Qatar’s flag will adorn the uniform of a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point for the first time ever with Hamad Victor Agha joining the institution soon.
The entry of the 20-year-old Agha to the oldest of the five US service academies will make him the first Qatari and arguably the first Arab national accepted at West Point.
Renowned as the world’s premier leader development institution, West Point accomplishes its mission by developing cadets intellectually, physically, militarily, ethically, spiritually, and socially.
The admission is extremely competitive and candidates are evaluated based on academic, physical and leadership potential.
“Qatar has been trying to enter the academy for the last seven years,” said Agha. “My acceptance is a credit for Qatar. One has to be ranked in the top 15 from hundreds of international applicants to be accepted to the school and this makes my acceptance all the more honourable,” he told The Peninsula.
Agha’s efforts to enter West Point began during his days at Qatar Leadership Academy (QLA), a unique learning institution shaping leaders in the country.
In a partnership between Qatar Foundation and the Qatar Armed Forces, QLA combines academic and athletic education with ethics and leadership training, so that graduates leave the school with scholastic excellence and superior personal development.
“QLA taught me all the basics. The studies there had a huge impact on my personality and helped me achieve what no other Arabs in the region have been able to do till date. After four years of striving I got what I wanted despite the fact that no Arab has been accepted at the academy,” said Hamad Victor Agha.
During his days at QLA, he had served as the first battalion commander for two years and became the first officer there. He was also honoured to get a sword gift from the General of the Qatari Army three years ago.
After his graduation from QLA he had approached the US Embassy here which put him for military training at Valley Forge Millitary Academy and College (VFMAC). “It was there that I had to do the application side of all the basics learned at QLA. When I completed my course at VFMAC, the President of the school himself stated that I was among the top students of the school,” he said.
With his resume which he states “the strongest one can ever see,” he applied for the West Point and after much deliberations, was accepted.
“Most of the Arabs at West Point now have Arab origins. They must be holding US passports. Qatar’s flag will be the first from the GCC to be worn as a badge on the uniform. It was a dream to get accepted at the West Point, now it’s a bigger responsibility. If I fail, it means I fail Qatar.”
Agha is heading for a basic training course in two weeks. “I have heard it is the hardest basic training programme in the world, but I am sure I will succeed the six-week training. Even though QLA has given me the training, I know it is going to be manifolds harder. I will make sure that I return holding Qatari flag high and making the country proud,” he said.
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