U of D Jesuit grad takes faith to highest levels of cadet service at West Point

Second Lieutenant David Bindon, a 2015 graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, graduated this spring from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In addition to being named “first captain,” the highest cadet rank and leader of the academy's 4,400-member Corps of Cadet, Bindon also finished as class valedictorian, one of only 13 cadets since 1872 to achieve both honors. (Photos courtesy of Bindon family)

2nd Lt. David Bindon graduated at the top of his class at U.S. Military Academy, leading 4,400 cadets as 'first captain'

DETROIT — West Point’s Second Lieutenant David Bindon understands the importance of putting God first. 

“Especially at a place like West Point, it’s very demanding, and you make sure that when you prioritize your life that your faith is important to prioritize,” said Bindon, a 2015 University of Detroit Jesuit High School graduate. 

At West Point, Bindon has valued building a community of students who attend Mass at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel.

“We held each other accountable,” Bindon said. “(It's important) having a community of people who hold you accountable for what you believe.”

Bindon, a mechanical engineering major, was identified by the U.S. Military Academy administration for his academic excellence and military and leadership capabilities, and last summer was named “first captain” or brigade commander of the U.S. Military Academy's Corps of Cadets, the highest cadet position in the chain of command among the academy's 4,400 cadets. 

2nd Lt. David Bindon leads the Corps of Cadets in graduation exercises May 25 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point as “first captain,” the highest rank among cadets at West Point.

Besides leading the Corps of Cadets, Bindon was their liaison to the academy's administration and performed extra duties such welcoming dignitaries to the prestigious military academy.

According to the U.S. Military Academy, Bindon joins Gen. Douglas MacArthur as one of only 13 cadets since 1872 to serve as first captain in his senior or “Firstie” year and graduate at the top of the class. Bindon, who was also the class valedictorian, had the last word at his military class graduation this spring as he “dismissed” his classmates and they sent their hats flying into the air.

Now, he is embarking on a new journey as one of 48 students nationally selected as a 2019 Marshall Scholar, a scholarship that finances students as they attend graduate studies in the United Kingdom. Bindon will attend King’s College his first year for his master's in war studies, and hopes to move on to the London School of Economics and Political Science for his second year.

He noted the Army is a “human company,” and “I wanted to study something that is more human focused.”

Going into the master’s program in England will delay Bindon’s required basic officer training course post-graduation. Upon completion of his master's degree, he will return to the U.S. to train in Army aviation, which is an 18- to 24-month service.

2nd Lt. David Bindon poses with family members during graduation exercises May 25 at West Point. From left to right are Kate Soave, David’s girlfriend of four years; his father Michael Bindon; his mother Suzanne Bindon; David Bindon; his brother Joshua Bindon; his sister Sarah Bindon; and his sister-in-law Julia Bindon. Not pictured is another sister, Kelly Kewley.

Bindon is pursuing the two-year degree in England as a chance to reflect on his life.

“I certainly thought about some of the trade-offs like not going to flight school with my classmates,” Bindon said.

In addition, he also was named a Phi Kappa Phi Marcus Urann fellow, which is an award of $20,000 for additional expenses.

Though his accolades might be numerous, Bindon said in order to succeed, he remembers he must put God first in his life.

“David is very committed to whatever he begins to do, whether academics or athletics,” said his mother, Suzanne Bindon. “He has never wavered in his faith. He puts it as God, family and faith — in that order.”

He took it upon himself to live out his faith on campus, his mother said, even leading a cadet into the RCIA program. That cadet converted to Catholicism.

“I think in a lot of ways people who convert as adults make the strongest examples of Catholics,” Bindon added. “A lot of that coincides with military service.”

Bindon’s father, Michael, is also a West Point mechanical engineering graduate, class of 1989. The elder Bindon served in Desert Storm as a lieutenant and today is a physics teacher at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

David Bindon is trying to following in his father's footsteps of service to others.

“You have to be willing to put others before yourself,” he said of his role as a Catholic and a military officer.

“David’s faith life is incredible for a 22-year-old,” his mother said. Suzanne noted that David “has benefited growing up in our Catholic faith life.”

When he arrived at West Point just four years ago, it was his faith and the faith community that he found that rooted him.

“He was away from home and would in a sense seek refuge in the Catholic Church,” she said.