HJ/EDApril 3, 2006

West Point gallery will showcase local cadet's photos

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

Cadet Matt Bebo’s spring break was over as he headed back to New York from Howard Lake for the last time. After four years attending school at West Point, he will be graduating, Saturday, May 27, as an Army 2nd lieutenant.

Besides planning for his upcoming graduation, Bebo, an amateur photographer, has been given the opportunity to display 25 to 30 of his favorite photos in a gallery in Eisenhower Hall, on the post at West Point, beginning March 31. The pictures will show for approximately three weeks.

His photos will consist of landscapes, people, architecture, and sports; pictures that Bebo has taken in Washington D.C., Fort Lewis, Wash., and around Winsted.

In the past, as far as Bebo knows, cadets have not had the opportunity to display art at this gallery in Eisenhower Hall. It was reserved for professional artists only.

Bebo will be sharing this chance to display his pictures with two other seniors and one sophomore. “It is our chance to leave our mark on West Point. We are expecting a good turnout, including some high-ranking generals. They will see another side of us cadets. Some of the cadets are very artistic and that does not get as much publicity,” he said.

Bebo stumbled on photography and feels it is something that will always be part of his life. At the very least, a hobby, he said. His interest started when an ex-roommate moved to Alaska and sent Matt some of his pictures. “They were beautiful,” Bebo said.

That was about a year ago. Bebo bought a camera and, in September, had the opportunity to start taking pictures for the Howitzer, the official West Point yearbook.

Working for the yearbook has given him a chance to see a lot of the different events at West Point.

One weekend, he and one of his classmates were sent to Washington D.C. to take pictures of West Point’s soccer team for the yearbook.

Another event that stands out in Bebo’s memory as “amazing” is when he and his buddy were able to take pictures standing on the field during the Army/Navy football game last December.

Currently, Bebo only has one-half semester of classes left and then he will be leaving West Point to start the next phase of his Army career.

He will graduate with five years of active duty in the Army ahead of him, and three years of reserve.

There were 1,200 cadets in his class when he started in 2002. Of those, only 890 cadets will actually graduate from West Point in May.

Chip Guggemos, Winsted resident, family friend, and also a West Point graduate, said of Bebo’s upcoming graduation, “I am very excited for Matt. The job that Matt is going into – you can’t get a job more challenging or more responsible. I believe that West Point is one of America’s greatest treasures and continues to transform itself to produce leaders for the future.”

Following his graduation in May, Bebo will return to Minnesota for a month, where he will stay with his parents Stan and Sue Bebo of Howard Lake. He has many relatives living close by and will get to spend time with them, as well as a chance to see some of his 2002 classmates from Holy Trinity High School.

His younger sister, Laura, also lives at home with their parents. She will graduate from Holy Trinity High School the day before Matt graduates from West Point. Bebo’s older brother, Ryan, lives in Winsted, and his younger brother, Steve, is also in the Army, currently stationed in Iraq.

After his month break in June, Bebo will head to Fort Benning, Ga and an officer training leadership course for 18 weeks.

Then, following his officer training leadership course, he will be trained in mechanized infantry (armored vehicles), and participate in patrol raids. Ranger school will follow, requiring strenuous field training and long patrols.

Approximately one year from June, Bebo will then be stationed in Fort Riley, Kan., where he will be in charge of a platoon of about 35 soldiers.

When Bebo was asked if he would make a career out of the Army, he said, “I will just take it one step at a time. I can’t make up my mind right now. I have no idea what this experience is going to be like.”

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