The Class of 9/11

An intimate look at how the country's most storied military academy is steeling its students for war

ANDREW LICHTENSTEIN / CORBIS FOR TIME

WAR GAMES: Cadets under Zielinski's lead face off against teams from Britain's elite Sandhurst Academy

It's Thursday night at the Firstie Club, West Point's campus bar for seniors, and the cadets' dress code is college casual. For once, the shoes aren't shiny, nobody's wearing a hat with a plume. Instead, they're in flip-flops, board shorts or jeans, baseball hats or visors, bead necklaces purchased on spring break. But still they give themselves away at every turn. They're like undercover cops infiltrating a frat party. Their shoulders are a bit too square. They don't slouch. They plow efficiently through dishes of peanuts, eyes darting about the room, scanning for friends as they would targets on the practice...

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