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- ABOUT THE ACADEMY
Since its founding over two centuries ago, the military academy has accomplished its mission by developing cadets in four critical areas: intellectual, physical, military, and moral-ethical - a four-year process called the "West Point Experience." Specific developmental goals are addressed through several fully coordinated and integrated programs.
A challenging Academic Program that offers 37 majors provides a balanced education in the arts and sciences. All cadets receive a Bachelor of Science degree, which is designed specifically to meet the intellectual requirements of a commissioned officer in today's Army.
The Physical Program at West Point includes both physical education classes and competitive athletics. Every cadet participates in an intercollegiate, club or intramural level sport each semester. This rigorous physical program contributes to the mental and physical fitness that is required for service as an officer in the Army.
Cadets learn basic military skills, including leadership, through a demanding Military Program which begins on their first day at West Point . Most military training takes place during the summer, with new cadets undergoing Cadet Basic Training the first year, followed by Cadet Field Training at nearby Camp Buckner the second year. Cadets spend their third and fourth summers serving in active Army units around the world; attending advanced training courses such as airborne, air assault or northern warfare; or training the first and second year cadets as members of the leadership cadre. Military training is combined with military science instruction to provide a solid military foundation for officership.
Moral-ethical development occurs throughout the formal programs as well as a host of activities and experiences available at the military academy . These include formal instruction in the important values of the military profession, voluntary religious programs, interaction with staff and faculty role models, and a vigorous guest speaker program. The foundation of the ethical code at West Point is found in the Academy's motto, "Duty, Honor, Country." Cadets also develop ethically by adhering to the Cadet Honor Code, which states "A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."
Admission is open to all young men and women, and is extremely competitive. Candidates must receive a nomination from a member of Congress or from the Department of the Army. They are then evaluated on their academic, physical and leadership potential. Those candidates who are fully qualified receive appointments to the academy.
The life of a cadet is demanding, but leisure time does permit recreational activities such as golf, skiing, sailing, and ice-skating. Intramural clubs include a cadet radio station, orienteering, rock climbing, and Big Brothers-Big Sisters. A wide variety of religious activities are available to cadets from virtually all religious backgrounds.
From the day of its founding on March 16, 1802 , West Point has grown in its size and stature, but it remains committed to the task of producing commissioned leaders of character for America 's Army. Today, the academy graduates more than 900 new officers annually, which represents approximately 20 percent of the new lieutenants required by the Army each year. The student body, or Corps of Cadets, numbers 4,400, of whom approximately 20 percent are women.
A favorite expression at West Point is that "much-of the history we teach was made by people we taught." Great leaders such as Grant and Lee, Pershing and MacArthur, Eisenhower and Patton, Westmoreland and Schwarzkopf are among the more than 60,000 graduates of the military academy . Countless others have served society in the fields of medicine, law, business, politics, and science following their careers in uniform.
Ever mindful of its rich heritage, West Point continues to prepare its graduates to serve as commissioned leaders of character in America 's 21st Century Army. Guided by its timeless motto, “Duty, Honor, Country,” the Academy is poised confidently to provide the Army and the nation with its third century of service.
The Academy is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River . The campus and central post area comprise only a small portion of the nearly 16,000 acre reservation.
To be considered for admission to West Point , a candidate must be at least 17 but not yet 23 years old on July 1st of the year of admission, be unmarried, and have no legal obligation to support children. Candidates must be qualified academically, medically, and physically, and must receive a nomination from an approved source, such as a member of Congress.
Corps of Cadets
The 4,400 members of the Corps of Cadets represent every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries. About 1,200 New Cadets enter the academy on Reception Day each year (about July 1st).
In addition to a core curriculum, balanced in the arts and sciences, and a required five-course engineering sequence, cadets may select from 37 majors. Classes are small, usually 18 students, and the faculty to student ratio is 1:6.
Over 100 extracurricular activities are available, including religious, hobby, and sports clubs.
Upon graduation, cadets are awarded Bachelor of Science degrees and commissions in the U.S. Army. They serve on active duty for a minimum of five years. West Point graduates have served our country in a variety of capacities for more than 200 years, as military leaders, engineers, explorers on land and in space, and as leaders in business and government.
- ADMISSIONS TO THE ACADEMY
Mission: "To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."
Program: The four-year integrated academic, military and physical development programs are conducted in a strong moral-ethical environment grounded in the bedrock values of integrity and respect for others.
Location: The Academy is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City on the west bank of the Hudson River in Orange County , New York . West Point is America 's oldest, continuously occupied military installation, first garrisoned on January 20, 1778 . The U.S. Military Academy was established by an Act of Congress on March 16, 1802.
Cadets: The 4,400 members of the Corps of Cadets represent every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries. About 1200 New Cadets enter the Academy on Reception Day each year (about July 1st). Approximately 15 percent of the Corps of Cadets are women.
Admission: To be considered for admission to West Point , a candidate must be at least 17 but not yet 23 years of age on July 1st of the year of admission, be unmarried and have no legal obligation to support children. Candidates must be qualified academically, medically, and physically, and must receive a nomination from an approved source, such as a member of Congress.
Academic: In addition to core curriculum, balanced in the arts and sciences, and a required five-course engineering sequence, cadets may select from 37 majors. Classes are small, usually 18 students, and the faculty to student ratio is 1:6.
Military: Cadets participate in Cadet Basic Training their first summer and Cadet Field Training their second. During their third and fourth summers, they act as cadre for the first two classes or participate in military or academic programs worldwide.
Physical: Physical education and athletic participation occur throughout the four years, with 25 varsity sports and numerous intramural and club sports available.
Activities: Over 100 extracurricular activities are available, including religious, hobby and sports clubs.
Graduation: Upon graduation, cadets are awarded Bachelor of Science degrees and commissions in the U.S. Army. They serve on active duty for a minimum of five years. West Point graduates have served our country in a variety of capacities for more than 200 years, as military leaders, engineers, explorers on land and in space, and as leaders in business and government.
Director of Admissions, 606 Thayer Road, West Point, N.Y. 10996-1797
(845) 446-3021 (Fax)
- ADMISSION OF WOMEN TO USMA
On October 8, 1975 , the President of the United States signed into law a bill directing that women would be admitted to America ’s service academies. The law stated that:
“. . . the Secretaries of the military departments concerned shall take such action as may be necessary and appropriate to insure that (1) female individuals shall be eligible for appointment and admission to the service academy concerned, beginning in calendar year 1976, and (2) “the academic and other relevant standards required for appointment, (admission) training, graduation and commissioning of female individuals shall be the same as those required for male individuals, except for those minimum essential adjustments in such standards required because of physiological differences between male and female individuals.”
In preparation for the entrance of women, Military Academy staff, faculty and cadets visited many locations, such as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (which admitted women in the Summer of 1974); the Women’s Army Corps Training Center at Fort McClellan, Ala.; Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) summer camps where women ROTC cadets were undergoing rigorous field training along with men; coeducational police academies; women’s sports camps; and civilian colleges. The visits developed as accurate a database as possible, so that decisions concerning women’s admission would be sound.
In the spring of 1975, then-Secretary of the Army Howard H. Callaway issued specific guidance concerning West Point ’s planning for the possible admission of women. He stated that as a basic philosophical approach, men and women cadets would follow one track during their cadet experience with only those minimum essential adjustments demanded by physiological differences between men and women. The Military Academy agreed with that philosophy, since it preserved important strengths of West Point , such as the unity of the Corps of Cadets and the commonalty of experience shared by all cadets.
- BRIEF HISTORY OF WEST POINT
West Point's role in our nation's history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River . General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America . Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga , to design the fortifications for West Point in l778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in l779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a 100-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Benedict Arnold's treason. West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.
Several soldiers and legislators, including Washington, Knox, Hamilton and John Adams, desiring to eliminate America 's wartime reliance on foreign engineers and artillerists, urged the creation of an institution devoted to the arts and sciences of warfare.
President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy in 1802. He took this action after ensuring that those attending the Academy would be representative of a democratic society.
Colonel Sylvanus Thayer, the "father of the Military Academy ," served as Superintendent from l8l7-l833. He upgraded academic standards, instilled military discipline and emphasized honorable conduct. Aware of our young nation's need for engineers, Thayer made civil engineering the foundation of the curriculum. For the first half century, USMA graduates were largely responsible for the construction of the bulk of the nation's initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads.
After gaining experience and national recognition during the Mexican and Indian wars, West Point graduates dominated the highest ranks on both sides during the Civil War. Academy graduates, headed by generals such as Grant, Lee, Sherman and Jackson, set high standards of military leadership for both the North and South.
The development of other technical schools in the post-Civil War period allowed West Point to broaden its curriculum beyond a strict civil engineering focus. Following the creation of Army post-graduate command and staff schools, the Military Academy came to be viewed as the first step in a continuing Army education.
In World War I, Academy graduates again distinguished themselves on the battlefield. After the war, Superintendent Douglas MacArthur sought to diversify the academic curriculum. In recognition of the intense physical demands of modern warfare, MacArthur pushed for major changes in the physical fitness and intramural athletic programs. "Every cadet an athlete" became an important goal. Additionally, the cadet management of the Honor System, long an unofficial tradition, was formalized with the creation of the Cadet Honor Committee.
Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Arnold, Clark, Patton, Stilwell and Wainwright were among an impressive array of Academy graduates who met the challenge of leadership in the Second World War. The postwar period again saw sweeping revisions to the West Point curriculum resulting from the dramatic developments in science and technology, the increasing need to understand other cultures and the rising level of general education in the Army.
In 1964, President Johnson signed legislation increasing the strength of the Corps of Cadets from 2,529 to 4,417. To keep up with the growth of the Corps, a major expansion of facilities began shortly thereafter.
In concert with the increasing role of minorities and women in society and the military over the past three decades, greater numbers of minorities and the first women were brought to the Military Academy and the Corps of Cadets. Their presence has enhanced the quality and maintained the traditional representativeness of the institution.
In recent decades, the Academy's curricular structure was markedly changed to permit cadets to major in any one of more than a dozen fields, including a wide range of subjects from the sciences to the humanities.
Academy graduates are awarded a bachelor of science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, serving a minimum of five years on active duty.
The Academy celebrated its 200th year anniversary in 2002. Today, it continues to ensure that all programs and policies support the needs of the Army and nation now as well as in the foreseeable future. The Academy, with its long and noble history, remains an energetic, vibrant institution that attracts some of the best and brightest young men and women. It offers a challenging and comprehensive array of opportunities while retaining its enduring commitment to Duty, Honor, Country.
- COAT OF ARMS AND MOTTO
“Duty, Honor, Country,” a striking expression of West Point ’s time-honored ideals, is the motto of the U.S. Military Academy and is imbedded in its coat of arms.
Though not as old as the institution they represent, the USMA coat of arms, also referred to as the seal, and motto have a long and interesting history.
According to archival records, the coat of arms and motto were adopted in 1898. Col. Charles W. Larned, professor of drawing, headed a committee to design a coat of arms for the Academy and stated several criteria for the design. The committee decided that the design should represent the national character of the Academy, its military function, its educational function and its spirit and objectives.
Symbolism in the Coat of Arms
The committee began with the creation of an emblem that consisted of a sword, a universal symbol of war, and the helmet of Pallas Athena. Athena, a fully armed mythological goddess, is associated with the arts of war, and her helmet signifies wisdom and learning. The emblem is attached to a shield, bearing the arms of the United States, and on the shield’s crest is a bald eagle, the national symbol. The eagle’s claws hold 13 arrows representing the 13 original states and oak and olive branches, traditional symbols of peace.
Duty, Honor, Country
The eagle is grasping a scroll bearing the words “West Point, MDCCCII (1802), USMA,” and the motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” The motto as such was never previously stated, but in writings of early superintendents, professors and graduates, one is struck by the recurrence of the words “duty,” “honor” and “country.” Colonel Larned’s committee believed Duty, Honor, Country represented simply, but eloquently, the ideals of West Point.
The committee did not express an opinion as to the relative importance of the three words; however, there is perhaps significance in the fact that “honor” is in the center of the motto. As Maj. Gen. Bryant Moore noted in a 1951 article in Assembly magazine, “honor” forms the keystone of the arch of the three ideals on which West Point is founded.
The coat of arms was used without change until 1923, when Captain George Chandler, of the War Department, pointed out to Superintendent Brig. Gen. Fred Sladen that the eagle and helmet faced to the heraldic sinister side. The helmet, eagle’s head and sword were soon turned to their current position.
Since 1923, the coat of arms has been in regular use at West Point and is carved on many of the older buildings. In 1980, the coat of arms was registered with the Library of Congress as an “identifiable logo” for the Academy.
- COLORS AND COLOR GUARD
From the outset, military organizations have carried distinctive symbols; for many centuries these were banners. As military organizations were refined, regiments were formed and flags, which used distinctive colors and devices, were designed to represent the different regiments. These flags became known as Colors. Important in early military tactics, colors were used as a means of controlling the unit, as a symbol of its spirit, and as a rallying point, if need be, in battle.
Although the U.S. Military Academy was established in 1802, Corps Colors weren’t established until 1812, when regulations for parades and drill at the Academy were established.
In 1831, a stand of colors was issued to the Corps of Cadets, patterned after the flags given by the City of Boston , but differing in detail. The motto, “Essayons,” which is the slogan of the Corps of Engineers, the branch of the Army that administered the Military Academy at that time, appeared on this flag. This flag is located today in the West Point Museum.
Coat Of Arms and Emblem of the U.S. Military Academy
In 1899, because of a need for distinctive colors to represent Academy intercollegiate athletic teams, the colors black, gold and gray were officially adopted.
The Corps of Cadets first carried a flag similar to the Corps Color of today in 1902 during the Centennial Celebrations of the U.S. Military Academy.
In 1922, the orientation of the eagle and helmet on the shield of the Academy’s Coat of Arms was changed for symbolic and heraldic correctness.
Colors were presented to the Corps of Cadets by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1928 and 1929. The plaque and staff “pike heads” presented by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are on display in the office of the Commandant of Cadets.
Many of the former members of the Cadet Color Guard have lead distinguished military careers and made significant contributions to our nation’s history. Notable among these have been Dwight David Eisenhower, thirty-fourth president of the United States.
On May 11, 1957 , then Secretary of the Army, Wilber M. Brucker, presented the Army Color to the U.S. Military Academy.
The Army flag has been carried by the Academy’s Color Guard since that time. The Army flag now has 174 battle-streamers that commemorate battles from Yorktown to Kosovo.
The Bicentennial flag was added to the colors on Aug. 18, 2001 . The flag consists of the Bicentennial Crest. The crest is an update of the crest that was used when the Military Academy celebrated its 150-year anniversary in 1952. The crest consists of the USMA emblem, the years 1802 and 2002, and the words “ West Point ” and “Bicentennial.” A sword, a universal symbol of war, and the helmet of Pallas Athena, signifying wisdom and learning, constitute the emblem.
Today the Color Guard carries the “Colors” of the United States, our Army and the Military Academy in a long line of tradition.
- FEDERAL SERVICE ACADEMIES' SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION PROGRAMS
- THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point is "to educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."
- SELECTED LIST OF NOTEWORTHY GRADUATES
CLASS OF 1808
"Father of the Military Academy,” Thayer originated technical education in America and established the education and discipline philosophies still followed at the Academy.
CLASS OF 1815
BENJAMIN L.E. BONNEVILLE
Bonneville explored and mapped the Great Salt Lake and the Green, Snake, Salmon and Yellowstone Rivers, venturing into the unknown American West.
CLASS OF 1818
Webster founded Hobart College in 1822. He later founded and served as president of City College of New York from 1848-69.
CLASS OF 1819
GEORGE WASHINGTON WHISTLER
An eminent civil engineer, Whistler was chosen by the Czar of Russia to build a railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
CLASS OF 1824
DENNIS HART MAHAN
A distinguished educator and writer, Mahan taught the science of war to numerous Army officers.
CLASS OF 1827
The Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana; served as Lieutenant General in the Confederate States Army.
CLASS OF 1828
Davis served as an Army officer, a U.S. Senator from Mississippi , and as Secretary of War from 1853-57. He later served as the only president of the Confederate States of America from 1862-65.
CLASS OF 1829
ROBERT E. LEE
Lee, the Academy’s ninth Superintendent from 1852-55, was a model cadet during his four years at West Point . He graduated second in his class and never earned a single demerit during his four years at the Academy. At the beginning of the Civil War, he was selected to serve as Commanding General of the Army, but instead resigned his commission and was named General-In-Chief of the Confederate Army from 1861-65. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant, class of 1843, at Appomattox Court House, Va., ended the Civil War. Fort Lee, Va., was named in his honor.
CLASS OF 1832
Ewell served during the Civil War in the Confederate States Army. He was also President of Wm. & Mary College from 1854 to 1888.
CLASS OF 1835
GEORGE G. MEADE
Meade served during the Civil War as commander of the Army of the Potomac from 1863-65. During this time, his army defeated Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg, Va, Fort George G. Meade, Md., was named in his honor.
Sedgwick was the Commander of the Union VI Corps during the Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania.
CLASS OF 1837
Bragg fought under the command of future president Zachary Taylor during the Mexican Wars. He later served under Lee in the Confederate Army. Fort Bragg, N.C., was named in his honor.
CLASS OF 1840
WILLIAM T. SHERMAN
Sherman served under Ulysses S. Grant, Class of 1843, during the Civil War and led the historic “March to the Sea,” from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Savannah, Ga.; during the march, Sherman’s forces burned Atlanta, Ga., to the ground. He later served as Commanding General of the Army from 1869-83. The Sherman battle tank was named in his honor.
GEORGE HENRY THOMAS
Thomas commanded the Army of the Cumberland during the Civil War.
CLASS OF 1843
ULYSSES S. GRANT
Grant distinguished himself during the Civil War at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863; his victory secured control of the Mississippi River for the Union. Lincoln later appointed him Commanding General of the Army in March 1864. On April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Va., Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to him, ending the Civil War. He later served as the 18th President of the United States from 1869-77. Today, his image is immortalized on the $50 bill.
CLASS OF 1846
THOMAS J. “STONEWALL” JACKSON
Jackson served as a Lieutenant General and a Corps commander of the Confederate Army. He was accidentally killed by friendly fire at Chancellorsville.
GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN
Graduating second in his class, McClellan served as Commanding General of the Army from 1861-62. He was nominated for President in 1864, and served as governor of his home state of N.J., from 1878-1881. Fort McClellan, Ala., was named in his honor.
GEORGE E. PICKETT
At Gettysburg, Pa., in 1863, Pickett led more than 4,500 Confederate troops over half a mile of broken ground against withering artillery and musket fire. With parade drill precision they descended one slope, ascended the next, and assaulted the formidable Union line only to be forced back in defeat. Less than one fourth of the troops returned from the charge. The event, which was later called "Pickett's Charge," proved to be a turning point in the war. He continued to serve the Confederacy with great devotion throughout 1864 and 1865. Fort Pickett, Va., was named in his honor.
CLASS OF 1847
AMBROSE P. HILL
Hill is best known for his performance as an aggressive Confederate division commander who could move his troops at astonishing speeds. His finest hour was the forced march from Harper's Ferry to Antietam, which saved Lee's Army during the Civil War. In May of 1863, Lee described Hill as “the best soldier of his grade with me.” Fort A. P. Hill, Va., was named in his honor.
CLASS OF 1853
PHILIP H. SHERIDAN
Sheridan is remembered as one of the most stalwart and offensive-minded soldiers that served in the American Army. His leadership and courage under fire directly contributed to the Union victory in the Civil War. He later succeeded Sherman as Commanding General of the Army. The Sheridan battle tank was named in his honor.
CLASS OF 1854
OLIVER O. HOWARD
Howard was founder and president of Howard University in 1867.
JAMES E. B. STUART
As a cavalry officer and later as commanding general of cavalry in the Confederate Army, Stuart distinguished himself and his cavalry brigade for acts of valor and gallantry. He fought in many fierce battles, including the Battle of Seven Pines; he led multiple raids on Gen. Ewell's depots; he protected the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg. He was killed during a battle against forces commanded by Sheridan.
CLASS OF May 1861
Upton's extensive combat experience began at the Battle of Bull Run. He fought in the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and assumed command of the 121st New York Volunteer Infantry. The battle of Spotsylvania in 1864 was Upton's defining moment; Upton devised a tactic of attacking in column formation rather than in linear formation. He served with Sherman in the "March to the Sea" and the burning of Atlanta. He later served as the Academy’s 19th Commandant of Cadets from 1870-75.
CLASS OF June 1861
GEORGE A. CUSTER
After establishing a reputation of daring and brilliance in battle, Custer served as an aide to Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, Class of 1846, during the Peninsular Campaign and was commissioned a brigadier general at the age of 23. After conducting several successful operations in 1864, he was placed at the head of the 3rd Division, Calvary Corps, and was brevetted major general of volunteers. In 1876, he and his regiment of 655 men were defeated at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
CLASS OF 1877
HENRY OSSIAN FLIPPER
Flipper was the first African-American to graduate from the Academy.
CLASS OF 1880
GEORGE WASHINGTON GOETHALS
Goethals became an architect and was builder of the Panama Canal, 1904-14.
CLASS OF 1886
JOHN J. “BLACKJACK” PERSHING
Considered the second most senior officer in Army history, behind only George Washington, Pershing served as commander of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. The two million-plus troops of the AEF made a decisive contribution to the defeat of Imperial Germany. Pershing's abilities as a leader distinguished him among European commanders, and through repeated successes on the battlefield, promoted American prestige around the world. He served as Army Chief of Staff in 1921, and was named General of the Armies of the United States by Congress upon his retirement in 1924.
CLASS OF 1889
Barrios, the Academy’s first international cadet to graduate, went on to serve as Guatemala’s minister of public works.
CLASS OF 1903
After World War I, MacArthur returned to West Point to serve as the Academy’s 31st Superintendent from 1919-22. During that time, he was responsible for the revitalization of the Academy. He was later promoted to General of the Army and served as Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific Theater during World War II. During this time, he received the Medal of Honor for leading defense preparation and operations on the Philippine Islands. He later served as Supreme Allied Commander, Japan, and as commander, United Nations Command in the Far East. He was one of only five officers to be promoted to General of the Army (five stars).
CLASS OF 1906
ADNA R. CHAFFEE, JR.
Chaffee is known as the “father of the Armor Branch.” Despite a lifelong love of horses and riding, he spearheaded the movement of the American Army into "armored warfare."
CLASS OF 1907
HENRY H. "HAP" ARNOLD
Arnold was the pre-eminent U.S. military aviator. His vision and determination were instrumental in the establishment of the U.S. Army Air Corps (which later became the U.S. Air Force) and the development of the strategy of air warfare. He was one of only five officers to be promoted to General of the Army (five stars), and later served as the only General of the Air Force after its creation in 1949.
CLASS OF 1909
GEORGE S. PATTON, JR.
“Old Blood and Guts” Patton was one of the most colorful commanders in the Army. During World War II the famed commander of the 2nd Armored Division and later the Third Army displayed courage and daring as prominently as the pair of ivory handled revolvers he wore. Patton accomplished one of the most remarkable feats in military history in December 1944, when he quickly turned the Third Army northward to reinforce the Allied southern flank against the German attack in the Battle of the Bulge. The General's doctrine of aggressive employment of massive armor forces continue to prove themselves in combat arenas around the world.
CLASS OF 1915
OMAR N. BRADLEY
During his career, Bradley earned a reputation as one of the best infantry commanders in World War II. He commanded the 82nd Airborne and 28th Infantry Divisions before going on to command the 1st Army and the 12th Army Group. After the war he served as Army Chief of Staff from 1948-49 and served as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1949-53. He was the last Army officer to be promoted to General of the Army (five stars), and the Bradley fighting vehicle is named in his honor.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
During World War II, Eisenhower served as Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Europe from 1943-44, during which he lead the D-Day invasion of Europe. During that time, he was promoted to General of the Army (five stars.) After the war, he served as Army Chief of Staff from 1945-48, president of Columbia University in 1948. He served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953-61. He was one of only five officers to be promoted to General of the Army (five stars.)
: Of the 164 graduates of the Class of 1915, 59 achieved the rank of Brigadier General or higher, the most ever in a class.
CLASS OF April 1917
MARK W. CLARK
Clark succeeded Ridgway as U.S. and Supreme Allied Commander, Far East, from 1952-53. He successfully negotiated the armistice with the Communist forces in North Korea in July 1953, and later served as president of The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C., from 1954-65.
MATTHEW B. RIDGWAY
Ridgway served in many positions during World War II, including commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division and commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Later, he served as U.S. and Supreme Allied Commander, Far East, from 1951-52, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1952-53, and Army Chief of Staff from 1953-55.
CLASS OF 1922
MAXWELL D. TAYLOR
Commanded the 101st Airborne Division on D-Day, and during the Battle of the Bugle and the drive through Germany. Taylor served as Superintendent, USMA, 1945-49. He returned to Germany as U.S. Commander, Berlin, 1949-51, then took command of the Eighth Army, Korea, 1953-54. Taylor was Army Chief of Staff, 1955-59 and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1962-64; after retirement in 1964, with the rank of General, Taylor served as U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1964.
CLASS OF 1929
FRANK D. MERRILL
Commanded the 5307th Composite Unit, also known as Merrill's Marauders, in 1944. Following World War II, Merrill served as Chief of Staff of the Western Defense Command, and later served as Chief of Staff and as Commander of the 6th Army. In 1947, he became deputy Chief of the American Military Advisory Mission to the Philippines.
CLASS OF 1933
WILLIAM O. DARBY
Darby organized and commanded the 1st U.S. Army Ranger Battalion in 1942. From 2,000 volunteers, Darby selected and trained 500 Rangers that successfully operated in North Africa and Tunisia. Darby trained and organized two more Ranger Battalions in 1943. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Ranger Battalions were known as "Darby's Rangers," and were famous for their endeavors in the Sicilian and Italian campaigns. He was killed while leading a task force from the 10th Mountain Division in Northern Italy and posthumously promoted to brigadier general.
CLASS OF 1936
CREIGHTON W. ABRAMS, JR.
Abrams commanded the 37th Tank Battalion in World War II. He served in the Korean War as a Corps Chief of Staff and commanded at all levels from regiment through corps. General Abrams commanded the U.S. Army Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, from 1968 to 1972. He successfully ensured the safe withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam at the end of the conflict. Appointed Chief of Staff of the Army in 1972, he guided the rebuilding of the Army. The Abrams main battle tank is named in his honor.
CLASS OF 1941
ALEXANDER R. NININGER
Killed before his 24th birthday, Alexander "Sandy" Nininger died a hero. His heroism, character and commitment to the West Point ideals of Duty, Honor and Country made him worthy of emulation by future Army Officers. Nininger single-handedly charged into the enemy positions with a rifle, grenades and fixed bayonet. For his heroism "above and beyond the call of duty," President Roosevelt posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor. In his honor for outstanding leadership and the virtues he embodied, the Corps of Cadets named the First Division of Cadet Barracks in his memory.
WILLIAM T. SEAWELL
After graduation, Seawell served as a pilot with the Army Air Force, which later became the U.S. Air Force. He served as commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1961-63. He later served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer for Pan Am Airways.
CLASS OF 1946
Pomerantz served as the Special Assistant for Science and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, from 1962-69. Later, he served as president of Holiday Inns of America from 1969-72.
WESLEY W. POSVAR
Posvar, a Rhodes scholar, served as chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh from 1967-91.
CLASS OF 1947
FELIX A. BLANCHARD
Blanchard won the 1945 Heisman Trophy. He is one of only three Heisman Trophy recipients in Army football history.
GLENN W. DAVIS
Davis won the 1946 Heisman Trophy. He is one of only three Heisman Trophy recipients in Army football history.
ALEXANDER M. HAIG, JR.
Haig served as Chief of Staff to President Nixon from 1973-74; Supreme Allied Commander in Europe 1974-79; President of United Technologies Corporation 1980-81 and Secretary of State during the Reagan administration from 1981-82.
Scowcroft served as military assistant to President Nixon in 1972. He later served as National Security Advisor during the first Bush administration from 1989-1992.
CLASS OF 1949
JOHN G. HAYES
Among Hayes’ many accomplishments, he served as president of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in 1963.
Puckett formed and commanded the 8th Army Ranger Company during the Korean War. Following the war, Puckett served as commander of the Mountain Ranger Division of the Ranger Department, and as the Ranger advisor in the U.S. Army Mission to Colombia where he planned and established the Colombian Army Ranger School.
CLASS OF 1950
An astronaut from 1962-70, Borman commanded the first circumlunar flight of the earth. He later served as president of Eastern Airlines.
FIDEL V. RAMOS
One of the Academy’s international cadets, Ramos served as a Philippine Army officer after graduation. He eventually became the country’s military’s Chief of Staff and later Secretary of National Defense. He later served as President of the Republic of the Philippines from 1992-1998.
CLASS OF 1951
EDWIN E. "BUZZ" ALDRIN
An astronaut from 1963-72, Aldrin participated in the first manned lunar landing with Michael Collins, class of 1952, and was the second man to walk on the moon.
ROSCOE ROBINSON, JR.
Robinson was the first African-American to be promoted to four-star general in the Army, and served with distinction in both Korea and Vietnam. He later served as the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division from 1976-78, commanding general, U.S. Army Japan from 1980-82, and as U.S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee from 1982-85.
CLASS OF 1952
An astronaut from 1964-70, Collins served with Aldrin during the first manned lunar landing. During the mission, he served as the command module pilot. He later served as the director of the National Air & Space Museum.
THORALF M. SUNDT, JR.
Sundt served as a doctor of Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic who became one of America’s premier neurosurgerons; Member of the National Academy of Sciences.
EDWARD WHITE II
An astronaut from 1962-67, White was the first man to walk in space. He was one of the three astronauts killed in the Apollo I disaster in 1967.
CLASS OF 1953
RANDOLPH V. ARASKOG
Araskog served as president and chairman of ITT Communications from 1979 and later as chairman and CEO from 1995-98.
CLASS OF 1954
JOHN R. GALVIN
Among his many position, Galvin served as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the Commander-in-Chief, United States European Command from 1987-1992.
CLASS OF 1956
H. NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF
As Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command from 1988-91, Schwarzkopf's command ultimately responded to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait with the largest U.S. deployment since the Vietnam War, including portions of the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps as well as units from dozens of nations around the world. The success of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm marked what former President George Bush hailed as "the beginning of a new era of internationalism." After retiring, Schwarzkopf received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
CLASS OF 1957
JOHN R. BLOCK
Block served as the Secretary of Agriculture from 1981-86 during the Reagan administration.
CLASS OF 1959
Dawkins won the 1958 Heisman Trophy. He is one of only three Heisman Trophy recipients in Army football history. He later served as chairman and CEO of Primerica.
CLASS OF 1962
JAMES V. KIMSEY
Kimsey was the founding chairman of America On Line, and in 1996 was named their chairman emeritus. He also founded the Kimsey Foundation in 1996.
CLASS OF 1964
BARRY R. MCCAFFREY
McCaffrey’s many positions during his 32 years of military service include serving as deputy U.S. Representative to NATO from 1988-89, and later as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Southern Command from 1994-96. After his retirement, he served as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Clinton administration from 1997-2001.
CLASS OF 1969
MICHAEL W. KRZYZEWSKI
Krzyzewski currently serves as the head men’s basketball coach for Duke University.
CLASS OF 1976
RICHARD MORALES, JR.
Morales was the first Hispanic cadet to serve as First Captain (cadet brigade commander).
CLASS OF 1980
VINCENT K. BROOKS
Brooks was the first African-American cadet to serve as First Captain (cadet brigade commander.)
ANDREA L. HOLLEN
Hollen was the first female to graduate from the Academy.
CLASS OF 1990
KRISTEN M. BAKER
Baker was the first female cadet to serve as First Captain (cadet brigade commander.)
CLASS OF 1995
REBECCA E. MARIER
Marier was the first female graduate to receive highest cadet performance score in all areas (academic, military, and physical programs) over four years.
- WEST POINT CADET UNIFORMS
Since the first cadets at USMA belonged to the artillery and engineers, they wore their uniform--a dark blue cutaway coat with scarlet facings, brass buttons, white or blue waistcoat and tight pantaloons, black leather boots, a large cocked hat with a black cockade and a scarlet feather.
In the summer of 1814, a small American Army, led by General Winfield Scott wearing gray, decisively defeated the British in upper Canada . Gray uniforms at once became badges of honor and the Academy decided to utilize the color gray in memory of Scott's victory. In 1816, the Secretary of War formally approved the use of gray uniforms for the Military Academy in recognition of General Scott and his gallant troops. There are few uniforms the world over so renowned as "cadet gray."
Cadets spend much of their time in some type of uniform or other. There is a different uniform for just about every activity and phase of a cadet's daily program. The basic uniform is the dress gray uniform.
In 1889, the gray blouse (jacket), trimmed down the front, around the bottom and up the back with black mohair braid one inch wide, was adopted to replace the gray shell and riding jackets. This same coat is worn today as a semi-dress uniform with either white or gray trousers. For many years it was the coat cadets knew best, for they wore it to class and most of the day.
The full dress coat was adopted in 1816 and has remained almost the same throughout the years. It is of swallow-tailed style and many of the small details of 1816 still exist today: black silk core on the breast, cuffs and coat-tails in herringbone form and three rows of gilt bullet buttons. This coat is made by hand in the Cadet Store Tailor Shop by highly skilled master craftsmen in much the same manner as their predecessors did a century and a half ago.
The cadet white uniform has been worn here since 1886. White pantaloons and trousers of various cuts and designs have been worn at the Military Academy since 1802. Authorized in 1913 and redesigned in 1959 to provide for conventional length and single rear vent, the current white uniforms are used primarily for social occasions during the May- September period. At the summer Camp Buckner encampment, they are worn for Saturday inspections and parades.
A combination of both the dress gray and white uniforms, the dress gray over white uniform is a familiar sight to visitors during the summer period. It is authorized for a multitude of occasions ranging from escorting to off-post wear. It consists of the dress gray coat worn over the dress white trousers or skirts if women cadets prefer.
Traditionally, cadets wore their dress gray uniform trousers and a gray flannel shirt to class. In 1947 the gray flannel was replaced with a tropical worsted wool shirt colored dark blue. Since that time it has been worn with the dress gray trousers as the regulation class uniform in lieu of the traditional dress gray uniform. When weather conditions necessitate, the gray gabardine jacket, authorized in 1946, is required for class formations. In 1980, the black pullover cardigan was authorized for wear when not in formation.
The drill uniform is the same as the class uniform except that it is worn under arms. The expression "under arms" mean that the cadets are carrying certain weapons and equipment, which may include sabers and sword belts, rifles, bayonets, first aid kits and cartridge belts.
The winters are long and hard at West Point so some type of heavy overcoat is needed much of the academic year. Overcoats were first issued to cadets in 1828; before that they wore any kind they pleased. "Such a mixture of scotch-plaid and camlet cloaks and cloth surtouts was probably never seen elsewhere on parade," one graduate recalled. Superintendent Thayer adopted the long gray overcoat in 1828 and it has changed only in the fact that the present overcoats are double-breasted. Women cadets have the option of wearing high leather boots with overcoats in winter.
The long gray overcoat is a traditional part of the cadet's uniform and has been copied by military schools throughout the country. It, like the full dress coat, is still made by hand in the Cadet Store Tailor Shop.
A short overcoat supplements the long overcoat and is generally prescribed for all informal occasions. First authorized in 1926 and worn until the early thirties, it was reintroduced in 1948. Accessories worn with it are the dress cap, gray leather gloves and muffler.
Rubberized raincoats (called mackintoshes) were first introduced in 1894 to supplement the long overcoat. Worn today with a dress cap and rubber cap cover, it still supplements the long overcoat, as well as the short one, in inclement weather. The raincoat is the only article of clothing that may be loaned to visitors.
In addition to the purely cadet uniforms, cadets also wear uniforms that are utilized Army-wide.
Cadets have a uniform for physical workouts and games called the gym uniform. It consists of black gym shorts and a white T -shirt with tennis shoes.
The admittance of women to the Military Academy necessitated the need for a uniform that was compatible with the traditional uniform worn by male cadets yet maintained a feminine style. Most of the uniforms of women cadets include a trousers/skirt combination with trousers worn in formation and skirts permissible for non- formation wear.
The cadet at West Point is nearly always in uniform during the academic week, and the United States Army sees to it that his or her uniforms are always the smartest and best uniforms that can be made. "A uniform for every day and the pride to wear it standing tall."
CREST COLORS WORN
Cadre (Officers and Enlisted) Blue