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Rename the Intramural Pool (the IM Pool) at West Point. Rename it “Hallett Pool.”

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The “Intramural Pool” should be named “Hallett Pool” as a tribute to Captain John L. Hallett III’s service and sacrifice for the nation. Captain Hallett was the embodiment of the mission of the United States Military Academy.  As both a Cadet and an Army Officer, Hallett always inspired those around him, and his legacy continues to inspire others, in both military and civilian roles, to lead lives dedicated to the core values of West Point: Duty, Honor, Country.

Everything at West Point has a purpose, meaning, significance, and its cumulative effect develops the most tenacious leaders in the world. West Point building names constantly remind cadets of the legacy they are being asked to uphold and of the vast responsibilities and uncertain future following graduation and as leaders of the Army. Though our Army is filled with such men and women, Captain Hallett is the perfect role model for those who share a love for aquatics activities. As a four-year water polo starter, Captain Hallett continually demonstrated the physical and mental toughness required to lead the team to victory. His cow year he was voted to be the junior captain and his passion for the sport and unyielding commitment led him to train the team in Delafield Pond while the current pool was being constructed. He would not let challenges stand in the way of achieving victory; even if that meant training outside in cold weather in an unheated body of water. His desire to challenge himself in the pool didn’t stop at water polo; he trained even harder to earn the Combat Diver badge. As a testament to his example, hard work, and skill in achieving aquatic prowess, there is no more fitting honor than to rename the Intramural Pool: “Hallett Pool”.

1) West Point is a living monument for those that have fought for and died for the defense of the United States.  As the oldest continuously occupied military post in America, West Point honors battles won and graduates lost, memorialized through plaques, statues, monuments, and Academy structures named after notable graduates.

2) “Intramural Pool” is the official name of one of three swimming structures that is part of the Arvin Cadet Physical Development Complex (gymnasium). Crandall Pool, used primarily by the Army Swimming and Diving Team, is named in honor of Major Robert W. Crandall (West Point class of 1939) who gave his life in the final weeks of WWII and earned the Distinguished Service Cross for valor. The second pool is named the Combat Water Survival Lab for its unique capabilities to put cadets through water stressors. However, the Intramural Pool name holds no special meaning for those cadets who trained there. “Intramural Pool” is a 8,000 square foot, continuous 6 foot 7 inch depth, 25 meter by 25 yard swimming pool that is used for 4th class aquatics instruction, company athletics, the triathlon team and is the home of the West Point Water Polo Team. Water polo championship plaques can be viewed on the pool deck. Additional trophies and awards are in the water polo awards case down the hall from the pool. Visitors to the pool are likely to encounter a water polo player on the pool deck or in the water at any time as the cadets often go to the pool for extra training in addition to their daily practices.

3) West Point Water Polo Club (WPWPC) practices in “Intramural Pool” during the entire academic year (spanning from August through May) daily, and when appropriate, twice daily.  WPWC is a member of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), the national water polo governing body, who organizes a National Club Championship tournament every fall.

4) WPWPC hosts in “Intramural Pool” and Crandall Pool at least three (3) water polo tournaments a year: a New York Division Collegiate Water Polo Association tournament during the fall, an alumni versus cadets scrimmage during homecoming and reunion weekend, and in the spring the annual Army Memorial Water Polo Tournament (formerly called the “Captain John Hallett III Memorial Tournament” and held since 2010). WPWPC also hosts the New York Division Collegiate Water Polo championship on a rotational basis.  WPWPC has the opportunity to bid for hosting the Collegiate Water Polo National Championship event in 2019.

In 2013 WPWPC hosted the largest aquatic event at West Point since the 1972 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship, The 4th Annual Captain John Hallett III Memorial Tournament.  The 2013 event took place in three pools, had nineteen teams competing, with over 200 athletes in attendance.  Prior to the start of the competition all athletes and spectators gathered in Crandall Pool to remember Captain Hallett and other service men and women who have given their lives in the defense of our nation.  Three teams came from The United States Naval Academy, The United States Coast Guard Academy and Merchant Marine Academy also sent teams to participate.  All in attendance came to Honor Captain Hallett and remember him with a fitting tribute, water polo.

5) Captain John Hallett was an inspirational leader, personifying the tenants of the Academy.  Captain Hallett was a cadet that excelled in aquatics, and served in leadership roles as captain of the Water Polo team and in preparing junior classes to attend scuba school.  His leadership went beyond the physical and military requirements.  

6) Captain Hallett was a 4-year starter of the water polo team, and served as team captain his senior year. As a Firstie, Captain Hallett began a fundraising effort to ensure funding for WPWC when costs almost dissolved WPWC. Captain Hallett’s legacy not only saved the WPWC program, but also started recurring alumni fundraising drives and alumni games, which created a connection between alumni and WPWC, providing support and mentorship to the program. His efforts led to the water polo program’s receipt of The Will and Denise Weathersby for Water Polo Endowment. That endowment along with other donations have created the budget that makes it possible for the water polo program to continue to exist. 

7) Captain Hallett earned the coveted Combat Diver Qualification Badge (CDQC, now called Special Operations Diver).  Upon returning to West Point, Captain Hallett was instrumental in training and preparing the next two classes to attend the grueling military school.  To help with training the CDQC candidates Hallett would spend an additional two hours per night, after water polo practice, on the pool deck.  This was all in addition to the rigorous academic course load, military duties, and physical requirements of West Point.

8) Captain Hallett served in numerous leadership roles with increasing roles of responsibility.  Captain Hallett served as a rifle platoon leader, scout platoon leader, company executive officer, and all culminating into commanding a Stryker Infantry Company.  Captain Hallett trained, deployed, and led A Company, 1-17 IN in combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

9) Captain Hallett deployed both to Iraq and Afghanistan.  In Iraq, Captain Hallett served in the Transition of Iraq and Iraqi Governance campaigns.  In Afghanistan, Captain Hallett supported the Consolidation II campaign.  Captain Hallett died August 25, 2009 in Shah Wali Kot, southern Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device while on a mission to assist a village suffering from a cholera outbreak. He was assigned as company commander for A Company, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington.  

10) Captain Hallett’s legacy continues around the nation and the world.  At Fort Benning, Fort Lewis, and West Point (At West Point in Mahan Hall and the water polo trophy case) there are photos and plaques honoring him.  His inspiration is felt daily by cadets studying engineering, water polo players, the soldiers at 1-17IN and by the runners of “wear blue: run to remember”.  wear blue is an organization which strives tobuild a running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military; to act as a support network, serve as a living memorial, and bridge the gap between the military and community. wear blue is a powerful network of the American active duty military, their families, veterans, wounded warriors, Gold Star families, and supportive community members. Currently there are roughly 6,000 members in the organization.

Quote from Jessica Alley, Interim Executive Director/Director of Merchandise  at wear blue: run to remember:

“Without John's sacrifice for our nation and his wife's tireless efforts to honor his legacy, wear blue would not exist.  Because it exists, lives are changed.”

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