West Point Military Academy, founded in 1947, is an elite military academy reserved for the strongest people both mentally and physically. West Point requires good grades, high mental and physical standards, and a desire to serve others.
West Point sees thousands of students every year, but it is not very often that you see a trio of siblings get accepted and graduate from West Point. West Point has a 10% acceptance rate, which makes it hard for West Point to become a family tradition.
Yet three Muscatine brothers, Kevin, Conor, and Garrett Dolan, have all been accepted into West Point, and Kevin and Conor have graduated. Kevin graduated with the class of 2017, Conor graduated with the class of 2011, and Garrett will graduate with the class of 2021.
“I remember telling my 5th grade teacher I was going to go to West Point,” says Kevin.
West Point is meant to build leaders of character, athleticism, and ultimately people who want to serve. This isn’t like any other college experience. It’s late nights and early mornings, wearing uniforms, and gathering for two formations a day. Everyone at West Point is an active duty service member, giving everyone a goal and purpose.
“You always know what’s coming next,” says Conor.
With Conor and Garrett growing up seeing their oldest brother go to West Point, they knew it was what they wanted to do. Conor knew in 6th grade he wanted to go to West Point. Garrett had been exposed to West Point for ten years, making him want to follow in his brothers’ footsteps.
“It shows how similar we are, but we all saw our own purpose,” says Garrett.
Kevin and Garrett were both accepted on their first try, while Conor was not accepted his first time applying. He took a year off and enlisted in the Iowa National Guard, where he was recommended to West Point by Tim Orr and then accepted the second time. Although not being accepted his first time around was a difficult trial for Conor, it gave him new experiences and showed him that West Point was what he really wanted, making him determined not to give up.
As unique as it was for the three brothers to all be accepted, they also had some similar experiences. While they were never all attending at the same times, out of the 16 branches, Kevin and Conor both happened to be in the same branch and post. They were both infantry officers and their post was in Fort Hood, Texas.
Garrett and Conor both participated in the Mule Team. The Mule Team involves taking care of the school’s Mascot, a real mule. Duties include cleaning, riding, and cleaning up after the mule.
With Conor graduating right before Garrett started, Garrett is able to be led by the students that his older brother led.
“It’s good knowing that the people I took care of are now going to take care of my little brother,” says Conor.
The Dolans are one of a kind to accomplish what they have as brothers. As Garrett is just starting his West Point experiences, he and his brothers will always share the common bond of being one of very few who have been accepted to West Point.