Talk:United States Military Academy

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Talk: United States Military Academy/Archive 1

Archive of past discussion and peer review[edit]

There were no active discussions on this talk page and many of the discussions were from as far back as 2005, so I just archived the previous talk page. I've listed the article for peer review and have had several very helpful responses. If you are here to review or edit, thank you very much. The goal is to achieve FA status ASAP. I have the resources and the will to make it happen, please let me know where the article is laking to achieve that goal. Thanks. --Ahodges7 (talk) 10:18, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I quickly realized that it need lots more work, so I withdrew the Peer Review request. I hope to work through the shortcomings of WP:MoS and WP:CIT in the next few weeks. Ahodges7 (talk) 02:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Scout camporee at USMA[edit]

Does anyone think that the annual Boy Scout camporee [1] hosted by the cadets is worth mentioning? --Lunar Dragoon (talk) 20:26, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Possibly in the "Cadet Activities" section, which is currently lacking in detail given the robust activity program that DCA [2] sponsors. Ahodges7 (talk) 02:32, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Navigation template[edit]

I would encourage the editors to create a USMA-specific (Template:USMA) navigation template and place it on all the articles in the USMA category. Simply put {{USMA}} at the bottom the articles above the categories. Look to Template:Texas A&M University for a ridiculous example to aspire to or Template:Northwestern for a more tractable starting point. Madcoverboy (talk) 04:43, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Template is created. It still needs some work, but it is out there now. Thanks. Ahodges7 (talk) 11:38, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Template is getting better. Ahodges7 (talk) 03:53, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Template is pretty good now. Ahodges7 (talk) 19:51, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Administration and faculty thoughts[edit]

I'd like to see more on the USMA and superintendent's relationship to other senior army staff and the DoD - eg, to whom does the superintendent report or what command are USMA staff under? Madcoverboy (talk) 17:26, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

USMA is a DRU, its now added and referenced. Ahodges7 (talk) 22:33, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I'd also like to know more about the faculty - descriptive statistics, role and nature of civilian faculty, backgrounds and appointment norms of military faculty (do they have advanced degrees, are they tenured, do they rotate through, etc.), interaction with/representation of other branches (if any), relationship with post-graduate military institutions (e.g., Naval War College). Madcoverboy (talk) 17:26, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I tried to track down a website for USMA's office of institutional research since they always publish tons of great data on admissions, enrollments, faculty, financial info, etc.. The closest thing I could find was the "Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment" but they have a pretty poor webpage. Maybe if you're on the other side of the military/academy firewall, you can get better data? USMA Library appears to have a rather good digital collection that we should also appropriate and incorporate as possible (annual reports of the superintendent being a potentially excellent historical source], though only archived up to 1989). Madcoverboy (talk) 17:54, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
OPPA is currently in the process of its Middle State's accreditation review. I'll fish around on the internal net in the coming weeks to see what I can find. Not sure how much of information will be for "public release". I'll look into the faculty & reporting status soon. I know I can find the data somewhere, but it might not be on a public website or published source. More to follow. Ahodges7 (talk) 20:58, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
In an attempt to answer some of the questions, posed....

Civilian Faculty: Civilian faculty generally serve as instructors, as opposed to research or administrative positions. Except in the Department of Physical Education, nearly all have Doctoral Degrees. They are actually government employees, so the process to gain employment is closely related to that of all government employees. Their positions are mostly permanent, though some are hired for limited periods (e.g. to replace a faculty member serving elsewhere as a visiting professor for a year), except in the Math department where many of the civilian faculty are three-year "Davis Fellows."

Military Faculty: All "rotating" military instructors have at least a Master's degree, and a few have Doctoral level degrees. The senior military faculty-- "Academy Professors" and "PUSMAs," mostly Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels-- nearly all have doctorates in their fields. The point at which a junior officer would fill his or her career with staff time (after a company level command) he or she can compete to become an academy instructor. If selected, the Army pays for grad school, and upon graduation, the officer is assigned to an academic department to teach. Instructors usually teach 4 years and return to the Army for traditional Army assignments. Later in one's military career, usually after reaching the O-5 level, the opportunity to return as a senior instructor is sometimes afforded to those who taught earlier in their careers. These instructors sometimes return to civilian school for terminal degrees prior to a 2nd rotation at the Academy to teach. The Departments of Military Instruction has a different set of requirements and instructors from this department do not always follow this scenario.

History[edit]

I would like to see the history section to give a little more weight to the impact of American military conflicts on changes to the campus, organization, cadet life in the last 60 years: there is a decent amount for WWI, but WWII merits only a passing mention, Korea and Vietnam none at all, and nothing on Gulf I, Afghanistan, Gulf II, WoT. My colleagues at the Network Science Center do lots of interesting work under the much broader mission of the shift from Cold War to WoT/non-state actor strategy, so I'm guessing changes on campus aren't limited to just a new research center. Madcoverboy (talk) 19:46, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Can do. Will get to it soon. Ahodges7 (talk) 20:59, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I think the history should also emphasize how the academy was founded to be, and was in many respects, the first American engineering college and influenced later technically-oriented private institutions like RPI, WPI, and MIT (forgive me alma mater, it hurts! it hurts!). Madcoverboy (talk) 17:12, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Refs: pg. 104, 222 pg. 228 Madcoverboy (talk) 17:16, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I think I've expanded the history section per your request above, but I'm afraid the section may be too lengthy now. Your thoughts on content and length? Ahodges7 (talk) 02:06, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it's long at all: it's coming in at just south of 7,000 words of readable prose which is just in the 6,000-10,000 upper bound rule of thumb. I think the history is the most important and often most neglected aspect of the encyclopedia article for a university, so I'm hesitant to strip content out here before attempting summarization elsewhere. In any case, I just went and dropped in a bunch of cites from historical news archives (actually just NYTimes and TIME Magazine) for Vietnam-era stuff. Madcoverboy (talk) 02:47, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Removed pictures[edit]

I moved/removed some pictures to de-clutter the page. These images certainly have a place within Wikipedia, but not necessarily here. If you disagree, feel free to re-add them and we'll discuss here. — BQZip01 — talk 08:00, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

changes[edit]

Mostly simple ones, but we'll see what others have to say. If help is needed in submitting this to FAC, let me know and I'll be happy to help. Heck, I'll even do it in the near future if no one else does. Though several sections need citations, this article is getting pretty good! — BQZip01 — talk 09:05, 11 January 2009 (UTC) I noticed that a citation is needed in the Rank and organization section for regiment structure. I do not know how to add one but the current structure is described at http://www.westpoint.edu/Class/2015/parents_almanac.pdf Please help with this — Preceding unsigned comment added by 20.137.18.50 (talk) 15:00, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the link - I have added the citation Ecragg (talk) 18:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Article rating[edit]

I'm still a little new at this, but what does A-class mean? Typically articles are either listed as B, GA, or FA class. Could a more experienced editor or administrator briefly explain the process? I'm trying really hard (when work allows me) to get this article to FA status, and I was wondering if it needed to officially be GA first, since its never been listed as GA, or is it already rated higher than GA? thanks. Ahodges7 (talk) 03:25, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Succinctly put, A is generally regarded as higher-quality than GA and GA is not a prerequisite for FAC. It appears User:BQZip01 promoted the article a week ago. There's no formal review process for promoting universities to A status within the WP:UNI project community, but BQZip01's track record speaks for itself so I'll defer to his judgment. This article is absolutely on the right path to FA right now, but in my eyes it may be a bit premature for FAC - there are still some outstanding issues to be resolved which I will outline more completely when I have more time to dedicate. Nevertheless, I would not be surprised if this was a FA before March 1 or earlier. Madcoverboy (talk) 04:51, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I think one of the most obvious critiques one could make of the article now is it tends to lean on self-published sources in cases when I believe that the same claim could be substantiated with independent or published sources. Some cites are inconsistently attributed to the same publisher (USMA Public Affairs Office vs. West Point Public Affairs Office, Office of the Dean, USMA vs. Office of Admissions, etc.) I believe the cites to the Office of Admissions are likely to be the most problematic from a reliability & NPOV perspective. I'll try to scrounge up other sources for claims attributed to Admissions as I encounter them. Madcoverboy (talk) 02:54, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Is it not ok to cite the university when specifically talking about university facts? I can understand having an issue about referring to a topic's own website it it were say, a for-profit company or enterprise, but isn't there an assumption that the academy is going to forthcoming and honest on its own website? Also, if a citation is pulled from different departments, aren't those departments the publisher rather than the academy itself? Is the issue that the same department is called by a different name in multiple citations? Ahodges7 (talk) 03:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I was referring to the fact that the specific wording and format of the publisher seems to vary among citations like including USMA as an appended clause in some, but not others, referring to the PA office as West Point some times and USMA as others. You'll absolutely get called on these trivial sorts of things at FAC. Regarding SPS from the Academy, I just think you have to be careful about the source. In the case of an institutional research website, president's report (or superintendant in this case), or other sort of formal, official publication, I have no hesitation about using these as authoritative and reliable sources. Office of Admissions sites are a little more borderline since they often tend to blur and stretch because their goal and mission is to paint the institution in the brightest possible light to attract students/cadets/whathaveyou. However, that mission and bias might get in the way of it being the most authoritative or reliable source. In reality, an admissions office doesn't do any of the number crunching and it just highlights repeats whatever (convenient) facts some other office/report/website tells them. Find the original and most authoritative source and cite that instead as much as possible. Cite the best source, not the first source you find. Madcoverboy (talk) 04:10, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Traditions[edit]

I've moved "plebe knowledge" and "class weekends" out of the "Traditions" section and up to the "Cadet life" because "Traditions was getting too lengthy and i feel that those topics are better suited for "cadet life" anyway. As it was, there were six sub-title traditions and I think it should be whittled down to four or five of the more unique (sedgwick's spurs, cullum #) or trailblazing (class ring). There are literally hundreds of traditions that could be listed, which would make a good sub article if I ever get to it. Also, Plebe knowledge could be a lengthy article by itself, but not enough room to expand it in this article. Ahodges7 (talk) 20:23, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


Hi All,

I added notable definations from Bugle notes to the Traditions section. Another user deleted it and I wondered what the concensus was. Edited Page here Eurbani (talk) 13:07, 16 July 2009 (UTC) USMA '89

I removed that information because most of it is isn't that notable and the rest that is somewhat notable is already included under Cadet Life (as noted in the edit summary). — BQZip01 — talk 15:08, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I concur with — BQZip01 — talk's removal. While the information that you added was in good faith, it not appropriate content or notability, nor appropriate prose for this article, which is FA-class.  Ahodges7   talk 03:08, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Notable alumni[edit]

It says in the article that in 1989 Kristin Baker became the first female cadet to be Cadet First Captain and the footnote[64]reference (if you read it, says she graduated in 1990. That is kind of confusing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.35.17.89 (talk) 18:35, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Not really - she became first captain in the fall, graduating the following spring Ecragg (talk) 23:10, 3 August 2010 (UTC)


Apparently the notable alumni section was out of control in past versions of the article. It was whittled down to nearly nothing after being broken out into a separate article. Here's the standard that I've used: listed all heads of state, listed all current elected officials (senator, governors, congressmen), listed any general who is famous enough to be known by their last name only OR is currently in a position of notability such as Petreaus or Odierno. Listed MOH winners (74), founders of universities, major industry founders or CEOs, major sports figures, and the # (18) of astronauts as well as major scholarship winners. I think this list is appropriate in length, yet is not too long. Any thoughts? Ahodges7 (talk) 01:50, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

To do list[edit]

The "to do" list for this page lists topics entirely suited for the separate history article. I don't want to delete the to do list, but it needs to be cleaned up here and replaced with other to-do items. Should I cut & past it into the discussion page of that article? Ahodges7 (talk) 11:09, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

You can do that, if you want to do so. — BQZip01 — talk 18:55, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps Eric Shinseki should be added to recent notable graduates

Athletics[edit]

Maybe I missed it, but can we get a count on the number and distribution of intercollegiate teams? X mens, and Y womens? Also anything on number of national championships/champions? Be sure to throw the size of the varsity program into the lead as well. Madcoverboy (talk) 01:32, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Can do. Not sure about total # of national championships. I think as far as NCAA goes, only football. The club program has been far more successful. As far as "size" of the varsity program, do you mean the # of cadets participating, the budget, both, or something else? On a side note. These logo debate issues are giving me a headache. I'm working to get the "written permission".  Ahodges7   talk 12:12, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Just the number of varsity/intercollegiate teams or programs for each sex I think would be keeping in line with other university summaries. Madcoverboy (talk) 21:36, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Done.  Ahodges7   talk 16:45, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

GWOT, OIF, OEF[edit]

I'm concerned about separating Operation Iraqi Freedom from the ongoing Global War on Terror. The term GWOT is used to encompass both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you mention OIF separately, then you should drop the GWOT and say Operation Enduring Freedom instead. While the majority of casualties have been from Iraq, some have been in Afghanistan, and some were from the Sept 11 attacks themselves, so I think the more encompassing term GWOT is appropriate rather than singling out separate conflicts.  Ahodges7   talk 15:54, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I think I intended to convey that OIF was a subset of GWOT, but likely more notable than the latter. I don't think we have to unpack all the semantics and operations of GWOT, but I thought that OIF deserved mention in its own right given the scale of operations there. Madcoverboy (talk) 17:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I can understand that point of view. Perhaps I just think of it differently.  Ahodges7   talk 18:29, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

TFAR[edit]

I would encourage the editors of this newly-minted FA to get it on the front page for the upcoming March 16 anniversary. See WP:TFA/R. Madcoverboy (talk) 04:45, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

By my count, if I nominate it, it should have 4 pts going for it: Timing 1pt (anniv of founding), Contributor history 1pt (my first), Diversity 1pt (<50 FAs in Education category), and Importance 1pt (basic level, high probability of a 12 year-old using for a report). However, there is already a pending request here for Joseph W. Tkach for 16 Mar worth 3 pts. There are also already 5 requests on the TFA request page, but if my count of 4 pts is correct, USMA would outscore 3 of the 5. I'm still too new to know what to do. I don't want to step on someone else's request, but I feel USMA warrants being on the request page ahead of the two 2-pt requests currently on there (13 Mar & 24 Mar). Anyone have some advice on how to proceed?  Ahodges7   talk 18:03, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
See comments from User:Wehwalt here. Anyone else think the same? I understand his point, but USMA has no direct link to Memorial Day other than being a holiday of remembrance for the military.  Ahodges7   talk 18:40, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
I"m honestly not that familiar with the process, so I would just be bold and go for it. The links between the day and topic are often tenuous at best and I've seen poorer justifications than Memorial Day-USMA. Madcoverboy (talk) 18:42, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm. Guess they went with something else entirely. Too bad :( Madcoverboy (talk) 02:42, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, not sure where the 16 Mar article came from because it wasn't on the request list or listed as pending. Oh well, I'll put it on the pending page soon for Memorial Day.  Ahodges7   talk 02:56, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
User:Raul654 picks FAs for Today's Featured Article. The WP:TFA/R process is strictly advisory in nature and is not binding. It doesn't mean he has to pick one from that list. He can pick any article he chooses. On a related topic, I'll be nominating Aggie Bonfire for the 10th anniversary of the collapse. — BQZip01 — talk 06:39, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

James W Smith -- First black cadet[edit]

I removed the reference to the first black cadet from the article. He *was* expelled as the article mentioned, but this was apparently the result of a conspiracy to get him out. Allegedly, he was the victim of an orchestrated campaign of racist intimidation and ostracism. I removed the passage because it was incomplete at best and I don't have the relevant expertise to correct it.

Smith's commission was awarded posthumously in 1997 at the request of US Rep John Spratt, US Rep Jim Clyburn and US Sen Strom Thurmond. ([[3]])

McFeely devotes a chapter of his bio of US Grant to the topic, but I haven't read this book.

Hopefully someone with expertise in this matter will re-write the deleted material. Dduff442 (talk) 01:39, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Sorry; I reverted your deletion. I don't see anything wrong with what's in the article although I'm sure it could be expanded. --ElKevbo (talk) 01:48, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
See also (e.g.) contemporary news report regarding Smith's treatment at West Point. [4]. Smith received his commission posthumously and current view is that he was the victim of a conspiracy. The reference to his expulsion without mentioning these facts is misleading. I do hope someone with the appropriate knowledge will re-write the material but it's worse than nothing in it's present form. Dduff442 (talk) 02:05, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
No doubt that Smith faced racism and harsh treatment, as did Flipper. As did many caucasian cadets who were dismissed for academic deficiency or simply because the wrong person didn't like them. The scope of this article does not allow for an in-depth discussion of the sociological aspects of every controversial dismissal. The facts are: James W. Smith was the first african-american cadet at USMA, and he was officially dismissed for academic deficiency. This sourced fact was peer-reviewed and survived a FA-review. If you disagree, I suggest the most appropriate course of action would be to start a discussion on this page and make your case, then perhaps add a small comment in the article such as "he was controversially dismissed" or "dismissed under questionable circumstances." By deleting his name entirely, you are doing more of a disservice to history. Another good course of action would be to create a page for Mr. JW Smith and reference it well. This would help your case for modifying the main USMA article and would be a more appropriate place to discuss the controversy about his dismissal.  Ahodges7   talk 03:42, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
Your argument certainly has merit for more detail involving Smith's controversial dismissal. In the future, don't just delete something because you think it is a "half truth". Instead, modify it to make it "more correct" and add appropriate source material to back up your edit. I'm not naive enough to think Smith didn't endure terribly racism while at the Academy. I believe that my most recent edit of the material and inclusion of the reference source that you provided appropriately addressed the matter. I still would like to see you start and expand an article about Mr. Smith, as he is certainly a notable historical figure.  Ahodges7   talk 04:08, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps we could revive this discussion and put something in the article about attempts to break the race barrier (for blacks) or the glass ceiling (for females). I understand, by the way, that the first girl to attend Virginia Military Academy also faced intense discriminatory pressure; the first female VMA graduate was not produced until VMA admitted multiple girls - presumably so they could band together and stave off excess hazing.

Do we have anything about the first black West Point cadet to graduate? Or anything about why blacks are underrepresented here? 6% of cadets vs. 12% of all Americans. Also, Asians are over-represented nearly two to one, and Unification Church members are over-represented by 30 to 1. --Uncle Ed (talk) 23:14, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Addition of historical content[edit]

A recent paragraph was inserted by Barnej, which I reverted. It concerned the controversy surrounding the academy during the Second World War pertaining to abolishing the academy in favor of a much shorter curriculum and converting the academy into officer training school. While the gist of this statement was most certainly true, and I now doubt that Barnej was acting in good faith, please post comments on the discussion page (here) before adding a major unsourced addition to this article, which recently went through a lengthy FAC process. A discussion about the potential "abolition" of the academy certainly has its place, but it would likely be too lengthy to discuss in detail in this article's history section. The "History of the Academy" link is likely a better place for it and that article needs tons of work. Please feel free to add sourced material there if you have the time. Thanks.  Ahodges7   talk 20:30, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Presidential appointment and sons of Medal of Honor recipients[edit]

The article doesn't say anything about admission by presidential appointment or admission to sons of medal of honor recipients. Are these commonly retold myths, or is this an oversight in the article? 98.220.35.142 (talk) 00:57, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

The child of any Medal of Honor recipient is automatically eligible for admission if they meet the minimum standards for admission. It is not really a "presidential appointment". Mostly because of the rarity of the medal of honor being awarded, this form of nomination has rarely been used, and not in the last few generations.  Ahodges7   talk 10:19, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Right, those are two different thoughts though. Isn't the president empowered to make appointments as well? If so, this, as well as the children of Medal of Honor recipients need to be added to the admissions section. We can't just talk about the appointment by congressman and ignore the other ways a person can get in just because they don't happen too often. 98.220.43.201 (talk) 19:50, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there are presidential nominations. There are also nominations by the VP and members of the cabinet. These are all routine and hundreds of persons are admitted to the service academies via these nominations each year. --ElKevbo (talk) 20:17, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm no admission's guru, but I'm positive that "members of the cabinet" cannot make appointments to the academy. As for presidential and vice presidential nominations, there are various ways to receive nominations, but the candidates don't have to know the president or vp. it is simply another way for the academy to admit a qualified candidate that they wish to admit. Because there are several other ways to gain admission, the article states that " majority of candidates receive their nomination from their congressman". To list and explain all the other possible means of receiving a nomination would be tedious and take too much space in an already lengthy article.  Ahodges7   talk 01:12, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The Secretary of the Army is a member of the cabinet. I don't know if the other members can make appointments (i.e. SecNav can make USNA appointments but probably not West Point). I don't recall if SecDef can make appointments. --ElKevbo (talk) 04:44, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
No reason to continuing to argue the point here. I was not considering SecArmy as a Cabinet position, as it is not here. Regardless, as you referenced in the link provided above, there are multiple other paths to nomination, too many to detail in the full USMA article.  Ahodges7   talk 11:34, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The Secretary of the Army is not a Cabinet level position, that much is obvious. The point remains that the article only highlights ONE path to admission, while ignoring other paths which one poster has pointed out is the path to admission for hundreds of people. It certainly belongs in the article, and a sentence listing the other ways to gain admission isn't tedious and wouldn't add too much space to the article. 99.169.250.133 (talk) 00:51, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Sports team nickname?[edit]

Currently, the nickname of Army's sports teams is the Black Knights, but I seem to recall that in past years, they were called the "Cadets." I remember when I watched the Army-Navy football game on TV in the early 1990s, the team was referred to as the Cadets. And that's what they're called in these Wikipedia pages on Army's football team: (1944 Army Cadets football team, 1946 Army Cadets football team). Can someone explain the exact place that "Cadets" and "Black Knights" have in the history of Army's sports teams' nicknames? Sky Blu 2 (talk) 20:49, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

The nickname "Black Knights" comes from an old nickname of the football team from the early part of the century when the New York City sports media referred to the team as the "Black Knights of the Hudson" due to the black color of the uniforms and their idealized reputation as cadets. As I understand it, this reference to the uniform color is also how Alabama became known at the "Crimson Tide. At some point in recent years, the Academy made an effort to capitalize on this traditional nickname. We were called the "Black Knights" in 1994 when I was a plebe, so I don't know at what point the Black Knight nickname became official. Since a student at West Point is called a "Cadet", the sports teams are occasionally referred to as the Cadets of Army vs..., this is especially true when playing Navy, since the Naval Academy embraces the term "Midshipman" as their official nickname.  Ahodges7   talk 01:41, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Yes, what probably happened was that both "Black Knights" and "Cadets" were used informally as nicknames for the team before the school, itself, decided to give "Black Knights" official status. I remember that once or twice during last year's Army-Navy game, the announcers referred to Army as the "Cadets". I think the article should mention exactly what year that "Black Knights" was made the official nickname and possibly also say something about the team being called the "Cadets" as well. -Sky Blu 2 (talk) 03:37, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

New tradition segment[edit]

I just added the "Punishment tours" segment, a segment that I should have included before the FAC last year. It needs more citations, which I hope to get finished later tonight. Please give me a day or two at most to put these in before anyone hits it with a "citation needed" tag. thanks.  Ahodges7   talk 23:07, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Campus section[edit]

The campus section contains this statement: "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." But the article makes no mention of an earlier neogothic building – the West Academic Building – that was designed by the New York architect Richard Morris Hunt, and is the only extant Hunt work at West Point. The building is the largest surviving 19th century building at the Academy, and the first of the modern academic buildings. Because the building is neogothic, it would seem that it was Hunt who set the design style that others followed. This is a photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey at the Library of Congress.[5] MarmadukePercy (talk) 18:05, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

A single building does not "set a predominant architectural style". While the Hunt building was indeed first, by itself it cannot set a predominance. I also agree that Hunt made a building of one style and that style was followed throughout the rest of the expansion and, perhaps, deserves mention. AHodges? — BQZip01 — talk 18:51, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
A single building can easily set the style for those that follow, which looking at the Hunt building seems to be the case. The fact that Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson followed the lead of a man who was the best-known American architect of the 19th century wouldn't be at all surprising. I do think that Hunt and his building do, at least, deserve a mention. Thanks for the suggestion. MarmadukePercy (talk) 19:02, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
I have to relook the source of that "set the predominate style" quote, but I'm pretty sure that was very similiar wording to what was used in that particular reference. Hunt designed the West Academic Building, now a barracks known as Pershing Barracks (converted in the 1950s), but the Cram firm designed and built the Main Cadet Chapel (which dominates the "skyline", Bartlett Hall (the oldest academic building still in use), Taylor Hall (the Academy's Headquarters), Thayer Hall (then a riding hall, now the largest academic building on post), and several other structures still in use. It was this prodigious output, rather than Hunt's single building, that gets Cram et al. the nod. I've been meaning to shore up the campus article and clean it up to all follow one style, ie: list vs narrative. I'm close to finishing up the monuments list.  Ahodges7   talk 19:32, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Some accounts note that the Hunt building is his "only extant work" at West Point, which indicates that he designed earlier buildings that were perhaps torn down. In any case, as you say (and I did not know), the Pershing Barracks has been converted, but when it comes to styling cues, it is my guess that the later work by the Cram firm followed on Hunt's template. Certainly the Cram firm's output at West Point was more prodigious, yet the fact that a building survives that was designed by the man who designed the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the facade of the Metropolitan Museum and Biltmore Estate deserves at least a mention, it would seem to me. Thanks for your thoughts. MarmadukePercy (talk) 19:46, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
I concur that the architect in question is certainly notable and should probably be mentioned in some capacity, but I'll leave the exact verbiage to y'all. — BQZip01 — talk 02:36, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I have checked one of the sources for this piece, West Point U.S. Military Academy: An Architectural Tour by Rod Miller (Princeton University Press), and it is Miller's contention that Hunt's work at West Point, and especially the West Academic Building, did help set the styling cues later adopted by the Cram firm. (Incidentally, according to the same work, Hunt designed the gymnasium at the Academy, which was later torn down.) From page 47 of the Miller book: "Hunt's academic building continued and affirmed the tradition of trying to find a suitable style for the Academy as a whole. His work tried, and succeeded, in fitting with the newer Delafield buildings. No doubt his work later influenced Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson in their stylistic choices. Indeed, when Hunt's academic building was completed, it was one of the largest buildings on campus, foreshadowing the even larger projects of just a few years later." MarmadukePercy (talk) 18:48, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
This seems to be a bit of a architectural historical debate. I'm no historian of the craft. The Palka reference credited the Cram firm. I will conjecture that it was because they built four of the most prominent buildings on post (cadet chapel, hayes gym, bartlett hall, & taylor hall) that are still in use and THE most prominent - the cadet chapel. The barracks construction boom of the 60's and 2nd library all followed this lead. Hunt was an undisputed titan of his craft. Since his work predates the Cram efforts, if you'd like to modify the narrative to give the credit, or at least a mention, to Hunt, I'd have no objection. BTW, here is a photo of Pershing Barracks, formerly the West Academic Building, completed in 1895, the year Hunt died.  Ahodges7   talk 23:57, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I do think he's worth a mention. I had previously uploaded two photos of the Pershing Barracks from Historic American Buildings Survey at the Library of Congress.[6] [7] MarmadukePercy (talk) 00:05, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Cap toss[edit]

An editor has changed "hat" to "cover". The head covering is a Cap not hat and the the "cover" is used during inclement weather.[8].—Sandahl (♀) 03:55, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

In the US Army we refer to it as a cover. Cover is a generic term to refer to any kind of headgear in the Army. Technically the correct term for the headgear at USMA is a Service Cap.User:ian.de.mallie ian.de.mallie 07:55, 09 May 2010 (UTC)

"Technically", you are correct, but the event is commonly referred to at "the hat toss" or "cap toss", regardless of what the official term is for said uniform item.  Ahodges7   talk 01:32, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Gay community at USMA[edit]

In light of this NYTimes article and the complicated nature of the subject, I wanted to solicit other editors' feedback on adding a sentence or two about the impact of DADT on gay students. I was surprised that the issue of DADT doesn't appear in the body of the text and I feel some mention should be made. Obviously we need to balance various aspects of neutrality against recentism and undue weight, but in light of the rumblings about DADT's imminent demise, we should nevertheless be prepared to address the issue. I think candidate sections would be either Moral and ethical training or Life in the corps, myself preferring the latter. A crude first draft to open the discussion. Madcoverboy (talk) 14:40, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

West Point is required to follow the military's don't ask, don't tell policy which restricts attempts to reveal servicemembers' homosexuality while barring openly gay members. Despite the risk of expulsion and the intrinsic challenges of maintaining adherence to the Cadet Honor Code, gay and bisexual students nevertheless enroll and maintain a close-knit community.[1]

Not sure that addressing DADT in this article is appropriate just yet. USMA currently operates under the same policy regarding homosexual personnel as the rest of the Department of Defense. The NYT article could just as easily have been written about any military unit, where the same types of "underground" networks exist. This is an exceedingly complicated issue that is probably too "hot" to address in this at this point. Just my opinion. No doubt that if the DADT policy changes, it will be a seismic shift in policy, nearly on par with the cultural shift resulting from the admission of women in 1976.  Ahodges7   talk 14:18, 26 August 2010 (UTC)

I understand the concerns about recentism, which is why I don't want to make this issue about Katherine Miller -- or any other particular (former) cadet. However, to the extent that there is press coverage on the DADT and in particular, its effect on the institution, I don't think we should shy away from developing a duly-weighted, neutral, and verifiable summary. Certainly if the Pentagon's "DADT study" comes back either abolishing or otherwise scaling back the policy, we should have some consensus in place about how and where to amend the article so that it doesn't become a casualty of drive-by or ideologically-motivated editors. I think the NYTimes article does a better job than most of highlighting the tension between LGBT students adhering to the letter of DADT policy and adhering to the spirit of the honor code which is why I'd like to introduce it into the article rather than emphasizing the "underground" nature of the community. Madcoverboy (talk) 16:40, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
All good points. I agree that addressing the issue is not unreasonable, I'm just not sure how to do it without triggering edit wars from editors from both ends of the spectrum.  Ahodges7   talk 19:09, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I can post a notice at the university & college noticeboard requesting feedback and if you want to reach out to some of the other frequent editors of this or related articles. Madcoverboy (talk) 19:50, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm very reluctant to include information in any article based on only one reference. I think the article is a very balanced one and it's in the Grey Lady so I may be willing to relax my stance. But I don't like the precedent, particularly for such a contentious issue. ElKevbo (talk) 21:19, 26 August 2010 (UTC)
It's not just one reference, it simply does a better job of framing the larger issues and tensions than other outlets just covering the controversy. This particular cadet's resignation has also been covered by ABC and the AP. As I stated, I'm not interested in making sure the article covers this particular episode, only making sure that the article includes a neutral account of the the larger issue of DADT especially as it applies to the honor code. Madcoverboy (talk) 21:28, 26 August 2010 (UTC)


Gay marriage[edit]

I removed the following section from the history section because it seemed out of place didn't warrant an entire paragraph. However, in the context of a larger discussion about LBGT issues in the history or moral and ethical training sections (each of which are fraught framings), it absolutely warrants mention. Madcoverboy (talk) 06:58, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

The first same-sex marriage at West Point was held in the West Point Cadet Chapel on December 1, 2012, between Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, and Penelope Dara Gnesin.[2]

Tone and scope[edit]

I have two issues with this article. The first is its tone and the second is its inclusion of unnecessary details. Large amounts of the article are written like a brochure for West Point, which is hardly appropriate. Also, the article includes many things that would only be important to students, such as nicknames for each of the classes (freshman, soph., etc.). In that instance, I think it's great to include the fact that they refer to students as fourth class, third class, second class and first class cadets. But the whole plebes/yearlings/cows/firsties thing is irrelevant. Also, the section on Sedgwick's spurs needs to be removed. It really doesn't do anything for the article. For example, my high school had some wacky traditions—every school does, to some extent—but none of them are in its (long-ish) Wikipedia article. Keep the class ring section, though; it's definitely worth including, especially since West Point started the (now-nationwide) tradition.

Additionally, there needs to be some stuff on LGBT people at West Point. LGBT issues and the military are a hot topic right now, and a Google search on gay "west point" OR westpoint -site:wikipedia.org returns 732,000 results, many of which are news stories from reputable sources. A Google search on sedgwick spur westpoint OR "west point" -site:wikipedia.org returned 15,500 results, the first several of which were affiliated directly with West Point (i.e., grad association, etc.). I know Google ain't God, but this does tell me something about the necessity of including at least a paragraph on LGBT at West Point. The article doesn't even mention Knights Out, West Point's alum/staff/faculty LGBT and ally organization. Oh, and if someone ends up replying here, would said person please be so kind as to leave a {{talkback}} on my page? Thanks! --- cymru lass (hit me up)(background check) 07:20, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Per your concern that the tone is incorrect, that is your opinion, but it was obviously not shared by the many editors who review this article for FA status. The nicknames for the classes, such as plebes and firsties is unique and relevant. This is an institution that is routinely ranked near the top in the country and was even ranked #1 in a recent review. Unique facts about its traditions and culture are relevant. West Point is one of the top tourist destinations in NY and Trophy Point, the location of Sedgwick's memorial, is the most visited place on post. If your high school was as prominent as USMA, then a few of its more prominent and unique tradition would be worth mentioning. Agree that the article is "longish", but its a unique place with much history and many relevant subjects worth covering. It is well within the limits of the standards. As for your concern regarding LGBT, the issue has already been broached by a frequent watcher and editor of this article, see the post string above. The problem with LGBT issues involving USMA is that there is little documentation because of uncertain legal status. A mention of Knights Out wouldn't be an inappropriate way to start, but as to yet, no editor has taken on the difficult task of integrating it into the article.  Ahodges7   talk 11:30, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

Admissions[edit]

My (very large, 1280 students) high school graduating class sent four men to West Point in 1975. At the time, I was told this was the largest number ever sent by a single school in a single year. Is there somewhere a list of admissions by year, and source? DOR (HK) (talk) 04:37, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Army Blue[edit]

The army band's ceremonial music guide claims that this is used at west point. If you want the file its up on commons. cheers --Guerillero | My Talk 06:00, 5 March 2011 (UTC)


Hispanic American?[edit]

Spanish people are Europeans. It is very bad to divide them up into two groups. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arsaces (talkcontribs) 06:46, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Does TAC refer to both Teach Assess Counsel and Company Tactical Officers?[edit]

Today a relatively inexperienced editor User:David Harville (who self identifies as a 1989 USMA grad), changed the page to say: ..."Active duty officers in the rank of captain or major serve as Company Tactical Officers (TAC Officers)." In so doing, user deleted citation. Another editor User:Ecragg (who self identifies as the parent of a recent USMA student) changed it back, then tried to contact a noted page watcher on his talk page to raise discussion. The original editor restored his edit, providing a URL in his edit summary which tends to support his position. I have no reason to doubt the good faith of either editor. Can an uninvolved regular page editor help us establish consensus so we don't get into warring on this Featured Article? I invite both named editors to help us sort out this confusion. BusterD (talk) 21:47, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for starting this thread, Buster. I considered starting one, but wasn't sure where a new discussion should go. I am indeed a USMA grad, and the only thing TAC ever meant to me and my classmates was Tactical Officer, but that doesn't matter in this case. The USMA website should suffice as the authoritative source. The Brigade Tactical Department webpage repeatedly refers to TACs as Tactical Officers and includes no mention of the phrase "teach, assess, counsel". The USMA AG's Tactical Officer Program page is another place that reinforces that "TAC" is short for Tactical Officer and again does not contain the phrase "teach, assess, counsel". TACs DO teach, assess, and counsel -- and a whole lot more. David Harville (talk) 01:42, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

Thanks also. The "original" article defined TAC as being Teach Assess Counsel. This matched what parents were told by L/G Lennox, at both R-Day and Plebe Parent Weekend 2005 for the class of 2009. As I recall when I first started making edits to Wikipedia I was pleased to notice that the West Point Article included that definition for TAC. I would hope that someone who has access to Atkinson, Rick (1989). The Long Gray Line. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-48008-6. could check out the reference on page 44. I also notice that according to http://www.abbreviations.com/b1.aspx?KEY=83628 TAC has that meaning in a university environment. My suggestion is that we edit the the article to state that TAC can have both meanings. ed Ecragg (talk) 13:32, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

This all sounds reasonable, and what I would have expected (given this section's title). I have no reason to disagree with either of you, but I must remind User:Ecragg that our own experiences are not relevant in this context. Citation verifying the assertion is relevant. See if you can find some USMA webpage which discusses the Teach Assess Counsel concept. Anybody got a copy of Atkinson handy? Anybody else with some expert knowledge in this arena? BusterD (talk) 13:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
"our own experiences are not relevant in this context". Sure they are. A semi-public speech is certainly citeable. Now if we're talking about, "well, I never heard that in my 15 years in the Army" or a phone interview with said general, then, yes, we are talking WP:OR. Buffs (talk) 16:07, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

I have Atkinson's book. For now I'll quote the entirety of the p44 entry about TACs, feel free to cut it down if I've quoted too much (I certainly don't want any copyright lawyers jumping in...)

Jack was overjoyed not to have drawn D-1, known as Dogshit One, or I-1, Inquisition One. Every year these two old runt companies washed out between a third and a half of the plebes who had survived Beast Barracks. In addition to the upperclassmen, some companies had legendary martinets serving as tactical officers. (A “tac,” usually an Army captain, served as the company commander, maintaining discipline and supervising the cadets' military education). One tac often stood outside the barracks at night, checking to see that all window shades were evenly drawn. Another infamous tac ploy was to wear a sneaker on one foot. Cadets in the barracks would listen for the early warning of a tac's metal taps as he came up the stairs; the silent sneaker fooled them into thinking he was approaching at only half his actual speed.

In the index, the only page listed for "Tactical officers" is p44. There is no listing for "Tac" or for the phrase "Teach, Assess, Counsel." David Harville (talk) 01:16, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

Graduation Certificate[edit]

hi there , I have found while treasure hunting an original grad certificate of student,Frederik Snowden Skinner. Dated June 12,1914. Can anyone direct me to his family? Is there any value to this antique certificate? Thank you, Charles cwsnowpro@shaw.ca — Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.71.31.194 (talk) 20:29, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

Physical Composition of Buildings[edit]

I am a grad (Cullum #53442). In my Cow Geology class, I remember as if it were yesterday that the Professor said "One of the biggest factual misconceptions about this place is that the buildings are made of granite. They're actually almost all made of gneiss." I am embarrassed to say I am not 100% sure that's true, but frankly most the buildings in the Cadet Area sure do look like gneiss as opposed to granite.

I write today as this memory flashed to me while I read in the very first paragraph of the USMA page, "The majority of the campus's neogothic buildings are constructed from gray and black granite."

Possibly a more active contributor can vet this or point me toward where it already has been. Thank you and Beat Navy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.87.91.10 (talk) 14:00, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Same poster here: a link, for what it's worth. http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/BS-WP.html . Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.87.91.10 (talk) 14:07, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Your reliable source is fine, but It seems the preponderance of sources show that they are made of granite. To the layperson, that seems to be a semantic issue as granite and gneiss are quite similar in description. Would you be so kind as to explain the difference? Is gneiss a subset of granite? Buffs (talk) 15:32, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Cheating scandals[edit]

Upon re-reading this article today, it occurs to me that not a word is said about the several serious cheating scandals -- conspiracies, really, not just individual incidents -- with which the Academy has had to deal in the past three or four decades. I realize it's an unpleasant topic, and one which Academy boosters might wish to minimize, but since the issue is a direct contravention of the Honor Code, about which more than a little is said in the article, I don't believe it ought to be ignored. (The other service academies have had the same problem, of course.) --Michael K SmithTalk 01:26, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Hey, you're right. :( The Navy article is even worse; one of their cheating scandals - the electrical engineering scandal of the 1990s - caused them to change their honor code. ElKevbo (talk) 02:04, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

"Hispanic?"[edit]

Once again this disgusting term rears its ugly head. Technically, "Hispanic" should mean of Spanish descent, which of course is European, so it's senseless to make a table which divides groups into "European" descent and "Hispanic" descent. Realistically, as a political issue, we all know (to the despair of Europeans of Spanish descent) that, in the United States, "Hispanic" means mulatto or mestizo with a Spanish surname. Why a mulatto with an English surname is not, for example, "Englishic" or with a French surname "Frenchic" is a continuing mystery. I suggest that the table in this article be changed to "European descent" and "Mulatto or Mestizo."98.170.194.117 (talk) 04:12, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Sorry but you'll have to take this up with the Federal government and its demographers. I'd start by looking into the very large body of research compiled to create the race/ethnicity standards promulgated in 1997 by OMB. Folks at the Census, in particular, did a lot of research to figure out the categories and language that seems to work the best in the U.S. context. Anthropologists had a collective reaction to the 1997 recommendations but I don't recall your particular objection being part of that (their primary objection focused on the artificial idea of "race" as opposed to ethnicity and ancestry). It would also be informative to look into the work done by the Pew Hispanic Center; they recently conducted a study focused on the way that Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. think about and refer to themselves e.g. Latino, Hispanic, country-of-origin specific.
Incidentally, for some people "mulatto" is an incredibly offensive term because it was widely used when slavery was alive in the U.S. and the "1 drop rule" prevailed. And it has a very different meaning than the one you are trying to give it anyway. In any case, it is not standard language used by U.S. demographers. ElKevbo (talk) 05:22, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


The problem with the "very large body of research" on race/ethnicity is that those studies are politically driven. The term Hispanic, in the context in which it is used today, was initiated by Senator Montoya of Arizona, back in the 1970's. Essentially, he saw that Blacks were the recipients of a large amount of government largesse, while his constituency, mostly Mestizos and Indians, got nothing because they were not recognized as a distinct ethnic category. He began to use the word Hispanic to segregate his constituency into a group deserving of government aid, and by now, this word which simply means European Spanish heritage is now synonymous with a person of mixed black or indian blood and a Spanish surname. This was a purely political issue which has now tainted every European Spaniard in this country with a racial stereotype. Unfortunately, mulatto and mestizo individuals with Spanish surnames in the US are only to happy to be the recipient of government aid. Most mixed-race people with a Spanish surname love this distinction which segregates them into a group eager to suck up federal entitlements, so the the battle is discouragingly uphill for white Europeans of Spanish descent in this country. People like you insist on segragating all individuals with a Spanish surname into a non-white category, politically motivated groups such as the Pew Hispanic Center, following their own political agenda issue pseudo-scientific "polls" derived from carefully chosen samples. (Come on, now, do you think a white European Spaniard will "think about and refer to himself" as a mulatto or mestizo?). Furthermore, race/ethnic "standards" promulgated by the OMB is hardly scientific data. It is merely political posturing in an attempt to curry favor with what appears to be a large voting block. We are all aware of the scientific controversy surrounding the rigorous definition of "race," but we are all also aware that race, in common parlance, has commonly accepted character. Frankly, you know, and I know, what we mean when we say "white," or "mixed race," or "non-white." Let the anthropologists and geneticists worry about whether Bill Clinton had a black ancestor 10 generations ago, or what percentage of his genome may carry negroid genes. In that sense, yes, race is difficult to define, but in the sense of how we view our fellow citizens, it is not difficult. It is unfair, untrue, and dispiriting to Europeans of Spanish descent living in this country to be segregated out of white ethnic groups. It should not be done. If you think it is important to make distinctions among the ethnicities attending West Point, you should not be scared of mentioning "mixed-race" as the group, and leave European surnames out of it.98.170.194.117 (talk) 16:20, 12 May 2012 (UTC)
You're not going to use this article to promote your political agenda, push your personal point of view, or contest the cited sources and research. This is an encyclopedia article and we rely on the published sources. ElKevbo (talk) 16:58, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


With all due respect, I am simply trying to clarify the fact that people of Spanish descent are European, that having a Spanish surname does not necessarily make one non-white, and that listing "European descent" as different from "Spanish descent" is a fictitious distinction. That is neither a "political agenda" nor a "personal point of view." It is simply a statement of fact. Indeed, making the false assertion that no one with a Spanish surname is of European origin is distinctly a personal point of view with a political agenda. Shame on you.98.170.194.117 (talk) 01:47, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

West Point Museum section of the article[edit]

I have a couple fo questions before I attempt edits. As an employee of the West Point Museum I'm glad to see the Museum mentioned in the post. I do question why the Museum doesn't rate it's own article like most major museums do. Secondly, why is there a link to the National Museum of the US Army in the West Point Article?

The Museum's section of th entry is fine, however, I think it could be expanded on based on its extensive history. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.240.241.240 (talk) 19:43, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

freshman/plebe, sophomore / yearling nomenclature[edit]

Good Morning I have noticed the use of the term "Freshman" and "Sophomore" Should this be changed to "Plebe" and "Yearling"? Unless I receive objections over the next week, I will make that change ed Ecragg (talk) 16:33, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

I suggest that if you make the change, please explain what a plebe, yearling, cow, and firstie are. Not everyone reading the article would understand what you were talking about. If you use jargon, please explain what it means. Personally, I have now objection to your proposed changes as the names of each of the classes is a West Point tradition. Cuprum17 (talk) 17:28, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
I definitely plan to explain the terms, and there is even a wikilink to plebe ed Ecragg (talk) 19:43, 29 January 2014 (UTC)


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