Valley Forge Military Academy and College
|Valley Forge Military Academy & College|
|Motto||Courage, Honor, Conquer|
|Type||Independent Boarding (Grades 7-12, PG) Military Junior College|
|Location||Wayne, Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
Buff and Blue
|Affiliations||Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, The Association of Boarding Schools, The National Association of Independent Schools and Secondary School Admission Test Board|
Valley Forge Military Academy & College (usually shortened as VFMA&C) is an American preparatory boarding school (grades 7-12) and coeducational (as of Fall 2006) junior college in the military school tradition located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Though military in tradition and form, Valley Forge Military Academy (the high school portion of VFMA&C) is a college preparatory boarding institution specializing on student leadership. VFMA&C's administration is composed almost entirely of current or retired military and the Board of Trustees are almost entirely alumni. Some graduates pursue careers in armed services, and VFMA&C has one Rhodes Scholar. VFMA&C and the Duke of York's Royal Military School, United Kingdom have become sister[clarification needed] institutions. VFMAC has strong ties with various Royal Families and organizations.
The Valley Forge Corps of Cadets is the only American military organization that maintains British drill and ceremonies. The entire student body (Academy and College) pledge to an honor code and is obligated to cadet duties and responsibilities. The Corps of Cadets is entirely student run. All cadets must pass a board and earn a "Capshield" to be a member of the Corps of Cadets. Valley Forge Military Academy and College is unique among American secondary and higher education to have the only, student run and the only physically demanding, six week military indoctrination, held twice a year, called "Plebe System." It is also the only Corps of Cadets in the United States to still have a traditional mounted battalion of one cavalry troop and one artillery battery. The VFMAC Alumni Association has one of the largest and busiest alumni participation in the nation.
Valley Forge Military College, "The Military College of Pennsylvania," is unique as it is the only private junior military college in the United States where the entire college student body is military cadets from the US and international cadets. All students are members of the Corps of Cadets. The Academy & College was fully residential, but in recent years the academy also offers a day student program. VFMC is the only military college that caters to all branches of the US military through the ROTC and the "Prepster" program for all 5 US Federal Service Academies.
- 1 History
- 2 Student body
- 2.1 Organization of the Corps of Cadets, Regalia and symbols, and History of the corps
- 2.2 Full set of ranks used by the VFMAC Corps of Cadets
- 2.3 Component units of the Corps of Cadets
- 2.4 Royalty
- 2.5 British military traditions in VFMAC
- 2.6 The Academy Coat of Arms
- 3 Academics and student life
- 4 Songs
- 5 Academic and military preparatory programs
- 6 Sports
- 7 Valley Forge Military Academy and College in film
- 8 Notable alumni
- 9 References
- 10 Sources
- 11 External links
Valley Forge Military Academy was founded in 1928 by Lieutenant General Milton G. Baker, Pennsylvania Guard (Retired), A.B., Ped.D. F.I.C.S., LL.D., Ed.D., C.B.E., D.Mil Sci, L.H.D. (then-Major, Pennsylvania Army National Guard). For the first five months of its existence, the school was located in Devon, Pennsylvania, on the south side of Berkley Road, between Dorset and Waterloo roads, which is several miles away from the campus's current location. After a fire during the night of January 17–18, 1929 devastated the original single-building campus, the former Devon Park Hotel, the Academy was moved to its present site in Wayne, Pennsylvania, the former Saint Luke's School. The highest decoration in the institution, the Order of Anthony Wayne, was made in tribute to the heroism of the first Corps of Cadets on the night that the first campus burned down.
Originally, General Baker devised an American Revolutionary War motif for the school. The school colors are Buff and Blue, the colors of the uniforms of the Continental Army. The buildings in the then new Wayne campus were named for Revolutionary War leaders: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, Anthony Wayne, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Freiherr von Steuben (Baron von Steuben),and Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette (or Lafayette). The uniforms, crest, and Alma Mater were patterned from those of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and so too was the first rank structure and that of the Corps of Cadets, which then had a few infantry companies and a cavalry troop, all wearing the West Point styled full dress grays when on parade.
Over time, General Baker, an Anglophile, evolved the concept and modeled many of the school's drills, customs, and ceremonies after a British motif very later in the late 1940s to 1950s. The Full Dress Uniforms are modeled from those of the British Army, while others are ostensibly West Point and British hybrids. The Academy maintains its loyalty to these traditions today.
During the 1935-36 school year, General Baker expanded the Academy to include a two-year college program, and the first College cadets joined the Corps that year as a result. Subsequently, the school was known as Valley Forge Military Academy and Junior College. Today, it is known as "Valley Forge Military Academy & College."
The Corps expanded to include artillery (and formerly machine guns) in the late 1930s and during the 1940s to 1960s was one of the largest in the US and its military junior colleges (the MJC title was awarded to VFMAC during those years by the Department of Defense). It was one of only a handful of military schools and academies that made it through the Vietnam War and the chaos it caused in the country.
General Baker retired as Superintendent in 1971, and died at his home, "Crossed Sabres" on July 31, 1976 at the age of 80. He was succeeded by Lieutenant General Milton H. Medenbach, Pennsylvania Guard (Retired), A.B., Ped.D.(then-Major General). During his Valley Forge service, General Medenbach served in, or assisted in the establishment of, practically every department of the institution as an associate of the Founder. He held the post of Adjutant, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Superintendent and served for more than 30 years as Commandant of Cadets. Since his retirement as Superintendent in 1971, he served the school as President Emeritus, a volunteer Historian and Archivist and the Vice President and Secretary of the Chapel Foundation Board of Directors. General Medenbach died on January 16, 2007 at the age of 99. General Medenbach was eulogized on the Floor of the United States House of Representatives for his outstanding life achievements by Congressman Joseph A. Sestak, Jr.(Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Retired)).
General Medenbach was succeeded as Superintendent by Major General Robert W. Strong, Jr., United States Air Force, (Retired) Class of 1935, B.A., M.A., in June 1971. During the Summer of 1973, General Strong announced his resignation, and on October 15, 1973, was replaced by Lieutenant General Willard Pearson, United States Army (Retired), B.A., M.A. General Pearson assumed the Superintendency at a time when the school was in financial crisis. General Pearson brought Valley Forge into an era of relative financial stability, with an average corps of 650 cadets. During General Pearson's tenure, there were a succession of Commandants of Cadets; they included Colonel Stanley A. Harris, Pennsylvania Guard, Colonel Stephen A. Day, United States Army (Retired), B.S., Brigadier General Theodore C. Mataxis, United States Army (Retired), B.A., M.A. and Brigadier General James F. Coates, Valley Forge Military Academy (Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army (Retired)). The highly successful 1981 film Taps was filmed there in 1981 during his term of office.
Upon his retirement on August 30, 1985, General Pearson was succeeded by Lieutenant General Alexander M. Weyand, United States Army (Retired). General Weyand was succeeded by Colonel Harold J. Fraley, United States Army (Retired), who served as Acting Superintendent from July 1, 1989 to August 1, 1990. Vice Admiral N. Ronald Thunman, United States Navy (Retired) then was named Superintendent, however, the title was changed to "President" on August 18, 1992. Admiral Thunman was succeeded as President by Rear Admiral Virgil L. Hill, Jr., United States Navy (Retired) on September 1, 1993. Admiral Hill was succeeded, in turn, by Rear Admiral Peter A.C. Long, Ph.D., United States Navy (Retired), on August 17, 2000. Admiral Long resigned on November 13, 2004. He was succeeded on an interim basis by Charles A. "Tony" McGeorge, who was appointed as President in July 2005, the first civilian president of VFMA&C. President McGeorge announced his resignation on December 18, 2009 after 5 years in his term. He was succeeded by William R. Floyd, Jr., Class of 1963, as Acting President and second civilian president. The most recent president was David R. Gray, Ph.D., Colonel (Retired) US Army, who took office in August 2010. On August 28, 2012, Col. Gray resigned and was replaced on an interim basis by Col. James J. Doyle, USMC, (retired). Col. Doyle previously served as superintendent prior to his retirement in 2010. In 2013 Stacey R. Sauchuk was named as the new president. This makes Sauchuk the first female president at a private military academy and college in the United States and VFMA&C's third civilian president.
The school has, as of 2011 about 500 students, representing 38 of 50 states and 25 countries worldwide. The college had the largest enrollment ever at the start of the 2009–2010 academic year: 334 cadets. By 2014, the school had grown to more than 650 cadets.
The Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program (ECP), one of only five offered in the United States, and the only program in the Northeast, has experienced a 48% increase in enrollment, from 50 to 74 cadets. These ECP Cadets will earn their commission as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army after only two years at VFMC.
In 2008–2009 the college enrolled a total of 10 women; the next year, 37 new and returning women were at the college, an increase of 270%.
The Service Academy Prep Program at VFMC saw an increase of 188% over the 2008–2009 Prepsters, with a total of 46 Prepsters in the 2009–2010 program. Valley Forge Military College has the largest number of West Point Prepsters out of all the West Point approved Prepster programs in the country, with 18 currently enrolled.
Organization of the Corps of Cadets, Regalia and symbols, and History of the corps
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The organization of the Corps, similar to the rest of the US military junior colleges, is very different that it is organized as a full regiment of three battalions, two infantry and one mounted. Another difference is in the rank system used, a hybrid of US and British military ranks, and also in the insignia being utilized.
Introduction and History of the Corps of Cadets as well as the rank structure and insignia
The cadets are, from 2014 onward, grouped into three battalions, the Mounted and the two Infantry battalions. The companies that form the now two Infantry Battalions are A, B, C (Academy), and G, H and I (College) while the Mounted Battalion consists of "D" Troop, "E" Battery, VFMAC Field Music (formerly also the Drum and Bugle Corps), and the VFMAC Regimental Band. Formerly, most College Cadets in the infantry battalion were assigned to "F" Company, but have been divided into "G", "H" and "I" Companies today. "I" Company had been named "I" Troop for all college cadets wishing to participate in equitation, and was once known as "I" Battery for college cadets participating in artillery, but it has now been moved to the collegiate infantry battalion as I Company today. Presently, Cadets of the Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Classes (Grades 7, 8 and 9) are assigned to "C" Company; formerly, Cadets of the Middle School (Grades 7 and 8) were assigned to "E" Battery. During the years of highest enrollment, in the 1960s and 1970s, Cadets of the Middle School were assigned to "H" Company. During the 2009–2010 academic year, given rapid expansion in enrollment, College Cadets have since been assigned to "H" Company.
Initially, the Corps of Cadets was organized, in the same manner as West Point, as a Squadron/Battalion of Infantry Companies with a Cavalry Troop, under a Cadet Major, who wore five gold chevrons with an oak leaf. Cadet Captains wore four chevrons; Cadet Lieutenants wore three chevrons, Sergeants and Corporals three and two, respectively. Artillery made their debut in the Corps (as E Battery) in 1939, formerly in the machine gun role. Later, the Corps was reorganized to three battalions: two infantry battalions and a mounted battalion (squadron) of one to two troops and one to two artillery batteries, thus becoming a full regiment or brigade in the process. The Corps was then headed by a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. The corps and the rank system has since evolved. It is headed by a Cadet Colonel today. Cadet officers wear gold rank stars or "pips." Pips are similar in design to the "Order of the Bath" rank stars worn by the British Army and the Royal Marines, except the three crowns have been replaced with an image of George Washington kneeling in the snow, from the painting "The Prayer at Valley Forge" by Henry Brueckner, and the motto "Tria Juncta In Uno" replaced with "Valley Forge Military Academy," as represented in the institutional coat of arms. (Before the design of the school "pips," Cadet Officers wore the British "pips" design with the crowns.) The rank system is also adapted from those in the British Army, Royal Marines, the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps (only in the Cadet Lance Corporal enlisted rank).
During the 1950s to early 1960s the officer rank structure of the Corps of Cadets, VFMAC was:
- the Cadet Lieutenant Colonel wore 5 pips on his epaulettes plus the shoulder knots
- Cadet Majors, 4 pips
- Cadet Captains, 3 pips
- Cadet First Lieutenants, 2 pips
- Cadet Second Lieutenants, one pip on the epaulettes
Other ranks wore the chevrons on the sleeve and were ranked accordingly with a mix of British and US army and marine enlisted ranks.
The officer rank system was increased and improved in the 1960s with the introduction of additional Cadet Captain ranks (from Cadet Captain to Cadet 1st Cpt.) thus the officer ranks used right until 2014 were from that period. The 1950s ranks were reintroduced in 2014 but with the same insignia used before, thus:
- the Cadet Colonel wears 2 pips and the institutional arms on the epaulettes in between plus the shoulder knots as mentioned below
- the Cadet Lieutenant Colonel, 1 pip and the institutional arms
- Cadet Majors, 4 pips
- Cadet Captains, 3 pips
- Cadet First Lieutenants, 2 pips
- Cadet Second Lieutenants, one pip on the epaulettes
On the Full Dress Uniforms, Cadet Officers wear rank insignia as on the "School Uniform", except that the Cadet Colonel wears braided shoulder knots with a full dress aiguillette in recognition of his role as the Corps Cadet Regimental Commander. Cadet Sergeants, Corporals and Lance Corporals wear chevrons on the sleeve: red chevrons on grey for the infantry battalions; red chevrons on black for the mounted battalion. All cadet officers' shoulder boards are dark blue save for the artillery unit which from 2012 now wears red shoulder boards after a long absence of their use. The full dress headdress is the Academy Capshield with the VFMAC institutional arms on it, worn on all full dress uniforms since 1980 replacing a similar shako styled cap with the arms. The institutional full dress is gray blue with black pants (for the Academy) and from 2009, all black polo and pants for the College.
On chapel services peaked caps with the arms are used with the full dress (formerly these were on the first full dress blue uniforms) while the school service uniform and the BDU includes the side cap and the colored berets (formerly the patrol caps, now sometimes worn), blue for the academy branch and red for the college branch, with green berets worn on certain occasions by the Academy cadets, similar to US Army Green Berets and Royal Marine Commandos. Recently, baseball caps are beginning to be worn during practice drills.
Academically, the school is organized into six classes, plus College Freshmen and College Sophomores. The Academy classes are as follows: First Class: Seniors (12th Grade); Second Class: Juniors (11th Grade); Third Class: Sophomores (10th Grade); Fourth Class: Freshman (9th Grade); Fifth Class: 8th Grade; and Sixth Class: 7th Grade. Thus, the system is somewhat "inverted" from the "Form" system in use at some schools, and more closely parallels that of West Point and the other FSAs.
Faculty and Staff Officers generally wear military uniforms, and generally wear United States Army officer rank insignia save for those who are a part of the United States Air Force, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard and wear their respective rank insignia. Those with Academy Commissions wear the letters "VF" in place of the "U.S." insignia, and school crests as branch insignia and unit crest. Reserve, National Guard, and Retired Officers and NCO's, serving in their respective ranks, wear the rank and accouterments of their respective service arm.
VFMA&C also employs several British ex-Military personnel, most of whom wear the uniform and rank of their respective British service. The faculty currently includes Royal Navy, Royal Marines Commandos and Royal Marines Band Service personnel especially in the academy's regimental band, and also as staff and tactical officers.
Full set of ranks used by the VFMAC Corps of Cadets
This is the full list of ranks used by the Corps of Cadets of the VFMAC. Former, unused and honorary ranks are in italics.
Cadet Enlisted and NCO's
- Cadet Private (no insignia)
- Cadet Private First Class
- Cadet Lance Corporal
- Cadet Corporal (Junior Grade)
- Cadet Corporal
- Cadet Color Corporal
- Cadet Sergeant
- Cadet Sergeant Colors
- Cadet Staff Sergeant
- Cadet Staff Sergeant, Guide
- Cadet Sergeant First Class
- Cadet Color Sergeant
- Cadet Master Sergeant
- Cadet First Sergeant
- Cadet Battalion Supply Sergeant
- Cadet Regimental Supply Sergeant
- Cadet Battalion Sergeant Major
- Cadet Sergeant Major
- Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major
- Cadet Second Lieutenant
- Cadet First Lieutenant
- Cadet Lieutenant
- Cadet Captain (Company Commanders)
- Cadet Eighth Captain (Regimental Quartermaster)
- Cadet Seventh Captain (Provost Marshal)
- Cadet Sixth Captain (Regimental Training Officer)
- Cadet Fifth Captain (Regimental Adjutant)
- Cadet Fourth Captain (2nd Battalion Commander)
- Cadet Third Captain (1st Battalion Commander)
- Cadet Second Captain (Regimental Executive Officer)
- Cadet First Captain (Regimental Commander) (until 2014 the highest officer rank of the C-of-C)
- Cadet Major (first highest rank of C-of-C officers, used in 1981's Taps as the highest rank, reinstated 2014)
- Cadet Lieutenant Colonel (Regimental Executive Officer) (highest rank in the 1950s-1960s, reinstated 2014)
- Cadet Colonel (Regimental Commander) (the highest officer rank of the C-of-C, rank introduced 2014)
Component units of the Corps of Cadets
Former units and assignments indicated in italics.
- A Company (Academy)
- B Company (Academy)
- C Company (Academy)
- D Troop (Academy and College combined cavalry unit, formerly depends on branch, reformed in 2009)
- E Battery (Formerly E Company and later the Machine Gun Company under Academy, transformed to artillery battery in 1940 school year)
- F Company (Formerly Academy [1930's] and College, reformed in 2014 under the Academy)
- G Company (College)
- H Company (College) (Now known as H-Block as of Fall 2014)
- I Company (College) (Formerly I Troop and I Battery, reformed in 2005)
- VFMAC Regimental Band
- VFMAC Field Music (Formerly the Drum and Bugle Corps, established in 1956)
- Headquarters Company
- Machine Gun Company (1939 school year, Academy only)
VFMAC is a popular school for various Royal Families and graduated King Simeon II of Bulgaria. The school serves as Honor Guard to the British Royal Family on State Visits to Philadelphia. Selected cadets also participate in the annual The Versailles Foundation Inc. / Claude Monet-Giverny Dinner.
British military traditions in VFMAC
British style drill are practiced at VFMAC. Many Tactical Officers and staff including Command Sergeant Majors, Bandmasters and Commandants have been serving and retired members of the British Armed Forces. Events such as the Military Tattoo, Regimental Dining In and Vespers reflects British traditions. Even the Regimental Band reflects this practice in recent years, having been now patterned in the style of the Royal Marines Band Service.
The British Officers Club of Philadelphia is based out of the VFMAC.
The Academy Coat of Arms
LTG Baker, the founder, designed the coat of arms in 1928. "It consists of a emblem borne on a shield and surmounted by a crest. The shield is of red and white vertical stripes with a blue field containing thirteen stars, one for each of the original states. the crest comprises an eagle with wings displayed and a scroll bearing the motto 'Courage, Honor, Conquer.' The emblem consists of a representation of General George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow at Valley Forge, over crossed cavalry sabres and surrounded with a circular margin bearing the words 'Valley Forge Military Academy.'" — "The Guidon"[clarification needed] Valley Forge Military Academy & College
Academics and student life
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The College is headed in the interim by COL Nan Hood. The current Dean of the Academy is Jeffrey Brown, Ed.D., Colonel, VFMA&C The Commandant of Cadets is COL Richard Piscal, USA(Retired).
Similar to most other American boarding schools, academics at the Academy & College are demanding and highly competitive, and there is a mandatory two hour "study hall" period from 7:30pm to 9:30pm each night in the students' barracks buildings.
The school day generally begins with "First Call" followed by "Reveille," at which time all cadets arise and prepare for formation. Calls are played by buglers. "First Mess" or breakfast is followed by cleaning details and room preparation. "School Call" is followed by academic classes until lunch, or "Second Mess." After Second Mess, cadets attend academic classes until mid afternoon. After classes, cadets participate in athletics and extracurricular activities. Cadets may also receive extra instruction during this time. At one time, there were daily formal "Guard Mount" and "Retreat" formations. Owing to the increased tempo of cadet life, and requirements of athletics and co-curricular activities needed to have cadets competitively vie for college admission, highly formal Retreat formations are no longer routinely held. After "Third Mess" or the evening meal, cadets return to their barracks for study hall. Study Hall, supervised by faculty officers in rotation, is mandatory for most cadets from Sunday through Thursday. After "Recall" from Study Hall comes the Break, at which time cadets use the telephone, shine shoes, and prepare for the next day. The Break is ended by "Call to Quarters" "Tattoo" and "Taps." At Taps, all cadets, except those granted "Late Lights" to study and cadets of the College, are required to be in bed.
On selected weekends, Cadets are permitted leave at home. Cadets who achieve, academically and in personal efficiency and leadership, are permitted additional leaves and local leaves into Wayne and to the King of Prussia Mall.
New Cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy & College endure a six week adjustment period, known as "plebe training," upon entering the institution. During this period, students are trained in the customs and traditions of the school, a modified version British military drill, and ceremonies, and are given an opportunity to acclimate to the overall campus environment. The conclusion of this period occurs when the students complete the traditional requirement of earning their "Capshield," the brass crest that adorns the uniform cap. Plebe system is noted for its rigor and intensity.
Valley Forge Military Academy & College offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities to students, including: equestrian, track, riflery, rifle drill, concert band and orchestra, herald fanfare trumpets, choir, football, basketball, rugby union, golf, and ski.
Character Education and Chapel
The Alumni Memorial Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion
All cadets attend religious services at The Alumni Memorial Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion on Sunday morning as a part of the Character Education program. The service, which was developed by General Baker, is rooted in the Episcopal or Anglican "Book of Common Prayer" and is Christian in nature. It is, however, non-sectarian in practice, as the address, which focuses on character and leadership, is given by distinguished military, civil, and academic leaders. Brigadier General Alfred A. Sanelli, Class of 1939, B.A., M.A., Pennsylvania Guard (Retired) [Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army (Retired)], (1921–2005) was the long-serving Chaplain and Director of Character Education, after serving as Dean of the Academy, Dean of the College, Professor of Military Science, and in other staff positions over many years. He was succeeded as Chaplain by Colonel[clarification needed] John E. Steele, Jr., Valley Forge Military Academy & College. Effective June 22, 2010 CAPT Gerald Hale, USCG (Ret.) was named the Chaplain and Director of Character Development.
The Chapel contains a 1961 M.P. Moller Pipe Organ donated by the Richard King Mellon family. The organ was dedicated in May 1965, by the Alumni, to Constance Prosser Mellon, wife of Lieutenant General R.K. Mellon.
The singing of school songs are a tradition at VFMAC. The main songs, among others, are "VFMAC Alma Mater" and "the Line of Gray" and "Spirit of the Forge" and the "Army Song."[clarification needed] Typically, only the first and last verses of the Alma Mater are sung.
The Valley Forge Military Academy Regimental Band
The Valley Forge Military Academy & College Regimental Band is world famous[clarification needed] and has traveled to Europe many times in recent years to perform. The band will again be the lead group in the 2011 Lord Mayor's New Year's Day Parade in London.
Additionally, some students in the school's band perform regularly on and off-campus on the school's Coronation Heraldic Fanfare Trumpets. The Herald Fanfare Trumpets were brought to Valley Forge in 1953 by Colonel[clarification needed] D. Keith Feltham, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, L.R.A.M., A.R.C.M. who served as Bandmaster and Director of Music from September 1949 to June 1976. (Bandmaster Dudley Keith Feltham served as Bandmaster of the 1st Battalion, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry from 1938 to 1949. Colonel Feltham also introduced the British “Slow March” in approximately 1961.) The unique complement of trumpets are regularly used to perform at the Academy's weekly chapel services, and are frequently booked for off-campus events, both domestic and abroad. Today the collection consists of the full complement of voices, which consists of six B-flat soprano trumpets, six B-flat tenor trumpets, two G-bass trumpets, and two E-flat soprano trumpets. The original eight heraldic fanfare trumpets have been used on numerous ceremonial occasions associated with royalty: at Westminster Abbey to herald the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, at St. Paul's Cathedral to herald the Royal Silver Wedding Ceremony,[when?] at the wedding of then-Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, and at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.
In January 1970, the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy, and the Valley Forge Military Academy Band under the leadership of Colonel D. Keith Feltham, performed the "1812 Overture" (full title: Festival Overture "The Year 1812", op. 49); by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky live at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The concert was attended by then United States President Richard M. Nixon. After the rousing performance, Ormandy heralded the cadets as the "Philadelphia Orchestra of Military Bands" and was inspired to produce an updated recording of the overture. In the fall of 1970, the VFMA recorded their tracks of the production in Columbia Studios in New York City. In addition to the VFMA Band, the recording prominently featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, directed by Richard P. Condie.
VFMAC Field Music
Established in 1956, VFMAC Field Music is a separate unit of the Corps of Cadets and has its own officers and share the same barracks and tactical officer. It continues the long heritage of US military field music through the years of the nation's existence and so too of its armed forces. It also has a Drum and Bugle Corps legacy (through the use of brass instruments) and starting from AY 2011-2012 it also has a fife player in its rosters. Aside from its regular participation in school events, parades and on and off campus formations and other events, it has a storied history of appearances in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has been assigned the honor of being the City of Philadelphia's honor guard for distinguished visitors to the city.
Academic and military preparatory programs
Valley Forge Military Academy Academic Programs
Three distinct but connected groups comprise its academic programs: the Middle School (7th and 8th grades); the Buff & Blue Experience (9th and 10th grades); and the Pre-College experience (11th and 12th grades). In addition, cadets may elect to complete one post-graduate year at Valley Forge.
The Middle School is a small corps of young men. Three exclusive Middle School teachers present a full scope of academic disciplines, with core courses in Mathematics, Language Arts, Literature, Civics, Social Studies, General Sciences, Physical Education, and Character Education. Classes are divided separately between grades, but the Middle School interacts frequently as a group. To supplement classroom learning, Middle School cadets take frequent field trips to off-campus sites, such as Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Brandywine River Museum, and cultural experiences at the opera and museums. Teachers provide regular support in evening study hall and communicate to parents through bi-weekly emails.
The Buff & Blue Experience provides structure and independence for freshman and sophomore cadets. Teachers engage in team-teaching, class events, and interdisciplinary research projects in the ninth and tenth grades. Mathematics courses at all levels are available, and students generally take Literary Genres and American Literature, Ancient and Modern World History, Physical Science and Chemistry, and a variety of electives and languages. Study Skills instruction is provided in 9th grade, and 10th graders concentrate on PSAT and SAT preparation. These grades are housed together in the barracks and receive interdisciplinary support from members of their teaching teams. Parent communication is provided bi-weekly, and additional support measures are put in place as needed. Buff & Blue cadets often gain tactical leadership responsibilities, are widely involved in campus activities, and gain increasing personal independence as appropriate.
In the Pre-College Experience, team-teaching dissolves[clarification needed] due to the Advanced Placement, elective, and college classes qualified cadets enroll in. Juniors and Seniors take upper level courses in all subjects, with advanced electives available in Art and Music. Seniors in good standing may take courses at Valley Forge Military College as their ability demonstrates, and these credits count toward both high school graduation requirements and college transfer credits. Cadets who show proficiency in college courses greatly distinguish themselves in the college admission process. Guidance counselors work regularly with junior and senior cadets to guide them in college selection, assist them in the application process, and prepare them for the transition to college life. Junior and senior cadets hold the highest positions in tactical leadership and guide many campus clubs and activities. Study hall support and parent communication are strong at this level also. A capstone[clarification needed] public speaking presentation is required of all seniors.
A Post-Graduate year is available to students who have completed high school, but wish to perfect their grades and resume for the college admissions process. They may enroll in the academy and take classes in electives and core subjects as they choose. Guidance counselors also assist them in selecting and applying to the colleges of their choice.
Valley Forge Military College Degree Programs
In order to receive either an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science Degree, a cadet must complete a minimum of 60 credits, with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or higher. A cadet must complete one of eight academic fields of study, or a designated General Studies program. Those cadets electing to pursue an Associate of Arts Degree must select a field of study in Liberal Arts (Government/History or Language/Culture tracks), Business, Criminal Justice, Leadership Studies or General Studies. Those cadets electing to pursue an Associate of Science Degree must choose a field of study in Pre-Engineering, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences or General Studies.
Valley Forge Military College and Misericordia University signed a formal articulation agreement that will enable nursing students to matriculate to the university to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.SN.) degree beginning in the 2011–12 academic year.
Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and Early Commissioning Program
VFMC offers the Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program (ECP). Successful completion of this two-year program results in a cadet earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army upon graduating as a sophomore from VFMC. Graduates who are commissioned serve in the Reserve Components (Army Reserve or Army National Guard) while completing their bachelor’s degrees. Those who desire active service may compete for a position and serve in the Active Component of the Army after earning their bachelor's degree. Those selected enter active duty as a First Lieutenant, with earned longevity. Those who desire to remain in the Reserve Components after completing their bachelor’s degree still have two years of leadership experience and, in addition to a full-time career in the private sector, and will have continued leadership opportunities in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. ECP Lieutenants are obligated to serve for a total of eight years upon commissioning: the initial two years are served in the Reserve Components (Army Reserve or Army National Guard), and the additional six years are served in either the Reserve Components or the Active Component, dependent upon the needs of the Army.
Early Commissioning Program eligibility
Basic ECP eligibility and entrance requirements include a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale (2.5 for scholarship); a minimum SAT score of 850 (Math and Verbal sections only) or ACT score of 17 (920 / 19 for scholarship); pass a Department of Defense Medical Examination (arranged by Army ROTC); pass the Army height/weight and physical fitness standards; have U.S. citizenship (original naturalization document issued by INS or state issued birth certificate); and be between 17 and 27 years of age and of good moral character.
Valley Forge Military College Service Academy Preparatory Program
The Valley Forge Military College Service Academy Preparation Program (SAP) has as its mission the preparation of qualified college and academy cadets, who have achieved excellence both academically and tactically, for nomination to one of the five federal service academies. These young men and women work together and support each other with the goal of gaining admission to the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. VFMC’s SAP Program is guided by each academy's particular need. It works closely with each of the federal academies. The hallmark of the program is a personalized curriculum to ensure each cadet is fully prepared for the rigorous academic, physical fitness, moral-ethical issues, and leadership challenges.
The entire student body participates in an organized sport either in the intramural, club or varsity levels. VFMA is a member of the PIAA and competes in 13 inter-school sports teams and VFMC is a member of the NJCAA, Region 19, with 11 men's and women's sports.
Valley Forge Military Academy and College in film
Much of the movie Taps (1981), starring George C. Scott and Timothy Hutton, was filmed on the academy's campus. Many of its young stars, including Hutton, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise, participated in a 45-day period of orientation with the students of the academy to learn to drill properly as cadets. While most of the actors enjoyed and excelled at their orientation, Cruise opted to leave the training for the comforts of a nearby hotel until filming began, reportedly to isolate himself and "get into the mindset" of his psychopathic character, Cadet Captain David Shawn. Although Taps was presented as depicting core values, including honor and loyalty, in a positive light, after the filming, LTG Pearson realized that there was an anti-military tone within the plot of the movie. A note in the credits says the events in the film are not meant to reflect "the educational philosophy or teachings" of then-Valley Forge Military Academy and Junior College.
- Aaron Beasley - professional football player, NFL (Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons)
- George Deiderich - consensus All-American, professional football player, CFL (Montreal Alouettes, Ottawa Rough Riders)
- Chris Doleman - retired professional football player and Pro Football Hall of Famer
- Karl Hankton - professional football player, NFL (Carolina Panthers)
- Jeff Otah - professional football player, NFL (Carolina Panthers)
- Julian Peterson - professional football player, NFL (Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers)
- Gary Stills - professional football player, NFL (Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens)
- Larry Fitzgerald- professional football player, NFL (Arizona Cardinals)
- William R. (“Bill”) Tiefel - Chairman of the Board of CarMax, Inc.; retired chairman of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, vice chairman of Marriott International, and director of Bulgari hotels and resorts.
- Moritz Hunzinger, CEO Emeritus (1979–2004) of infas Holding AG - previously Hunzinger Information AG, Media Entrepreneur, Honorary Professor of Public Relations and Communication, graduated 1977 from VFMA.
- Steve Agee, Actor/Comedian/Writer: The Sarah Silverman Program, Jimmy Kimmel Live!
- Jimmy Sturr, musician: 14-time Grammy winner
- Paul E. Galanti - Commander, United States Navy (Retired); veterans' advocate
- Walter T. Lord, Brigadier General, United States Army
- Herbert Raymond McMaster - Lieutenant General, United States Army: historian, author, and former commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Harry J. "Jack" Mier, Jr. - Major General, Army National Guard of the United States (Retired), Former Adjutant General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Former Commander, 157th Infantry Brigade
- Brendan W. O'Connor - Master Sergeant, United States Army: Distinguished Service Cross - Afghanistan
- Gustave F. Perna - Major General United States Army: 8th Commander, Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Defense Logistics Agency; Chief logistician for United States and Coalition Forces in Iraq, U.S. Central Command Commanding General-select, Joint Munitions Command on Arsenal Island and Joint Munitions and Lethality Life Cycle Management Command at Picatinny, N.J.
- Gary Roughead - Admiral, United States Navy (Retired): Chief of Naval Operations
- Alfred A. Sanelli - Brigadier General, Pennsylvania Guard (1921–2005): one of the first cadets, Professor of Military Science, Dean of the Academy, Dean of the Junior College, and Chaplain, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, until his death
- H. Norman Schwarzkopf - General, United States Army (Retired), CENTCOM Commander, Operation Desert Storm
- Robert W. Strong, Jr. - Major General, United States Air Force (Retired) (1917–2006): Chief of Staff, Eighth Air Force (1966–1970); Third Superintendent, Valley Forge Military Academy & College
- Eric Fisher Wood, Jr. - First Lieutenant, United States Army (1919–1945): Distinguished Service Cross, World War II
- John J. Yeosock - Lieutenant General, United States Army (Retired), Commander, Third Army, Operation Desert Storm.
- Peter Huchthausen - was a Captain in the United States Navy and the author of several maritime books
- Rafael Hernández Colón - fourth Governor, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
- Bryan R. Lentz - Democratic politician: State Representative, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 161st Legislative District
- Bob Mensch - Republican state senator: Pennsylvania Senate, 24th Senate District
- Warren B. Rudman - Republican politician: United States Senator, New Hampshire
- Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria
- Prince Hermann Friedrich of Leiningen
- J.D. Salinger, author: The Catcher in the Rye
- Westley W.O. Moore - United States Army: Rhodes Scholar, White House Fellow, author of The Other Wes Moore, youth advocate
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2010)|
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- Tchaikovsky: "1812" Overture / Serenade For Strings, (1971 - Eugene Ormandy; Philadelphia Orchestra; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Valley Forge Military Academy Band; Cannons And Russian Church Bells Columbia MT30447 30447/Sony 46334)**
- "Re: VF 2006 Holiday Band Concert". YouTube. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
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- The Guidon (Wayne: Valley Forge Military Academy and College)
- Crossed Sabres (Philadelphia: Cooke Publishing et al., Yearbook)
- ON PARADE! A Pictorial History of the First 50 Years of the Valley Forge Military Academy and Junior College (Philadelphia: Cooke Publishing, 1979)
- Valley Forge Military Academy and College website
- Valley Forge Military Academy website
- Valley Forge Military College website
- Sony Classical: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.4; 1812 Overture; Marche Slave[dead link]
- Brigadier General Theodore C. Mataxis, U.S. Army: Namebase (Archive)
- Moller Pipe Organ — Alumni Memorial Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion
- "The Prayer at Valley Forge". Copy of engraving by John C. McRae after Henry Brueckner, published 1866, the inspiration for the VFMAC rank insignia design
- IMDB Entry for the motion picture Taps which was filmed on the campus of Valley Forge in 1980-81
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