glitter, flour and sugar.
“There’s a huge smiley face in the middle of the floor made of flour,” Cadet Swartz said.
Cadet Swartz said he tapped into the knowledge of “a graduate of this fine institution,” but that the room was mostly his idea.
“We thought about putting water balloons in there, but we thought that might be a bit much,” he added.