United States Military Academy

United States Military Academy

Overview
The United States Military Academy at West Point (also known as USMA, West Point or Army) is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. The entire central campus is a national landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's neogothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 buildings are constructed from gray and black granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

.
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Encyclopedia
The United States Military Academy at West Point (also known as USMA, West Point or Army) is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. The entire central campus is a national landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's neogothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 buildings are constructed from gray and black granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

. The campus is a popular tourist destination complete with a large visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

.

Candidates for admission must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as cadets. Tuition for cadets is fully funded by the Army in exchange for an active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,300 cadets enter the Academy each spring with about 1,000 cadets graduating.

The academic program grants a bachelor of science
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years .-Australia:In Australia, the BSc is a 3 year degree, offered from 1st year on...

 degree with a curriculum that grades cadets' performance upon a broad academic program, military leadership performance, and mandatory participation in competitive athletics. Cadets are required to adhere to the Cadet Honor Code
Cadet Honor Code
Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration...

, which states that "a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." The academy bases a cadet's leadership experience as a development of all three pillar's of performance: academics, physical, and military.

Most graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

. Foreign cadets are commissioned into the armies of their home countries. Since 1959, cadets have also been eligible to "cross-commission," or request a commission in one of the other armed services, provided they meet that service's eligibility standards. Every year, a small number of cadets do this, usually in a one-for-one "trade" with a similarly inclined cadet or midshipman at one of the other service academies.

Because of the academy's age and unique mission, its traditions influenced other institutions. It was the first American college to have :class rings, and its technical curriculum was a model for later engineering schools. West Point's student body has a unique rank structure and lexicon. All cadets reside on campus and dine together en masse on weekdays for breakfast and lunch. The academy fields fifteen men's and nine women's National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 (NCAA) sports teams while every student competes in at least one sport, either at intramural or intercollegiate level, each semester. Its football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 team
Army Black Knights football
The Army Black Knights football program represents the United States Military Academy. Army was recognized as the national champions in 1944, 1945 and 1946....

 was a national power in the early and mid-20th century, winning three national championships. Its alumni and students are collectively referred to as "The Long Gray Line" and its ranks include two Presidents of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, numerous famous generals
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

, and seventy-four Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 recipients.

History


Colonial period, founding, and early years


The Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

 first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778; it became the oldest continuously operating army-post in the United States. Between 1778 and 1780, Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kościuszko
Tadeusz Kosciuszko
Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was a Polish–Lithuanian and American general and military leader during the Kościuszko Uprising. He is a national hero of Poland, Lithuania, the United States and Belarus...

 oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain
Hudson River Chain
The Hudson River Chain may refer to any of several chains used as a blockade across the Hudson River intended to prevent British naval vessels from proceeding up the river during the American Revolutionary War.-The Great Chain :...

 and high ground above the narrow "S" curve in the river enabled the Continental Army
Continental Army
The Continental Army was formed after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War by the colonies that became the United States of America. Established by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, it was created to coordinate the military efforts of the Thirteen Colonies in...

 to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and thus dividing the Colonies. As commander of the fortifications at West Point, however, Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold
Benedict Arnold V was a general during the American Revolutionary War. He began the war in the Continental Army but later defected to the British Army. While a general on the American side, he obtained command of the fort at West Point, New York, and plotted to surrender it to the British forces...

 committed his infamous act of treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

, attempting to sell the fort to the British. After Arnold betrayed the patriot cause, the Army changed the name of the fortifications at West Point, New York, to Fort Clinton
Fort Clinton (West Point)
Fort Clinton was the main defensive garrison of the Revolutionary War defense network at West Point. Commanded by and named after Benedict Arnold before his betrayal of the Revolutionary Army and defection to the British, it was later renamed after General James Clinton...

. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War left various ordnance and military stores deposited at West Point.

"Cadets" underwent training in artillery and engineering studies at the garrison since 1794. Congress formally authorized the establishment and funding of the United States Military Academy on 16 March 1802,. The academy graduated Joseph Gardner Swift
Joseph Gardner Swift
Joseph Gardner Swift, the first graduate of the United States Military Academy, was born on 31 December 1783 on Nantucket Island, the son of Foster Swift and his wife, Deborah...

, its first official graduate, in October 1802; he later returned as Superintendent from 1812 to 1814. In its tumultuous early years, the academy featured few standards for admission or length of study. Cadets ranged in age from 10 years to 37 years and attended between 6 months to 6 years. The impending War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 caused the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 to authorize a more formal system of education at the academy and increased the size of the Corps of Cadets to 250.

In 1817, Colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

 Sylvanus Thayer
Sylvanus Thayer
Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Sylvanus Thayer also known as "the Father of West Point" was an early superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point and an early advocate of engineering education in the United States.-Biography:Thayer was born in Braintree, Massachusetts,...

 became the Superintendent and established the curriculum still in use . Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct. Known as the "Father of the Military Academy," he is honored with a monument on campus for the profound impact he left upon the academy's history. Founded as a school of engineering, for the first half of the 19th century, USMA produced graduates who gained recognition for engineering the bulk of the nation's initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads. The academy was the only engineering school in the country until the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Stephen Van Rensselaer established the Rensselaer School on November 5, 1824 with a letter to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, in which van Rensselaer asked Blatchford to serve as the first president. Within the letter he set down several orders of business. He appointed Amos Eaton as the school's...

 in 1824. It was so successful in its engineering curriculum that it significantly influenced every American engineering school founded prior to the Civil War.

The Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

 brought the academy to prominence as graduates proved themselves in battle for the first time. Future Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 and Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 first distinguished themselves in battle in Mexico. In all, 452 of 523 graduates who served in the war received battlefield promotions or awards for bravery. The school experienced a rapid modernization during the 1850s, often romanticized by the graduates who led both sides of the Civil War as the "end of the Old West Point era." New barracks brought better heat and gas lighting
Gas lighting
Gas lighting is production of artificial light from combustion of a gaseous fuel, including hydrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, propane, butane, acetylene, ethylene, or natural gas. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most...

, while new ordnance and tactics training incorporated new rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 and musket
Musket
A musket is a muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets were designed for use by infantry. A soldier armed with a musket had the designation musketman or musketeer....

 technology and accommodated transportation advances created by the steam engine. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 and Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 armies. Two hundred ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.

After the Civil War



Immediately following the Civil War, the academy enjoyed unprecedented fame as a result of the role its graduates had played. However, the post-war years were a difficult time for the academy as it struggled to admit and reintegrate cadets from former confederate states. The first cadets from Southern states were re-admitted in 1868, and 1870 saw the admission of the first African-American cadet, James Webster Smith of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. Smith endured harsh treatment and was eventually dismissed for academic deficiency under controversial circumstances in 1874. As a result, Henry O. Flipper of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 became the first African-American graduate in 1877, graduating 50th in a class of 76. Two of the most notable graduates during this period were George Washington Goethals
George Washington Goethals
George Washington Goethals was a United States Army officer and civil engineer, best known for his supervision of construction and the opening of the Panama Canal...

 from the class of 1880, and John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

 from the class of 1886. Goethals gained prominence as the chief engineer of the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

, and Pershing would become famous for his exploits against the famed Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa
José Doroteo Arango Arámbula – better known by his pseudonym Francisco Villa or its hypocorism Pancho Villa – was one of the most prominent Mexican Revolutionary generals....

 in Mexico and later for leading American Forces during World War I.

Besides the integration of southern-state and African-American cadets, the post-war academy also struggled with the issue of hazing
Hazing
Hazing is a term used to describe various ritual and other activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group....

. In its first 65 years, hazing was uncommon or non-existent beyond small pranks played upon the incoming freshmen, but took a harsher tone as Civil War veterans began to fill the incoming freshman classes. The upper class cadets saw it as their duty to "teach the plebes their manners." Hazing at the academy entered the national spotlight with the death of former cadet Oscar Booz in 1901. Congressional hearings, which included testimony by Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, investigated his death and the pattern of systemic hazing of freshmen. When MacArthur returned as superintendent, he made an effort to end the practice of hazing the incoming freshmen by placing Army Sergeants in charge of training new cadets during freshman summer. The practice of hazing continued on some levels well into the late 20th century, but is no longer allowed in the present day.

The demand for junior officers during the Spanish American War caused the class of 1899 to graduate early, and the Philippine-American War
Philippine-American War
The Philippine–American War, also known as the Philippine War of Independence or the Philippine Insurrection , was an armed conflict between a group of Filipino revolutionaries and the United States which arose from the struggle of the First Philippine Republic to gain independence following...

 did the same for the class of 1901. This increased demand for officers led Congress to increase the size of the Corps of Cadets to 481 cadets in 1900. The period between 1900 and 1915 saw a construction boom as much of West Point's old infrastructure was rebuilt. Many of the academy's most famous graduates graduated during the 15-year period between 1900 and 1915: Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 (1903), Joseph Stilwell
Joseph Stilwell
General Joseph Warren Stilwell was a United States Army four-star General known for service in the China Burma India Theater. His caustic personality was reflected in the nickname "Vinegar Joe"...

 (1904), Henry "Hap" Arnold (1907), George S. Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

 (1909), Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

, and Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

 (both 1915). The class of 1915 is known as "the class the stars fell on
The class the stars fell on
"The class the stars fell on" is an expression used to describe the United States Military Academy class of 1915. In the U.S. Army, the insignia reserved for generals is one or more stars. Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 attained the rank of general, the most of any class in the history of the...

" for the exceptionally high percentage of general officers that rose from that class (59 of 164). With war raging in Europe, Congress anticipated potential American involvement and increased the authorized strength to 1,332 cadets in 1916.

The outbreak of America's involvement in World War I caused a sharp increase in the demand for army officers, and the academy accelerated graduation of all four classes then in attendance to meet this requirement, beginning with the early graduation of the First Class on 20 April 1917, the Second Class in August 1917, and both the Third and Fourth Classes just before the Armistice of November 11, 1918, when only freshman cadets remained (those who had entered in the summer of 1918). In all, wartime contingencies and post-war adjustments resulted in ten classes, varying in length of study from two to four years, within a seven year period before the regular course of study was fully resumed.

Douglas MacArthur became superintendent in 1919, instituting sweeping reforms to the academic process, including introducing a greater emphasis on history and humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

. He made major changes to the field training regimen and the Cadet Honor Committee was formed under his watch in 1922. MacArthur was a firm supporter of athletics at the academy, as he famously said "Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that, upon other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory." West Point was first officially accredited in 1925, and in 1933 began granting bachelor of science degrees to all graduates. In 1935, the academy's authorized strength increased to 1,960 cadets.

World War II and Cold War


As World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (WWII) engulfed Europe, Congress authorized an increase to 2,496 cadets in 1942, and began graduating classes early. The class of 1943 graduated six months early in January 1943, and the next four classes graduated after only three years. To accommodate this accelerated schedule, summer training was formally moved to a recently acquired piece of land southwest of main post. The site would later become Camp Buckner. West Point played a prominent role in WWII; four out of five of the five-star generals were alumni and nearly 500 graduates died. Immediately following the war in 1945, Maxwell Taylor (class of 1922) became superintendent. He expanded and modernized the academic program and abolished antiquated courses in fencing and horsemanship.

Unlike previous conflicts, the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 did not disrupt class graduation schedules. More than half of the army leadership during the war was composed of academy graduates. As a result, 157 alumni perished in the conflict. Garrison H. Davidson
Garrison H. Davidson
Garrison Holt Davidson was a United States Army officer, combat engineer, commander, and military educator from the 1920s through World War II and into the early Cold War-era...

 became superintendent in 1956 and instituted several reforms that included refining the admissions process, changing the core curriculum to include electives, and increasing the academic degree standards for academy instructors. The 1960s saw the size of the Corps expand to 4,400 cadets while the barracks and academic support structure grew proportionally. West Point was not immune to the social upheaval of American society during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. The first woman joined the faculty of the all-male institution amidst controversy in 1968. The Army granted its first honorable discharge to a West Point graduate who claimed conscientious objector
Conscientious objector
A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, and/or religion....

 status in 1971. The academy struggled to fill its incoming classes as its graduates led troops in Southeast Asia, where 333 graduates died.

Modern era


Following the 1973 Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam War, ended direct U.S. military involvement, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam...

 that ended American involvement in Vietnam, the strain and stigma of earlier social unrest dissolved and West Point enjoyed surging enrollments. West Point admitted its first 119 female cadets in 1976, after Congress authorized the admission of women to the federal service academies in 1975. Women currently comprise approximately 15% of entering new cadets. In 1989, Kristin Baker became the first female First Captain (an effigy of her is now on display in the Museum), the highest ranking senior cadet at the academy. Two other females have been appointed as First Captain: Grace H. Chung in 2004 and Stephanie Hightower in 2006. Rebecca Marier became the academy's first female valedictorian
Valedictorian
Valedictorian is an academic title conferred upon the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony. Usually, the valedictorian is the highest ranked student among those graduating from an educational institution...

 in 1995. The first female West Point graduate to attain flag (general officer) rank was Rebecca S. Halstead
Rebecca S. Halstead
Rebecca Stevens "Becky" Halstead is a retired U.S. Army Brigadier General. She was the first female graduate of West Point to become a general officer. Her final assignment was Chief of Ordnance and commander of the U.S...

, class of 1981. Vincent Brooks became the first African-American First Captain in 1980.


In 1985, cadets were formally authorized to declare an academic major; all previous graduates had been awarded a general bachelor of science degree. Five years later there was a major revision of the Fourth Class System, as the Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) became the guidance for the development of all four classes.

The class of 1990 was the first one that issued a standard and mandatory computer to every Cadet, the Zenith Data Systems
Zenith Data Systems
Zenith Data Systems was a division of Zenith founded in 1979 after Zenith acquired Heathkit, which had, in 1977, entered the personal computer market. Headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Zenith sold personal computers under both the Heath/Zenith and Zenith Data Systems names...

 248. The academy was also an early adopter of the Internet in the mid 1990s, and was recognized in 2006 as one of the nation's "most wired" campuses.

During the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, alumnus General Schwarzkopf was the commander of Allied Forces, and the current American senior generals in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, Generals Petraeus
David Petraeus
David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

 and Odierno
Raymond T. Odierno
Raymond T. Odierno is a United States Army general and the 38th and current Chief of Staff of the Army. Odierno most recently commanded United States Joint Forces Command from October 2010 until its disestablishment in August 2011. He served as Commanding General, United States Forces – Iraq and...

, and Afghanistan, retired General Stanley McChrystal and Lieutenant General David Rodriguez
David M. Rodriguez
David M. Rodriguez is a United States Army general who currently serves as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command. He previously served as Commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces - Afghanistan from March 2010 to July 11, 2011...

, are also alumni. Following the September 11 attacks, applications for admission to the academy increased dramatically, security on campus was increased, and the curriculum was revamped to include coursework on terrorism and military drills in civilian environments. One graduate was killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and eighty graduates have died during operations related to Operation Iraqi Freedom and the ongoing Global War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. In December 2009, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 delivered a major speech in Eisenhower Hall Theater outlining his policy for deploying 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 as well as setting a timetable for withdrawal.

Campus




The academy is located approximately 50 miles (80.5 km) north of New York City on the western bank of the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

. West Point, New York
West Point, New York
West Point is a federal military reservation established by President of the United States Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It is a census-designated place located in Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census...

, is incorporated as a federal military reservation in Orange County
Orange County, New York
Orange County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located at the northern reaches of the New York metropolitan area. The county sits in the state's scenic Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley...

 and is adjacent to Highland Falls
Highland Falls, New York
Highland Falls, formerly named Buttermilk Falls, is a village in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 3,678 at the 2000 census. The village was founded in 1906...

. Based on the significance both of the Revolutionary War
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 fort ruins and of the military academy itself, the majority of the academy area was declared a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1960. In 1841, Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

 visited the academy and said "It could not stand on more appropriate ground, and any ground more beautiful can hardly be." One of the most visited and scenic sites on post, Trophy Point
Trophy Point
Trophy Point is a scenic overlook of the Hudson River Valley located at West Point, New York. It has been the subject of numerous works of art since the early 19th century. Trophy Point is the location of Battle Monument, one of the largest columns of granite in the world...

, overlooks the Hudson river to the north, and is home to many captured cannon from past wars as well as the Stanford White
Stanford White
Stanford White was an American architect and partner in the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the frontrunner among Beaux-Arts firms. He designed a long series of houses for the rich and the very rich, and various public, institutional, and religious buildings, some of which can be found...

-designed Battle Monument
Battle Monument (USMA)
Battle Monument is a large doric column monument located on Trophy Point at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. Designed by Stanford White, it was dedicated on 30 May 1897 by surviving Civil War veterans. The monument was financed by monthly contributions from the pay of the...

. Though the entire military reservation encompasses 15974 acres (65 km²), the academic area of the campus, known as "central area" or "the cadet area," is entirely accessible to cadets or visitors by foot.
In 1902, the Boston architectural firm Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson
Bertram Goodhue
Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue was a American architect celebrated for his work in neo-gothic design. He also designed notable typefaces, including Cheltenham and Merrymount for the Merrymount Press.-Early career:...

 was awarded a major construction contract that set the predominantly neogothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 architectural style still seen today. Most of the buildings of the central cadet area are in this style, as typified by the Cadet Chapel
West Point Cadet Chapel
The Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy is a place of Protestant denomination worship for many members of the United States Corps of Cadets. The chapel is a classic example of gothic revival architecture, with its cross-shaped floor plan, soaring arches, and ornate stone carvings...

, completed in 1910. These buildings are nearly all constructed from granite that has a predominantly gray and black hue. The barracks that were built in the 1960s were designed to mimic this style. Other buildings on post, notably the oldest private residences for the faculty, are built in the Federal
Federal architecture
Federal-style architecture is the name for the classicizing architecture built in the United States between c. 1780 and 1830, and particularly from 1785 to 1815. This style shares its name with its era, the Federal Period. The name Federal style is also used in association with furniture design...

, Georgian
Georgian architecture
Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I of Great Britain, George II of Great Britain, George III of the United...

, or English Tudor
Tudor style architecture
The Tudor architectural style is the final development of medieval architecture during the Tudor period and even beyond, for conservative college patrons...

 styles. A few buildings, such as Cullum Hall and the Old Cadet Chapel
Old Cadet Chapel (West Point)
The Old Cadet Chapel at the United States Military Academy is a church and location of funeral and memorial services. It is the oldest chapel at West Point, having originally been built in 1836. The chapel was originally located in the cadet area near present-day Grant Hall, but was deconstructed...

, are built in the Neoclassical
Neoclassical architecture
Neoclassical architecture was an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century, manifested both in its details as a reaction against the Rococo style of naturalistic ornament, and in its architectural formulas as an outgrowth of some classicizing...

 style.

The academy grounds are home to numerous monuments and statues. The central cadet parade ground, the Plain
The Plain (West Point)
The Plain is the parade field at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The flat terrain of the Plain is in contrast to the varied and hilly terrain of the remainder of the campus. The Plain rises approximately above the Hudson River and has been the site of the longest...

, hosts the largest number, and includes the Washington Monument
Washington Monument (West Point)
The Washington Monument at West Point is an equestrian monument to George Washington at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The bronze replica of a sculpture that was originally designed by Henry Kirke Brown and erected in Union Square, New York City, in 1856— the first...

, Thayer Monument
Thayer Monument
Thayer Monument is a white granite monument and statue of Sylvanus Thayer at the United States Military Academy, designed by C. Conrad and first unveiled in June 1883. Thayer is known as the "Father of the Military Academy" for the profound and lasting impact of his superintendency during the...

, Eisenhower Monument, MacArthur Monument
MacArthur Monument (West Point)
The Douglas MacArthur Monument at the United States Military Academy at West Point commemorates the Medal of Honor-winning former Superintendent and General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. Designed by Walker Hancock, it was dedicated by MacArthur's widow Jean MacArthur in 1969...

, Kosciuszko Monument
Kosciuszko's Monument (West Point)
Kosciuszko's Monument is a pedestal and statue of Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Kosciuszko designed the defenses of the West Point garrison from 1778–1780 during the height of the Revolutionary War, when George Washington...

, and Sedgwick Monument
Sedgwick Monument (West Point)
Sedgwick Monument is a memorial to Union General John Sedgwick at West Point. "Uncle John" Sedgwick was born in Cornwall, Connecticut, 67 miles northeast of West Point, New York...

. Patton Monument
Patton Monument (West Point)
General George S. Patton, Jr. is a bronze statue of George S. Patton, Jr., by James Earle Fraser. It is located at the United States Military Academy....

 was first dedicated in front of the cadet library in 1950, but in 2004 it was placed in storage to make room for the construction of Jefferson Hall.

With the completion of Jefferson Hall, Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

's statue was relocated and unveiled at a temporary location on 15 May 2009, where it will remain until the completion of the renovation of the old cadet library and Bartlett Hall. There is also a statue commemorating brotherhood and friendship from the École Polytechnique
École Polytechnique
The École Polytechnique is a state-run institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, Essonne, France, near Paris. Polytechnique is renowned for its four year undergraduate/graduate Master's program...

 in the cadet central area just outside Nininger Hall. The remaining campus area is home to 27 other monuments and memorials.


The West Point Cemetery
West Point Cemetery
West Point Cemetery is a historic cemetery on the grounds of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. It overlooks the Hudson River, and served as a burial ground for American Revolutionary War soldiers and early West Point inhabitants long before 1817 when it was officially...

 is the final resting place of many notable graduates and faculty, including George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class...

, Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

, William Westmoreland
William Westmoreland
William Childs Westmoreland was a United States Army General, who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak , during the Tet Offensive. He adopted a strategy of attrition against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army. He later served as...

, Earl Blaik
Earl Blaik
Earl Henry "Red" Blaik was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and United States Army officer. He served as the head football coach at Dartmouth College from 1934 to 1940 and at the United States Military Academy from 1941 to 1958, compiling a career college...

, Maggie Dixon
Maggie Dixon
-External links:****...

, and sixteen Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 recipients. The cemetery is also the burial place of several recent graduates who have died during the ongoing conflict
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 in Iraq and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Many of the older grave sites have large and ornate grave markers, the largest belonging to Egbert Viele (class of 1847), chief engineer of Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

's Prospect Park
Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Prospect Park is a 585-acre public park in the New York City borough of Brooklyn located between Park Slope, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Flatbush Avenue, Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden...

. The cemetery is also home to a monument to Revolutionary War
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 heroine Margaret Corbin
Margaret Corbin
Margaret Corbin was a woman who fought in the American Revolutionary War On November 16, 1776, she and her husband, John Corbin, both from Philadelphia, along with some 600 American soldiers, were defending Fort Washington in northern Manhattan from 4,000 attacking Hessian troops under British...

.

The West Point Military Reservation contains one of three U.S. Treasury's gold mints.

Athletic facilities



West Point is home to historic athletic facilities like Michie Stadium
Michie Stadium
Michie Stadium is an outdoor football stadium located on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. It is the home field for the Army Black Knights. It opened in 1924 and has a current seating capacity of 38,000....

 and Gillis Field House as well as modern facilities such as the Licthenburg Tennis Center, Anderson Rugby Complex, and the Lou Gross Gymnastics Facility. Michie Stadium recently underwent a significant upgrade in facilities for the football team, and the academy installed a new artificial turf field in the summer of 2008. The academy has its own golf course and ski slope, located on the northwest edge of the main campus, just outside of the Washington Gate.

West Point Museum



The visitor's center is just outside the Thayer Gate in the village of Highland Falls and offers the opportunity to arrange for a guided tour. These tours, which are the only way the general public can access the academy grounds, leave the visitor's center several times a day. The West Point Museum is directly adjacent to the visitor's center, in the renovated Olmsted Hall on the grounds of the former Ladycliff College. Originally opened to the public in 1854, the West Point Museum is the oldest military museum in the country. During the summer months, the museum operates access to the Fort Putnam
Fort Putnam
Fort Putnam was a military garrison during the Revolutionary War at West Point. Built by a regiment of Colonel Rufus Putnam's 5th Massachusetts Infantry, it was completed in 1778 with the purpose of supporting Fort Clinton, which sat on the edge of the Hudson River about a 3/4 of a mile away...

 historic site on main post.

Academy leadership


The commanding officer at the USMA is the Superintendent
Superintendents of the United States Military Academy
The commanding officer of the United States Military Academy is its Superintendent. This position is roughly equivalent to the chancellor or president of an American civilian university. The officer appointed is by tradition a graduate of the United States Military Academy, commonly known as "West...

. This position is roughly equivalent to the president of a civilian university, but due to his status as the commanding general of the academy, the Superintendent holds more influence over the daily lives of the cadets than would a civilian university president. Since 1812, all Superintendents have been West Point graduates, though this has never been an official prerequisite to hold that position. In recent years, the position of Superintendent has been held by a Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

. The current Superintendent, Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon
David H. Huntoon
Lieutenant General David Holmes Huntoon, Jr. is an American military officer who currently serves as the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York...

, took command on 19 July 2010. The academy is a direct reporting unit, and as such, the Superintendent reports directly to the Army Chief of Staff (CSA)
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
The Chief of Staff of the Army is a statutory office held by a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the most senior uniformed officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, and as such is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the Secretary of the Army; and is in...

.

There are two other general officer positions at the academy. Brigadier General
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 Theodore D. Martin is the Commandant of Cadets, and Brigadier General Timothy Trainor is the Dean of the Academic Board. There are 13 academic departments at USMA, each with a colonel as the head of department. These 13 tenured colonels comprise the core of the Academic Board. These officers are titled "Professors USMA" or PUSMA. The academy is also overseen by the Board of Visitors (BOV). The BOV is a panel of Senators, Congressional Representatives, and presidential appointees who "shall inquire into the morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods, and other matters relating to the academy that the board decides to consider." Currently the BOV is chaired by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
Kay Bailey Hutchison
Kathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison, known as Kay Bailey Hutchison , is the senior United States Senator from Texas.She is a member of the Republican Party. In 2001, she was named one of the thirty most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal. The first woman to represent Texas in the U.S....

 and is composed of four Senators, five Congressmen, and six presidential appointees.

Admission


The admission process consists of two parts. Candidates must apply directly to USMA for admission, and they must obtain a nomination. The majority of candidates receive their nomination from their congressman
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

. Some receive a nomination from the Vice-President of the United States. The nomination process is not political, and applicants do not have to know their congressman to be nominated. The nomination process typically consists of writing essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, and a formal interview. Admission to West Point is selective: 12.75% of applicants were admitted (total of 1292) to the Class of 2012. Candidates must be between 17 and 23 years old, unmarried, and with no legal obligation to support a child. Above average high school or previous college grades and strong performance on standardized testing is expected. The interquartile range on the old SAT
SAT
The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still...

 was 1100–1360 and 68% ranked in the top fifth of their high school class. To be eligible for appointment, candidates must also undergo a Candidate Fitness Assessment and a complete physical exam. About 15 candidates are admitted each year from foreign countries at the expense of the sponsoring nation. Candidates may have previous college experience, but they may not transfer, meaning that regardless of previous college credit, they enter the academy as a fourth class cadet and undergo the entire four-year program. If a candidate is considered academically disqualified and not selected, he or she may receive an offer to attend to the United States Military Academy Preparatory School. Upon graduation from USMAPS, these candidates are appointed to the academy if they receive the recommendation of the USMAPS Commandant and meet medical admission requirements. The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) also offers scholarship support to people who are qualified but not selected. The scholarships usually cover around $7000 to civilian universities; the students who receive these scholarships do so under the stipulation that they will be admitted to and attend West Point a year later. Those who do not must repay the AOG. New Mexico Military Institute
New Mexico Military Institute
New Mexico Military Institute is a state-supported educational institution. NMMI is located in Roswell, New Mexico, United States. It is sometimes referred to as the West Point of the West and it is the only state-supported military college located in the western United States. NMMI includes a...

, Marion Military Institute
Marion Military Institute
Marion Military Institute, often abbreviated with the initialism MMI, is the official state military college of Alabama. Founded in Marion in 1842, it continues at its original location.-History:...

, and Valley Forge Military College
Valley Forge Military Academy and College
Valley Forge Military Academy & College is an American all male preparatory boarding school and coeducational junior college in the military school tradition...

 are three colleges that students often attend on the AOG scholarship prior to admission to West Point.

Curriculum



West Point is a medium-sized, highly residential baccalaureate college, with a full-time, four-year undergraduate program that emphasizes instruction in the arts, sciences, and professions with no graduate program.

There are 45 academic majors and the most popular majors are in foreign languages, management information systems, history, economics, and mechanical engineering.

West Point is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Military officers compose 75% of the faculty, while civilian professors make up the remaining 25% of faculty positions.

A cadet's class rank, which determines his army branch and assignment upon graduation, is calculated as a combination of academic performance (55%), military leadership performance (30%), and physical fitness and athletic performance (15%). The 2008 Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine report on America's Best Colleges ranks West Point #4 nationally and #1 among public institutions. The 2008 National Liberal Arts College category in U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

ranks West Point #14 among liberal arts colleges, and #1 among public institutions. In 2009, West Point was named the best college in America by Forbes Magazine.

Academics


The academy's teaching style forms part of the Thayer system, which was implemented by Sylvanus Thayer during his tour as Superintendent. This form of instruction emphasizes small classes with daily homework, and strives to make students actively responsible for their own learning by completing homework assignments prior to class and bringing the work to class to discuss collaboratively.

The academic program consists of a structured core of 31 courses balanced between the arts and sciences. The Academy operates on the semester system, which it labels as "terms" (Term 1 is the fall semester; Term 2 is the spring semester). Although cadets choose their majors in the fall of their sophomore year, they take the same course of instruction until the beginning of their junior year. This core course of instruction consists of mathematics, information technology, chemistry, physics, engineering, history, physical geography, philosophy, leadership and general psychology, English composition and literature, foreign language, political science, international relations, economics, and constitutional law. Some advanced cadets may "validate" out of the base-level classes and take advanced or accelerated courses earlier as freshmen or sophomores. Regardless of major, all cadets graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree.

Military



All cadets receive commissioning as Second Lieutenants upon graduation, so military and leadership education is nested with academic instruction. Military training and discipline fall under purview of the Office of the Commandant. Entering freshmen, or fourth class cadets, are referred to as New Cadets, and enter the academy on Reception Day or R-day, which marks the start of cadet basic training (CBT), known colloquially as Beast Barracks, or simply Beast. Most cadets consider Beast to be their most difficult time at the academy because of the strenuous transition from civilian to military life. Their second summer, cadets undergo cadet field training (CFT) at nearby Camp Buckner, where they train more advanced field craft and military skills. During a cadet's third summer, they may serve as instructors for CBT or CFT. Rising Firstie (senior) cadets now also spend one month training at Camp Buckner, where they train for modern tactical situations that they will soon face as new platoon leaders. Cadets also have the opportunity during their second, third and fourth summers to serve in active army units and military schools around the world.

Active duty
Active duty
Active duty refers to a full-time occupation as part of a military force, as opposed to reserve duty.-Pakistan:The Pakistan Armed Forces are one of the largest active service forces in the world with almost 610,000 full time personnel due to the complex and volatile nature of Pakistan's...

 officers in the rank
Military rank
Military rank is a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces or civil institutions organized along military lines. Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms...

 of captain or major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

 serve as Company Tactical Officers (TAC Officers). The role of the TAC is to mentor, train, and teach the cadets proper standards of good order and discipline and be a good role model. There is one TAC for every cadet company. There is also one senior Non-Commissioned Officer to assist each TAC, known as TAC-NCOs.

The Department of Military Instruction (DMI) is responsible for all military arts and sciences education as well as planning and executing the cadet summer training. Within DMI there is a representative from each of the Army's branches. These "branch reps" serve as proponents for their respective branches and liaise with cadets as they prepare for branch selection and graduation.

Physical



The Department of Physical Education
Department of Physical Education
The Department of Physical Education is the academic department that oversees the physical development program at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. DPE is headquartered in the Arvin Cadet Physical Development Center. DPE has 24 Military faculty and 25 civilian instructors and...

 (DPE) administers the physical program, which includes both physical education classes, physical fitness testing, and competitive athletics. The head of DPE holds the title of Master of the Sword, dating to the 19th century when DPE taught swordsmanship as part of the curriculum.

All cadets take a prescribed series of physical fitness courses. All cadets take military movement (applied gymnastics), boxing (men) or self defense (women), swimming, and beginning in 2009, advanced combatives. Cadets can also take elective physical activity classes such as scuba
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

, rock climbing, and aerobic fitness.

As with all soldiers in the Army, cadets also must pass the Army Physical Fitness Test twice per year. Additionally, during their junior year, cadets must pass the Indoor Obstacle Course Test
Indoor Obstacle Course Test
The IOCT is a test of full-body functional physical fitness administered by the Department of Physical Education at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. DPE considers the IOCT to be one of the best evaluations of total body fitness given in the Army...

 (IOCT), which DPE has administered in Hayes Gymnasium
Hayes Gymnasium
Hayes Gymnasium , completed in 1910, is the oldest section of the current Arvin Cadet Physical Development Center at the United States Military Academy...

 since 1944.

Since Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

's tenure as superintendent, every cadet has been required to participate in either an intercollegiate sport, a club sport
Sports club
A sports club or sport club, sometimes athletics club or sports association is a club for the purpose of playing one or more sports...

, or an intramural (referred to as "company athletics") sport each semester.

Moral and ethical training



Moral-ethical development occurs throughout the entirety of the cadet experience by living under the honor code and through formal leadership programs available at the academy. These include instruction in the values of the military profession through Professional Military Ethics Education (PME2), voluntary religious programs, interaction with staff and faculty role models, and an extensive guest-speaker program. The foundation of the ethical code at West Point is found in the academy's motto, "Duty, Honor, Country."

West Point's Cadet Honor Code
Cadet Honor Code
Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration...

 reads simply that: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Cadets accused of violating the Honor Code face an investigative and hearing process. If they are found guilty by a jury of their peers, they face severe consequences ranging from being "turned back" (repeating an academic year) to separation from the academy. Cadets previously enforced an unofficial sanction known as "silencing" by not speaking to cadets accused of violating the honor code, but the practice ended in 1973 after national scrutiny.

Throughout the four years at the academy, Cadets take PME2 classes. These classes start during Cadet Basic Training and run the entire breadth of their time at the academy. As the cadets mature in rank and experience, they transform from receivers of information to facilitators and teachers of PME2 topics. The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic, located in Nininger Hall in central area, is the coordinator for most PME2 training in conjunction with the cadet TAC officers.

Rank and organization



Cadets are not referred to as freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or seniors. Instead they are officially called fourth class, third class, second class, and first class cadets. Colloquially, freshmen are plebes, sophomores are yearlings or yuks, juniors are cows, and seniors are firsties. Some of the origins of the class names are known, some are not. Plebeians
Plebs
The plebs was the general body of free land-owning Roman citizens in Ancient Rome. They were distinct from the higher order of the patricians. A member of the plebs was known as a plebeian...

 were the lower class of ancient Roman society, while yearling is a euphemism for a year-old animal. The origin of cow is less known. There are a number of theories for the origin of the term cow, however the most prevalent and probably accurate one is that cadets in years past had no leave until the end of their yearling year, when they were granted a summer long furlough. Their return as second classmen was heralded as The cows coming home. Firstie is short for first class cadet.

The Corps of Cadets is officially organized into a brigade. The senior ranking cadet, the Brigade Commander, is known traditionally as the First Captain. The brigade is organized into four regiments. Within each regiment there are three battalions, each consisting of three companies. Companies are lettered A through I, with a number signifying which regiment it belongs to. For example, there are four "A" companies: A1, A2, A3, and A4. First class cadets hold the leadership positions within the brigade from the First Captain down to platoon leaders within the companies. Leadership responsibility decreases with the lower classes, with second class cadets holding the rank of cadet sergeant, third class cadets holding the rank of cadet corporal, and fourth class cadets as cadet privates.

Life in the corps



Because of the academy's congressional nomination process, students come from all 50 states. The academy is also authorized up to 60 international exchange cadets, who undergo the same four-year curriculum as fully integrated members of the Corps of Cadets. Cadets attend the United States Military Academy free of charge, with all tuition and board paid for by the Army in return for a service commitment of five years of active duty and three years of reserve status upon graduation. In addition to a small salary, Cadets receive meals in the dining halls, and have access to the Internet and a phone in their barracks. The student population was 4,487 cadets for the 2007–2008 academic year. The student body is 15.1% female. 92% of entering students re-matriculated for a second year; the four-year graduation rate was 80% and the six-year rate was 81%.
Demographics of student body
Undergraduate U.S. Census
European American
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

75% 65.8%
Hispanic American 8% 14.5%
Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

7% 4.3%
African American 6% 12.1%
Native American 1% 0.9%
International student
International student
According to Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development , international students are those who travel to a country different from their own for the purpose of tertiary study. Despite that, the definition of international students varies in each country in accordance to their own national...

1% N/A

All cadets reside on campus for their entire four years in one of the seven barracks buildings. Most cadets are housed with one roommate, but some rooms are designed for three cadets. Cadets are grouped into companies identified by alpha-numeric codes. All companies live together in the same barracks area. The academy has the cadets change companies after their freshmen or sophomore years. This process is known as scrambling, and the method of scrambling has changed several times in recent years. All 4,000 cadets dine together at breakfast and lunch in the Washington Hall during the weekdays. The cadet fitness center, Arvin Gymnasium, which was rebuilt in 2004, houses extensive physical fitness facilities and equipment for student use.
Each class of cadets elects representatives to serve as class president and fill several administrative positions. They also elect a ring and crest committee, which designs the class's crest, the emblem that signifies their class and it is embossed upon their class rings. Each class crest is required to contain the initials USMA and their class motto. The class motto is proposed by the class during cadet basic training and voted on by the class prior to the beginning of their freshman academic year. Class mottos typically have verbiage that rhymes or is phonetically similar with their class year.

Cadets today live and work within the framework of the CLDS, which specifies the roles that a cadet plays throughout their four years at the academy. Cadets begin their USMA careers as trainees (new cadets), then advance in rank, starting as CDT Privates (freshmen) and culminating as CDT Officers (seniors). Freshmen have no leadership responsibilities, but have a host of duties to perform as they learn how to follow orders and operate in an environment of rigid rank structure, while seniors have significant leadership responsibilities and significantly more privileges that correspond to their rank.

Activities


Cadets have a host of extra curricular activities available, most run by the office of the Directorate of Cadet Activities (DCA). DCA sponsors or operates 113 athletic and non-sport clubs. Many cadets join several clubs during their time at the academy and find their time spent with their clubs a welcome respite from the rigors of cadet life. DCA is responsible for a wide range of activities that provide improved quality of life for cadets, including: three cadet-oriented restaurants, the Cadet Store, and the Howitzer and Bugle Notes. The Howitzer is the annual yearbook, while Bugle Notes, also known as the "plebe bible," is the manual of plebe knowledge. Plebe knowledge is a lengthy collection of traditions, songs, poems, anecdotes, and facts about the academy, the army, the Old Corps, and the rivalry with Navy that all plebes must memorize during cadet basic training. During plebe year, plebes may be asked, and are expected to answer, any inquiry about plebe knowledge asked by upper class cadets. Other knowledge is historical in nature, including information as found in Bugle Notes. However, some knowledge changes daily, such as "the days" (a running list of the number of days until important academy events), the menu in the mess hall for the day, or the lead stories in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

.

Each cadet class celebrates at least one special "class weekend" per academic year. Fourth class cadets participate in Plebe Parent Weekend during the first weekend of spring break. In February, third class cadets celebrate the winter season with Yearling Winter Weekend. In late January the second class cadets celebrate 500th Night, marking the remaining 500 days before graduation. First class cadets celebrate three different formal occasions. In late August, first class cadets celebrate Ring Weekend
Ring Weekend
The cadets of the United States Military Academy first began the practice of wearing class rings in 1835. The United States Military Academy class ring has traditionally been worn on the left hand, but some recent graduates choose to wear it on their right hand, which is likely in response to the...

, in February they mark their last 100 days with 100th Night, and in May they have a full week of events culminating in their graduation. All of the "class weekends" involve a formal dinner and social dance, known in old cadet slang as a "hop," held at Eisenhower Hall.

Athletics




Since 1899, Army's mascot has officially been a mule because the animal symbolizes strength and perseverance. The academy's football team was nicknamed "The Black Knights of the Hudson" due to the black color of its uniforms. This nickname has since been officially shortened to "Black Knights." U.S. sports media use "Army" as a synonym for the academy. "On Brave Old Army Team" is the school's fight song
Fight song
A fight song is primarily an American and Canadian sports term, referring to a song associated with a team. In both professional and amateur sports, fight songs are a popular way for fans to cheer for their team...

. Army's chief sports rival is the Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 due to its long-standing football rivalry and the intraservice rivalry with the Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 in general. Fourth class cadets verbally greet upper-class cadets and faculty with "Beat Navy," while the tunnel that runs under Washington Road is named the "Beat Navy" tunnel. In the first half of the 20th century, Army and Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

 were football rivals, but that rivalry has since died out.

Football



Army football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 began in 1890, when Navy
Navy Midshipmen football
The Navy Midshipmen football team represents the United States Naval Academy in NCAA Division I-A college football. They are a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision independent school and coached by Ken Niumatalolo since December 2007...

 challenged the cadets to a game of the relatively new sport. Navy defeated Army at West Point that year, but Army avenged the loss in Annapolis the following year. The rival academies still clash every December in what is traditionally the last regular-season Division I college-football game. The 2010 football season marked Navy's ninth consecutive victory yet over Army (2002 - ...), the longest streak in the series since inception. Army's football team reached its pinnacle of success under coach Earl Blaik
Earl Blaik
Earl Henry "Red" Blaik was an American football player, coach, college athletics administrator, and United States Army officer. He served as the head football coach at Dartmouth College from 1934 to 1940 and at the United States Military Academy from 1941 to 1958, compiling a career college...

 when Army won consecutive national championships in 1944 and 1945, and produced three Heisman trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

 winners: Doc Blanchard
Doc Blanchard
Felix Anthony "Doc" Blanchard is best known as the college football player who became the first ever junior to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and was the first ever football player to win the James E. Sullivan Award, all in 1945. He played football for the United States Military Academy at...

 (1945), Glenn Davis (1946) and Pete Dawkins
Pete Dawkins
Peter Miller Dawkins is a Heisman Trophy winner, Rhodes Scholar, U.S. Army Brigadier General, and Republican candidate for Senate. He is the former vice chairman of Citigroup Private Bank.-Early life, education and athletic career:...

 (1958). Past NFL coaches Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi
Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi was an American football coach. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight league championships and five in seven years, including winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and...

 and Bill Parcells
Bill Parcells
Duane Charles "Bill" Parcells is a former American football head coach, most recently with the Dallas Cowboys from 2003 to 2006...

 were Army assistant coaches early in their careers. The football team plays its home games at Michie Stadium
Michie Stadium
Michie Stadium is an outdoor football stadium located on the campus of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. It is the home field for the Army Black Knights. It opened in 1924 and has a current seating capacity of 38,000....

, where the playing field is named after Earl Blaik. Cadets' attendance is mandatory at football games and the Corps stands for the duration of the game. At all home games, one of the four regiments marches onto the field in formation before the team takes the field and leads the crowd in traditional Army cheers. Between the 1998 and 2004 seasons, Army's football program was a member of Conference USA
Conference USA
Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports...

, but has since reverted to its former independent status. West Point competes with Navy and Air Force
Air Force Falcons football
The Air Force Falcons are a college football team from the United States Air Force Academy, located just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision of the NCAA Division I and the Mountain West Conference.-Style:...


for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy
Commander in Chief's Trophy
The Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is awarded to each season's winner of the triangular college football series among the United States Military Academy , the United States Naval Academy , and United States Air Force Academy...

.

Other sports




Though football may receive a lot of media attention due to its annual rivalry game, West Point has a long history of athletics in other NCAA sports. Army is a member of the Division I Patriot League
Patriot League
The Patriot League is a college athletic conference which operates in the northeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I) for a number of sports; in football, it participates in the Football Championship Subdivision...

 in most sports, while its men's ice hockey program competes in Atlantic Hockey
Atlantic Hockey
The Atlantic Hockey Association is a NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey conference which operates primarily in the northeastern United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I as an ice hockey–only conference. Unlike several other college athletic conferences, Atlantic Hockey has no women's...

. Every year, Army faces the Royal Military College of Canada
Royal Military College of Canada
The Royal Military College of Canada, RMC, or RMCC , is the military academy of the Canadian Forces, and is a degree-granting university. RMC was established in 1876. RMC is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers...

 (RMC) Paladins
RMC Paladins
The RMC Paladins are the athletic teams that represent Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Team colours are red and white...

 in the annual West Point Weekend hockey game. This series, conceived in 1923, is the longest-running annual international sporting event in the world, and was featured on a $100 commemorative gold Canadian coin
Royal Canadian Mint Hockey coins
The Royal Canadian Mint has made coins with various themes. Most recently, ice hockey has been used for many numismatic releases. The first known ice hockey coin was for the 1988 Winter Olympics. Issued on February 25, 1986, the coin featured a goalie on the coin...

 in 2006.

The men's lacrosse team
Army Black Knights men's lacrosse
The Army Black Knights men's lacrosse team represents the United States Military Academy in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men's lacrosse competition. During the team's 92-year history, it has won eight national championships and made fifteen postseason NCAA tournament...

 has won eight national championships
NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship
The annual NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship tournament determines the top men's field lacrosse team in the NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III....

 and appeared in the NCAA tournament sixteen times. In its early years, lacrosse was used by football players, like the "Lonesome End" Bill Carpenter
Bill Carpenter
William "Bill" Stanley Carpenter, Jr., LTG, U.S. Army is an American former Army officer and college football player. While playing college football, he gained national prominence as the "Lonesome End" of the Army football team...

, to stay in shape during the off-season. The 2005–06 women's basketball team went 20–11 and won the Patriot League tournament. They went to the 2006 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament
2006 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament
-Albuquerque:-Bridgeport:-San Antonio:-Cleveland Regional:-Albuquerque Regional:-Bridgeport Regional:-San Antonio Regional:-Final Four – TD Banknorth Garden :...

 as a 15th-ranked seed, where they lost to Tennessee
University of Tennessee
The University of Tennessee is a public land-grant university headquartered at Knoxville, Tennessee, United States...

, 102–54. It was the first March Madness
NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Women's Division I Championship is an annual college basketball tournament for women. Held each April, the Women's Championship was inaugurated in the 1981–82 season...

 tournament appearance for any Army basketball team. The head coach of that team, Maggie Dixon
Maggie Dixon
-External links:****...

, died soon after the season at only 28 years of age. Bob Knight, the winningest men's basketball coach in NCAA history, began his head coaching career at Army in the late 1960s before moving on to Indiana
Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball
The Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team is the intercollegiate men's basketball program representing Indiana University . The school competes in the Big Ten Conference in Division I of the NCAA. The Hoosiers play on Branch McCracken Court at the Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana on the IU...

 and Texas Tech
Texas Tech Red Raiders men's basketball
The Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball team represents Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas in NCAA Division I men's basketball competition The team is currently coached by Billy Gillispie. Prior to Gillispie being named coach, the coach was Pat Knight who succeeded his father, Hall of Famer Bob...

. One of Knight's players at Army was Mike Krzyzewski, who later was head coach at Army before moving on to Duke
Duke Blue Devils men's basketball
The Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team is the college basketball program representing Duke University in the Atlantic Coast Conference of NCAA Division I...

, where he has won four national championships
NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
The NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship is a single-elimination tournament held each spring in the United States, featuring 68 college basketball teams, to determine the national championship in the top tier of college basketball...

.

Approximately 15% of cadets are members of a club sport team. West Point fields a total of 24 club sports teams that have been very successful in recent years, winning national championships in Judo, Boxing, Orienteering, Pistol, Triathlon, Crew, Cycling, and Team Handball.

The majority of the student body, about 65%, competes in intramural sports, known at the academy as "company athletics." DPE's Competitive Sports committee runs the club and company athletics sports programs and was recently named one of the "15 Most Influential Sports Education Teams in America" by the Institute for International Sport. The fall season sees competition in basketball, biathlon, full-contact football, soccer, ultimate disc, and wrestling; while the spring season sees competition in combative grappling, floor hockey, orienteering, rugby, and swimming. In the spring, each company also fields a team entry into the annual Sandhurst Competition
Sandhurst Competition
The Sandhurst Military Skills Competition is a military skills competition at West Point that first began in 1967 with the presentation of a British officer's sword to the United States Corps of Cadets by the British Exchange Officer. Last year's event, dubbed SANCOM10 , was a two-day event...

, a military skills event conducted by the Department of Military Instruction.

Plebe year, cadets are expected to participate in at least one extra-curricular activity. This can be a sports team or academic club, such as debate.

Traditions



Due to West Point's age and its unique mission of producing Army officers, it has many time-honored traditions. The list below are some of the traditions unique to or started by the academy.

Cullum number


The Cullum number is a reference and identification number assigned to each graduate. It was created by brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 Major General George W. Cullum
George Washington Cullum
George Washington Cullum was an American soldier, engineer and writer. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, primarily serving in the Western Theater.-Birth and early years:...

 (USMA Class of 1833) who, in 1850, began the monumental work of chronicling the biographies of every graduate. He assigned number one to the first West Point graduate, Joseph Gardner Swift
Joseph Gardner Swift
Joseph Gardner Swift, the first graduate of the United States Military Academy, was born on 31 December 1783 on Nantucket Island, the son of Foster Swift and his wife, Deborah...

, and then numbered all successive graduates in sequence. Before his death in 1892, General Cullum completed the first three volumes of a work that eventually comprised 10 volumes, entitled General Cullum’s Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy, and covering USMA classes from 1802 through 1850. From 1802 through the Class of 1977, graduates were listed by general order of Merit. Beginning with the Class of 1978, graduates were listed alphabetically, and then by date of graduation. Seven graduates have an "A" suffix after their Cullum Number. For various reasons these graduates were omitted from the original class roster, and a suffix letter was added to avoid renumbering the entire class and subsequent classes.

Class ring




West Point began the collegiate tradition of the class ring, beginning with the class of 1835. The class of 1836 chose no rings, and the class of 1879 had cuff links in lieu of a class ring. Before 1917, cadets could design much of the ring individually, but now only the center stone can be individualized. One side of the ring bears the academy crest, while the other side bears the class crest and the center stone ring bears the words West Point and the class year. The academy library has a large collection of cadet rings on display. Senior cadets receive their rings during Ring Weekend
Ring Weekend
The cadets of the United States Military Academy first began the practice of wearing class rings in 1835. The United States Military Academy class ring has traditionally been worn on the left hand, but some recent graduates choose to wear it on their right hand, which is likely in response to the...

 in the early fall of their senior year. Immediately after senior cadets return to the barracks after receiving their rings, fourth class cadets take the opportunity to surround senior cadets from their company and ask to touch their rings. After reciting a poem known to cadets as the Ring Poop, the senior usually grants the freshmen permission to touch the ring.

Thayer Award



West Point is home to the Sylvanus Thayer Award. Given annually by the academy since 1958, the award honors an outstanding citizen whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify the academy's motto, "Duty, Honor, Country." Currently, the award guidelines state that the recipient not be a graduate of the academy. The award has been awarded to many notable American citizens, to include George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

, Tom Brokaw
Tom Brokaw
Thomas John "Tom" Brokaw is an American television journalist and author best known as the anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004. He is the author of The Greatest Generation and other books and the recipient of numerous awards and honors...

, Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...

, Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

, Carl Vinson
Carl Vinson
Carl Vinson was a United States Representative from Georgia. He was a Democrat and the first person to serve for more than 50 years in the United States House of Representatives...

, Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, Barbara Jordan
Barbara Jordan
Barbara Charline Jordan was an American politician who was both a product and a leader, of the Civil Rights movement. She was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction and the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives...

, William J. Perry, and Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

.

Sedgwick's spurs


A monument to Union general John Sedgwick
John Sedgwick
John Sedgwick was a teacher, a career military officer, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He was the highest ranking Union casualty in the Civil War, killed by a sniper at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.-Early life:Sedgwick was born in the Litchfield Hills town of...

 stands on the outskirts of the Plain
The Plain (West Point)
The Plain is the parade field at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The flat terrain of the Plain is in contrast to the varied and hilly terrain of the remainder of the campus. The Plain rises approximately above the Hudson River and has been the site of the longest...

. Sedgwick's bronze statue has spur
Spur
A spur is a metal tool designed to be worn in pairs on the heels of riding boots for the purpose of directing a horse to move forward or laterally while riding. It is usually used to refine the riding aids and to back up the natural aids . The spur is used in every equestrian discipline...

s with rowels that freely rotate. Cadet legend states that if a cadet is in danger of failing a class, they are to don their full-dress parade uniform the night before the final exam. If the cadet visits the statue and spins the rowels at the stroke of midnight, the cadet would run back to the barracks as fast as he or she could. According to legend, if Sedgwick's ghost caught him or her, he or she would fail the exam. Otherwise the cadet will pass the exam and the course. Although being out of their rooms after midnight is officially against regulations, violations have been known to be overlooked for the sake of tradition.

Goat-Engineer game


As part of the run-up to the Navy football game, the Corps of Cadets plays the Goat-Engineer game. First played in 1907, it is a game between the "Goats" (the bottom half of the senior (Firstie) class academically), and the "Engineers" (the top half). The game is played with full pads and helmets using eight-man football
Eight-man football
Eight-man football is a type of American football, generally played by small high schools. Rules and formations vary greatly among states and even among different organizations, but the one constant is eight players from each team on the field at one time, as opposed to eleven-man football, which...

 rules. The location has changed over the years, with recent venues being Shea Stadium, Michie Stadium, and Daly Field. Legend states that Army will beat Navy if the goats win, and the opposite if the engineers win. In recent years, female cadets have begun playing a flag football
Flag football
Flag football is a version of Canadian football or American football that is popular worldwide. The basic rules of the game are similar to those of the mainstream game , but instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier to end...

 contest, so there are now two Goat-Engineer games, played back to back the same night.

Walking the area



From the earliest days of the academy, one form of punishment for cadets who commit regulatory infractions has been a process officially known as punishment tours. This process is better known to the cadets as "walking the area" or "hours" because as punishment, cadets must walk a specified number of hours in retribution. Cadets are "awarded" punishment tours based upon the severity of the infraction. Being late to class or having an unkempt room may result in as little as 5 hours while more severe misconduct infractions may result in upwards of 60 to 80 hours. In its most traditional form, punishment tours are "walked off" by wearing the dress gray uniform under arms and walking back and forth in a designated area of the cadet barracks courtyard, known as "the area." Cadets who get into trouble frequently and spend many weekends "walking off their hours" are known as "area birds." Cadets who walk more than 100 total hours in their career are affectionately known as "Century Men." An alternate form of punishment to walking hours is known as "fatigue tours," where assigned hours may be "worked off" by manual labor, such as cleaning the barracks. Certain cadets whose academics are deficient may also conduct "sitting tours," where they have to "sit hours" in a designated academic room in a controlled study environment, for which they receive half credit towards their reduction of tours. Cadets' uniforms are inspected before their tours begin each day. A small number of cadets may be relieved of their tours that day if their uniforms are exceptionally presentable. Another tradition associated with punishment tours is that any visiting head of state has the authority to grant "amnesty," releasing all cadets with outstanding hours from the remainder of their assigned tours.

Notable alumni



An unofficial motto of the academy's history department is "Much of the history we teach was made by people we taught." Graduates of the academy refer to themselves as "The Long Gray Line," a phrase taken from the academy's traditional hymn "The Corps
The Corps (song)
The Corps is a poetic hymn associated with the United States Military Academy. It is second in importance to only the Academy's Alma Mater. The words were written by West Point Chaplain, Bishop H.S. Shipman, around 1902. The accompanying music was composed in 1910 specially for the ceremonial...

."
The academy has produced just under 65,000 alumni, including two Presidents of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

: Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 and Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

; the president of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

, Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

; and three foreign heads of state: Anastasio Somoza Debayle
Anastasio Somoza Debayle
Anastasio Somoza Debayle was a Nicaraguan leader and officially the 73rd and 76th President of Nicaragua from 1 May 1967 to 1 May 1972 and from 1 December 1974 to 17 July 1979. As head of the National Guard, he was de facto ruler of the country from 1967 to 1979...

 of Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, Fidel V. Ramos
Fidel V. Ramos
Fidel "Eddie" Valdez Ramos , popularly known as FVR, was the 12th President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. During his six years in office, Ramos was widely credited and admired by many for revitalizing and renewing international confidence in the Philippine economy.Prior to his election as...

 of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, and José María Figueres
José María Figueres
José María Figueres Olsen , is a Costa Rican politician, businessman and international expert on Sustainable Development and Technology...

 of Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

. Alumni currently serving in public office include Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Jack Reed, Governor of Nebraska
Governor of Nebraska
The Governor of Nebraska holds the "supreme executive power" of the State of Nebraska as provided by the fourth article of the Nebraska Constitution. The current Governor is Dave Heineman, a Republican, who assumed office on January 20, 2005 upon the resignation of Mike Johanns . He won a full...

 David Heineman, and Congressmen
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Geoff Davis
Geoff Davis
Geoffrey C. "Geoff" Davis is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party....

, Brett Guthrie
Brett Guthrie
Steven Brett Guthrie is the U.S. Representative for , a Bowling Green-based district, since 2009. He is a member of the Republican Party. He previously served in the Kentucky Senate.-Early life, education, and career:...

, Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
Michael Richard Pompeo is the U.S. Representative for . He is a member of the Republican Party. He has also served as a Kansas representative on the Republican National Committee.-Early life, education, and early career:...

 and John Shimkus
John Shimkus
John Mondy Shimkus is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1997. He is a member of the Republican Party....

.

The academy has produced many notable generals during its 209 years. During the Civil War, graduates included Hood
John Bell Hood
John Bell Hood was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. Hood had a reputation for bravery and aggressiveness that sometimes bordered on recklessness...

, Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
ຄຽשת״ׇׂׂׂׂ֣|birth_place= Clarksburg, Virginia |death_place=Guinea Station, Virginia|placeofburial=Stonewall Jackson Memorial CemeteryLexington, Virginia|placeofburial_label= Place of burial|image=...

, Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

, Meade, Sheridan, Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

, and Stuart
J.E.B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was a U.S. Army officer from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. He was known to his friends as "Jeb", from the initials of his given names. Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use...

. George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class...

 graduated last in his class of 1861. The Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

 saw the first combat service of Lt. (later, Brigadier General) John "Gatling Gun" Parker
John Henry Parker (General)
General John Henry Parker aka "Gatling Gun Parker" was a brigadier general in the United States Army. He is best known for his role as the commander of the Gatling Gun Detachment of the U.S...

, the first Army officer to employ machine guns in offensive fire support of infantry (In 1918, Parker would become the only Army infantry officer in World War I to win the Distinguished Service Cross four times for valor in combat).

During World War I, the academy produced General of the Armies John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

. During World War II, West Point was the alma mater of Arnold
Henry H. Arnold
Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was an American general officer holding the grades of General of the Army and later General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air Corps , Commanding General of the U.S...

, Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

, Clark
Mark Wayne Clark
Mark Wayne Clark was an American general during World War II and the Korean War and was the youngest lieutenant general in the U.S. Army...

, Eichelberger
Robert L. Eichelberger
Robert Lawrence Eichelberger was a general in the United States Army, who commanded the US Eighth Army in the South West Pacific Area during World War II. His Army was among the very first to engage the Japanese in the Pacific Theater of Operations.-Pre-World War II service:Eichelberger was born...

, Gavin
James M. Gavin
James Maurice "Jumpin' Jim" Gavin was a prominent Lieutenant General in the United States Army during World War II...

, Groves
Leslie Groves
Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves, Jr. was a United States Army Corps of Engineers officer who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II. As the son of a United States Army chaplain, Groves lived at a...

, MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

, Patton
George S. Patton
George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army officer best known for his leadership while commanding corps and armies as a general during World War II. He was also well known for his eccentricity and controversial outspokenness.Patton was commissioned in the U.S. Army after his graduation from...

, Stillwell
Joseph Stilwell
General Joseph Warren Stilwell was a United States Army four-star General known for service in the China Burma India Theater. His caustic personality was reflected in the nickname "Vinegar Joe"...

, Taylor
Maxwell D. Taylor
General Maxwell Davenport "Max" Taylor was an United States Army four star general and diplomat of the mid-20th century, who served as the fifth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after having been appointed by the President of the United States John F...

, Van Fleet
James Van Fleet
James Alward Van Fleet was a U.S. Army officer during World War I, World War II and the Korean War. Van Fleet was a native of New Jersey, who was raised in Florida and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy. He served as a regimental, divisional and corps commander during World War II and as...

, and Wainwright
Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV
Jonathan Mayhew "Skinny" Wainwright IV was a career American army officer and the commander of Allied forces in the Philippines at the time of their surrender to the Empire of Japan during World War II...

, with many of these graduates also serving in commanding roles in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, notable graduates general officers included Abrams
Creighton Abrams
Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. was a general in the United States Army who commanded military operations in the Vietnam War from 1968–72 which saw U.S. troop strength in Vietnam fall from a peak of 543,000 to 49,000. He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1972 until shortly...

, Moore
Hal Moore
Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore, Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army and author. Moore is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second highest military decoration of the United States Army, and was the first of his West Point class to be promoted to...

, and Westmoreland
William Westmoreland
William Childs Westmoreland was a United States Army General, who commanded US military operations in the Vietnam War at its peak , during the Tet Offensive. He adopted a strategy of attrition against the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam and the North Vietnamese Army. He later served as...

. West Point also produced some famous generals and statesmen of recent note including Abizaid
John Abizaid
John Philip Abizaid, AO is a retired General in the United States Army and former Commander of the United States Central Command , overseeing American military operations in a 27-country region, from the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, to South and Central Asia, covering much of the Middle...

, Clark
Wesley Clark
Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr., is a retired general of the United States Army. Graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and later graduated from the...

, Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

, McCaffrey
Barry McCaffrey
Barry Richard McCaffrey is a retired United States Army general, former U.S. Drug Czar, news commentator, and business consultant....

, Schwarzkopf
Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.
General Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf KCB , also known as "Stormin' Norman" and "The Bear", is a retired United States Army General who, while he served as Commander of U.S. Central Command, was commander of the Coalition Forces in the Gulf War of 1991.-Early life:Schwarzkopf was born in Trenton, New...

, and Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft, KBE was the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National...

. The commander of United States Forces - Iraq, General Lloyd Austin and commander U.S. Forces Afghanistan, General David Petraeus
David Petraeus
David Howell Petraeus is the current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, sworn in on September 6, 2011. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a four-star general serving over 37 years in the United States Army. His last assignments in the Army were as commander...

 are graduates. A total of 74 graduates have been awarded the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

.

West Point has produced 18 NASA astronauts, including five who went to the Moon. Other noted alumni include Jim Kimsey
Jim Kimsey
James V. "Jim" Kimsey was the co-founder, CEO, and first chairman of internet service provider America Online .-Early life:...

, founder of AOL; Bob McDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble is a Fortune 500 American multinational corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio and manufactures a wide range of consumer goods....

; Keith McLoughlin
Keith McLoughlin
Keith R. McLoughlin, born 1956, is President and CEO of Electrolux as of January 1, 2011. Most recently, McLoughlin was Chief Operations Officer responsible for R&D, Manufacturing and Purchasing for Electrolux Major Appliances....

, President and CEO of Electrolux
Electrolux
The Electrolux Group is a Swedish appliance maker.As of 2010 the 2nd largest home appliance manufacturer in the world after Whirlpool, its products sell under a variety of brand names including its own and are primarily major appliances and vacuum cleaners...

; Alden Partridge
Alden Partridge
Alden Partridge, was an American author, legislator, officer, surveyor, an early superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and a controversial pioneer in U.S...

, founder of Norwich University
Norwich University
Norwich University is a private university located in Northfield, Vermont . The university was founded in 1819 at Norwich, Vermont, as the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy. It is the oldest of six Senior Military Colleges, and is recognized by the United States Department of...

; and Oliver O. Howard
Oliver O. Howard
Oliver Otis Howard was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War...

, founder of Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

. West Point's contributions to sport include three Heisman Trophy
Heisman Trophy
The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award , is awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football. It was created in 1935 as the Downtown Athletic Club trophy and renamed in 1936 following the death of the Club's athletic director, John Heisman The Heisman Memorial...

 winners: Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard
Doc Blanchard
Felix Anthony "Doc" Blanchard is best known as the college football player who became the first ever junior to win the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award and was the first ever football player to win the James E. Sullivan Award, all in 1945. He played football for the United States Military Academy at...

, and Pete Dawkins
Pete Dawkins
Peter Miller Dawkins is a Heisman Trophy winner, Rhodes Scholar, U.S. Army Brigadier General, and Republican candidate for Senate. He is the former vice chairman of Citigroup Private Bank.-Early life, education and athletic career:...

. West Point has produced many high government officials, including Brent Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft
Brent Scowcroft, KBE was the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National...

, the former National Security Advisor under Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush, and Eric Shinseki
Eric Shinseki
Eric Ken Shinseki is a retired United States Army four-star general who is currently serving as the 7th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. His final U.S. Army post was as the 34th Chief of Staff of the Army...

, the current Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Among American universities, the academy is fourth on the list of total winners for Rhodes Scholarships, seventh for Marshall Scholarships and fourth on the list of Hertz Fellowships
Hertz Foundation
The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation is an American non-profit organization that awards fellowships to Ph.D. students in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences. It is considered to be the most competitive and prestigious graduate fellowship in science and engineering. The...

. The official alumni association of West Point is the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG or AOG), headquartered at Herbert Hall.

See also

  • West Point Cadets' Sword
    West Point Cadets' Sword
    West Point Cadets' Swords are swords traditionally worn by cadet NCOs and Officers of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. They are issued only to NCOs and Officers for official ceremonies such as parades, formations, and drills...


External links