Civic Duty: The Women of West Point

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Instead of recruiting 80,, it announced that it would recruit 76, new soldiers. And therein lies a paradox: for while the U. For that to be true, two thirds of our military would have to consist of obese, under-educated former drug users and convicted criminals. Then too, of the pool of remaining potential recruits, only one in eight actually want to join the military, and of that number, fully 30 percent of those who have the requisite high school diploma or GED equivalent fail to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test the AFQT , which is used to determine math and reading skills.

What is the total amount earned by the five workers? In fact, Brilakis might be overestimating the number—if only one in eight of 10 million in this age group actually want to join the military, that leaves a pool of 1,, potential recruits. There are, after all, perfectly good reasons why young Americans might not want to serve: the military is regimented, physically demanding, sometimes boring and often dangerous. VMI is the only military college in the U. Forbes ' Special Report on America's Best Colleges ranked VMI in the top 25 public universities in the nation, well ahead of any other senior military college in the country.

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Merchant Marine Academy. In U. News ranked VMI's Civil Engineering program seventh, [57] its mechanical engineering program 14th, [58] and its overall engineering program improved from 25th in the United States in to 21st out of in the category of "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs where doctorate is not offered. Kiplinger's magazine, in its ranking of the "Best Values in Public Colleges" for , made mention of the Virginia Military Institute as a "great value", although the military nature of its program excluded it from consideration as a traditional four-year college in the rankings.

While all cadets are required to take four years of ROTC, accepting a commission in the armed forces is optional. VMI alumni include more than general and flag officers , including the first five-star General of the Army , George Marshall ; [65] seven recipients of the highest U. It does not list alumni who did not graduate from the school, such as General George S. Patton and General Sam S. Walker , and the many VMI graduates who served or still serve as four-star generals in foreign nations such as Thailand, China, and Taiwan.

Prospective cadets must be between 16 and 22 years of age. They must be unmarried, and have no legal dependents, physically fit for enrollment in the Reserve Officer Training Corps ROTC , and be graduates of an accredited secondary school or have completed an approved homeschool curriculum. Eligibility is not restricted to Virginia residents, although it is more difficult to gain an appointment as a non-resident, because VMI has a goal that no more than 45 percent of cadets come from outside Virginia. Of students that matriculated in August , 46 were women.

The first African-American cadets were admitted in McDew is a retired U. Other Muslim graduates have included cadets from Bangladesh, Jordan, Indonesia, Somalia and other nations. VMI was the last U. In the U. Department of Justice filed a discrimination lawsuit against VMI for its all-male admissions policy. After VMI won its case in U.

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District Court , the case went through several appeals until 26 June , when the U. Supreme Court , in a 7—1 decision in United States v. Virginia , found that it was unconstitutional for a school supported by public funds to exclude women.

Following the ruling, VMI contemplated going private to exempt itself from the 14th Amendment , and thus avoid the ruling. As a result of this action by Pang, Congress passed a resolution on 18 November prohibiting the Department of Defense from withdrawing or diminishing any ROTC program at one of the six senior military colleges , including VMI.

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  6. This escape clause provided by Congress came after the VMI Board of Visitors had already voted 9—8 to admit women; the decision was not revisited. In August , VMI enrolled its first female cadets. The first co-ed class consisted of thirty women, and matriculated as part of the class of In order to accelerate VMI's matriculation process several women were allowed to transfer directly from various junior colleges, such as New Mexico Military Institute NMMI , and forgo the traditional four-year curriculum that most cadets had been subjected to.

    The first female cadets "walked the stage" in , although by VMI's definitions they are considered to be members of the class of Initially, these 30 women who were held to the same strict physical courses and technical training as the male cadets until it became apparent that adjustments to the standards had to be made. Just as cadets did nearly years ago, today's cadets give up such comforts as beds, instead lying upon cots colloquially referred to as "hays".

    These hays are little more than foam mats that must be rolled every morning and aired every Monday. Further, cadet uniforms have changed little; the coatee worn in parades dates to the War of New cadets, known as "Rats", experience even further deprivations from many "creature comforts" common to college life at other schools: they are not permitted to watch TV or listen to music outside of an academic setting.

    To this end, living conditions are considered more austere here than other service academies. The VMI ratline is a tough, sometimes brutal, and old-fashioned indoctrination-system which dates back to the Institute's founding. All "Rats" refer to their classmates, male or female, as "Brother-Rats. Legend has it that when Washington College now Washington and Lee University students and VMI cadets drilled together in the s, the students called the cadets "Rats" perhaps because of their gray uniforms.

    The cadets responded in kind calling the neighboring students "Minks" perhaps because many of them were from wealthy backgrounds. The purpose of the Ratline is to teach self-control, self-discipline, time-management, and followership as prerequisites for becoming a VMI cadet.

    New freshmen, known collectively as the "Rat Mass", walk along a prescribed line in barracks while maintaining an exaggerated form of attention, called "straining". This experience, called the Rat Line, is intended by the upper classes to instill camaraderie, pride, and discipline into the incoming class. Under this system, the Rats face numerous mental and physical challenges, starting with "Hell Week. During Hell Week, Rats also meet the members of various cadet-run organizations and learn the functions of each.

    At the end of the first week, each Rat is paired with a first classman senior who serves as their mentor for the rest of the first year. The first classman is called a "Dyke," reference to an older Southern pronunciation of "to deck out," or to get into a uniform, as one of the roles of the rat is to help prepare their "Dyke's" uniform and dress them for parades. In combining the softness of the Dykes with the hardness of the system they lead, with countless push-ups, sweat parties, and runs, the Rats are instilled with the virtue of time management and attention to detail.

    After the successful completion of Breakout, Rats are officially fourth class students and no longer have to strain in the barracks or eat "square meals. In the s, Rats from each company would be packed into a corner room in the barracks and brawl their way out through the upperclassmen. From the late s through the early s the Rats had to fight their way up to the fourth level of the barracks through three other classes of cadets determined not to let them get to the top.

    The stoops would often be slick with motor oil, packed with snow, glazed with ice, greased, or continuously hosed with water. The barracks stairs and rails were not able to take the abuse, so the Corps moved the breakout to a muddy hill, where Rats attempt to climb to the top by crawling on their stomachs while the upper classes block them or drag them back down. The entire body of Rats during the Ratline is called a "Rat Mass. Prior to Breakout, the Rat mass is given a different style of year identifier to emphasize this difference.

    In addition to the Ratline, VMI has other traditions that are emblematic of the school and its history including the new cadet oath ceremony, the pageantry of close-order marching, and the nightly playing of " Taps ". An event second only to graduation in importance is the "Ring Figure" dance held every November. During their junior year, cadets receive class rings at a ring presentation ceremony followed by a formal dance.

    During this ceremony, the roll is called for cadets who "died on the Field of Honor" and wreaths are placed on the graves of those who died during the Battle of New Market. The requirement that all cadets wishing to eat dinner in the mess hall must be present for a prayer was the basis for a lawsuit in when two cadets sued VMI over the prayer said before dinner.

    When the Supreme Court declined to review the school's appeal in April , the prayer tradition was stopped. The tradition of guarding the Institute is one of the longest standing and is carried out to this day. Cadets have been posted as sentinels guarding the barracks 24 hours a day, seven days a week while school is in session since the first cadet sentinel, Cadet John B.


    Strange, and others relieved the Virginia Militia guard team tasked with defending the Lexington Arsenal that later became VMI in The guard team wears the traditional school uniform and each sentinel is armed with an M14 rifle and bayonet. VMI is known for its strict honor code , which is as old as the Institute and was formally codified in the early 20th century.

    VMI is the only military college or academy in the Nation which maintains a single-sanction Honor Code and in recent times, the dismissed cadet is removed from post before the formal announcement is made. VMI currently offers over 50 school-sponsored clubs and organizations, including recreational activities, military organizations, musical and performance groups, religious organizations and service groups.

    After the re-opening, Kappa Sigma Kappa fraternity was founded by cadets on 28 September and Sigma Nu fraternity was founded by cadets on 1 January This occurs following graduation, and the newly initiated VMI alumni are accepted as brothers of the fraternity. VMI played its first football game in The one-game season was a 4—2 loss to Washington and Lee University. There are no records of a coach or any players for that game. VMI's last winning football season was in Perhaps the most famous athletic story in VMI history was the two-year run of the and basketball teams.

    The squad advanced within one game of the Final Four before bowing to undefeated Rutgers in the East Regional Final , and in VMI finished with 26 wins and just four losses, still a school record, and reached the "Sweet 16" round of the NCAA tournament. Tom Kiely is the Director of Basketball Operations. Strock and Robert B. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Virginia Military Institute Historic District. National Register of Historic Places.

    National Historic Landmark District. Virginia Landmarks Register. Main article: United States v. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: VMI Keydets.

    Main article: VMI Keydets football. Main article: VMI Keydets men's basketball. Virginia Military Institute. Retrieved 22 December Retrieved 16 April Geographic Names Information System.

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    United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 10 September Archived from the original on 2 January Retrieved 7 December Archived from the original on 17 December Archived from the original on 30 May Archived from the original on 13 March Retrieved 20 April University Press of Kansas. Retrieved 12 October Retrieved 29 January Retrieved 30 April January Claudius Crozet. New York, NY: W. Richmond, VA: Samuel Shepherd. New York, NY: J. Richmond, VA: William F. Retrieved 7 November Archived from the original on 27 April Retrieved 12 September Mariner Books, , p. American Battlefield Trust.

    Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Univ of North Carolina Press. Archived from the original on 12 January Retrieved 3 June Encounter Books. Retrieved 25 November Kilbourne, Exposition Press, New York, , p. National Park Service. Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

    Unforgiven: Robert E. Lee's Conflicted Legacy

    Archived from the original on 21 September We are responsible for what we do… and what is done in our names. He exhorts us to constantly ask: What is right and wrong with our nation, and how will it reflect on us? What do Americans see when we look in the mirror? Like the Soviets before us, our wars produce more heroes than clear-cut victories or stable policies.

    And while we bicker, we ask much of our veterans. To shut down debate. Somewhere along the way, it became easy — patriotic — to conceal our blemishes and faults. To ignore them as they fester. Just stick a troop over it. Palumbo found out he couldn't get back to a battle in Afghanistan, he was so mad that he drop-kicked his flight helmet.

    Palumbo, a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, received the Distinguished Service Cross Award on Thursday for his actions during that battle on April 11, The award is the Army's second highest for valor. The story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment will return to the big screen for two days only when Glory hits more than theaters across the country on July 21 and Marine testifying in the murder trial of a U. Navy SEAL said on Thursday they never saw the platoon leader stab a wounded detainee in the neck, disputing the central allegation in the prosecution's war crimes case. A sworn deposition of Major General Abbas al-Jubouri, videotaped in San Diego earlier this month, was played for the seven-member jury on the second day of defense testimony in the court-martial of Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher.

    A Marine who oversaw the Corps' detachment at a Kansas Army base was removed from his post due last week, officials said on Thursday.

    The Women of West Point

    William E. Blanchard, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Leavenworth, near the Missouri-Kansas border, was relieved on June 19 following an investigation, said Jessica Hanley, a spokeswoman for his parent command. The decision was made by Brig.