WEST POINT, N.Y. — Brothers Noah, Sumner and Cole Ogrydziak entered West Point's grueling world of 6:30 a.m. reveille, 60-pound packs and rigorous course loads on the same day four years ago. The three cadets are now preparing to fling their caps together at graduation this month, marking a rare fraternal trifecta at this storied academy.
The band of brothers from Nederland, Texas, will graduate with the U.S. Military Academy's Class of 2017 on May 27. The first duty stations for the future Army officers are still being worked out, but it's clear to the brothers that their years of being just a short march from one another are numbered.
"It's kind of surreal to think that, 'Hey, all three of us actually made it here and we're kind of living our dreams, doing what we want to do,'" Sumner said. "And soon enough ... we'll be going off to our own separate duty stations."
Cole and Sumner are 21-year-old twins. They are not identical but share the steady posture, close-cropped hair and old-school courtesy common among cadets. Older brother Noah just turned 23 and spent a year at West Point's prep school before entering the academy along with the twins on July 1, 2013.
Cole compares their West Point experience to having "automatic friends." They got used to snowy northeastern winters together, learned how to stand in formation and maneuver in the field. They share the nickname "O.G.," which is easier for fellow cadets to say than Ogrydziak (pronounced oh-GREE'-zee-ak).
But the Ogrydziaks are in different regiments and take different classes. They are three in a sea of 4,400 gray-clad cadets walking briskly among the imposing stone buildings here. Brotherly connections come when Cole asks Noah for help with a computer course or they share a pizza on the weekend.
"Every so often I'll see them during the day. But we'll try to eat dinner at nights together, and especially on weekends we'll get together and watch a movie. That's always pretty fun," Noah said.
The last time three siblings graduated West Point together was 1985, when twins Rose and Anne Forrester became officers at the same time as their older brother, John. It's not clear how many other times three siblings have graduated together since the academy was established in 1802.