Appendix 1: United States Military Academy
Abridged from Wikipedia
The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in West Point, New York in Orange County. It sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City.
The Academy traces its roots to 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson directed, shortly after his inauguration, that plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy at West Point. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's Norman-style buildings are constructed from gray and black granite. The campus is a popular tourist destination complete with a large visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.
Candidates for admission must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a member of Congress or Delegate/Resident Commissioner in the case of Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. Other nomination sources include the President and Vice President of the United States. Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as "cadets" or collectively as the "United States Corps of Cadets" (USCC). 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 July, with about 1,000 cadets graduating.
The academic program grants a bachelor of science 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, 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 pillars of performance: academics, physical, and military.
Most graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army. 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 that they meet that service's eligibility standards. Every year, a very 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.
The academy's traditions have influenced other institutions because of its age and unique mission. It was the first American college to have an accredited civil-engineering program and the first 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 (NCAA) sports teams. Cadets compete in one sport every fall, winter, and spring season at the intramural, club, or intercollegiate level. Its football team 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 (as well as the President of the Confederate States of America), presidents of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, numerous famous generals, and seventy-five Medal of Honor recipients.
The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778; and it is the oldest continuously-operating Army post in the United States. Between 1778 and 1780, the Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kościuszko oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain and high ground above the narrow "S" curve in the river enabled the Continental Army to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and thus dividing the Colonies. While the fortifications at West Point were known as Fort Arnold during the war, as commander Benedict Arnold committed his act of treason, 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. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War, various ordnance and military stores were left deposited at West Point.
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. The first woman joined the faculty of the all-male institution amidst controversy in 1968. The Army granted its first honorable discharge in 1971 to a West Point cadet, Cary E. Donham, of Illinois, who applied for conscientious objector status in 1970. The academy struggled to fill its incoming classes as its graduates led troops in Southeast Asia, where 333 graduates died.
Following the 1973 end of 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
The academy is located approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City on the western bank of the Hudson River. West Point, New York, is incorporated as a federal military reservation in Orange County and is adjacent to Highland Falls. Based on the significance both of the Revolutionary War fort ruins and of the military academy itself, the majority of the academy area was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. In 1841, Charles Dickens 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, overlooks the Hudson River to the north, and is home to many captured cannon from past wars as well as the Stanford White-designed Battle Monument. Though the entire military reservation encompasses 15,974 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 was awarded a major construction contract that set the predominantly neogothic architectural style still seen today. Most of the buildings of the central cadet area are in this style, as typified by the Cadet Chapel, 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, Georgian, or English Tudor styles. A few buildings, such as Cullum Hall and the Old Cadet Chapel, are built in the Neoclassical style.
Candidates must be between 17 and 23 years old, unmarried, and with no legal obligation to support a child. Above average high school and/or previous college grades, and strong performance on standardized testing is expected. The interquartile range on the old SAT was 1100–1360 and 68% ranked in the top fifth of their high school class.
As all cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants upon graduation, military and leadership education is nested with academic instruction. Military training and discipline fall under the 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 transition from civilian to military life. Their second summer, cadets undergo cadet field training (CFT) at nearby Camp Buckner, where they train in 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 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. The schools include Airborne, Air Assault, Sapper, Pathfinder, etc.
Active duty officers in the rank of captain or major 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.
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 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."
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.
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 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. In 2002, the Memorial Class ring donor program began. Donations of class rings are melted and merged. A portion of the original gold is infused with gold from preceding melts to become part of the rings for each 'Firstie' class.
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 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 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 "hours" because as punishment, cadets must walk a specified number of hours in penalty. 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 "Central 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.
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 academy has produced just under 65,000 alumni, including two Presidents of the United States: Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower; the president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis; and three foreign heads of state: Anastasio Somoza Debayle of Nicaragua, Fidel V. Ramos of the Philippines, and José María Figueres of Costa Rica. Alumni currently serving in public office include Senator Jack Reed, Governor of Nebraska David Heineman, Governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards and Congressmen Geoff Davis, Brett Guthrie, Mike Pompeo and John Shimkus.
The academy has produced many notable generals during its 212 years. During the Civil War, graduates included John Bell Hood, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Simon Bolivar Buckner, James Longstreet, George G. Meade, Phillip Sheridan, William Tecumseh Sherman, J.E.B. Stuart and Oliver O. Howard George Armstrong Custer graduated last in his class of 1861. The Spanish–American War saw the first combat service of Lt. (later, Brigadier General) John "Gatling Gun" Parker, the first Army officer to employ machine guns in offensive fire support of infantry.
During World War I, the academy produced General of the Armies John J. Pershing. West Point was the alma mater of many notable World War II generals, Henry H. Arnold, Omar Bradley, Mark Wayne Clark, Robert L. Eichelberger, James M. Gavin, Leslie Groves, Douglas MacArthur, George S. Patton, Joseph Stilwell, Maxwell D. Taylor, James Van Fleet, Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV, and Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. the highest ranking General to be killed in combat during World War II, with many of these graduates also serving in commanding roles in the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, notable graduates general officers included Creighton Abrams, Hal Moore, and William Westmoreland. West Point also produced some famous generals and statesmen of recent note including John Abizaid, Stanley A. McChrystal, Wesley Clark, Alexander Haig, Barry McCaffrey, Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., Brent Scowcroft, Lloyd Austin, and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, retired General David Petraeus.