Fork Union Military Academy

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Fork Union Military Academy
Fork Union Military Academy (crest).jpg
Body, Mind, and Spirit
4744 James Madison Highway
Fork Union, Virginia
United States
Type All-male, Military, Private, Boarding, College preparatory
Established 1898
Founder Dr. William E. Hatcher
President RADM J. Scott Burhoe, USCG, Ret.
Dean COL Todd Giszack
Chaplain Rev. James Benson
Teaching staff 175
Grades 7-12 + PG
Enrollment 300-350 in the Upper School, 45-50 in the Middle School
Campus Rural, 500 acres (2 km²)
Color(s) Blue and Red         
Mascot Blue Devils
Nickname FUMA
Rival Hargrave Military Academy
Newspaper The Sabre
Yearbook The Skirmisher
Affiliation Baptist General Association of Virginia

Fork Union Military Academy is a private, all-male, military boarding school located in the town of Fork Union, Virginia. The school is more commonly known by its acronym FUMA (pronounced "foo-mah" as of late; "few-mah" in earlier times).

Fork Union is affiliated with the Baptist General Association of Virginia and accepts students from grades 7-12. The school has a post-graduate (PG) program, through which high school graduates can improve their athletic abilities and SAT scores in preparation for college. These PG students are often athletes seeking to qualify for Division I scholarships.[citation needed] The school has a regular academic session which runs from August to May and a four-week summer session in July.


Located on a 1,300-acre (5.3 km2) campus in the rolling hills of central Virginia’s Piedmont region, Fork Union Military Academy was initially founded as Fork Union Academy in October 1898 by Dr. William E. Hatcher, a prominent local Baptist minister. The first class had 19 boys and girls.

Fork Union’s first ever barracks

In 1902, the academy took on a military structure to provide organization, discipline, and physical development for the boys of what was a rapidly growing school. In 1913, the academy became an all-male institution and changed its name to Fork Union Military Academy. That same year, the Academy began receiving support from the Baptist General Association of Virginia, which continues to this day.

Some of its buildings are named after benefactors that have helped with upkeep, for example, the Guy E. Beatty Library, the Estes Dining Center, Hatcher Hall, the Wicker Science Center, and Jacobson Hall.


The official mission of Fork Union Military Academy is to educate, develop, and inspire young men in a college preparatory, Christian, military environment. Cadets build character, and learn leadership, independence, confidence, responsibility, and discipline in a setting that encourages mental, physical, and spiritual growth.[1]

Military organization is used to structure the daily routine. While the academy currently has no direct relationship with any branch of the military, the school's system has been in place for more than 100 years.[2]

The school offers a variety of sports, clubs and organizations for cadet participation during free time in the week and on weekends. Athletics and clubs are a popular diversion from the rigors of cadet life at Fork Union.

FUMA's crest shows a pair of crossed swords, a book and a star. These three symbols represent FUMA's leading principles and motto: body, mind, and spirit.

In addition to the Academy’s regular school session, a four-week, non-military summer session is offered in July including courses in English, history, foreign language, mathematics, science, and leadership.


Fork Union prepares cadets for college, achieving a 100% acceptance rate. Graduating classes are routinely awarded millions of dollars in scholarships.[3] Both Standard and Advanced High School Diplomas are offered, as well as dual-enrollment classes through Richard Bland College.


Fork Union is a non-profit organization that is governed by a Board of Trustees, many of whom are alumni and community leaders.

The school is fully accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States.[4]

One Subject Plan[edit]

Fork Union follows a unique curriculum schedule in the Upper School (grades 9-12 and postgraduate) known as the One Subject Plan. Cadets at Fork Union take one subject at a time, as opposed to a conventional schedule with six to eight classes per day or a block schedule. The regular academic session is divided into five grading periods of seven weeks each. In each grading period, the cadets take one class. They remain with the teacher of that course all day, every day during that period. Fork Unions’s low student-to-faculty ratio ensures that each teacher is usually responsible for about 10 to 17 students at a time. Fork Union states that this scheduling is beneficial for its cadets, as they are able to focus wholeheartedly on one subject at a time and benefit from the personal attention they receive from the teachers as a result of the schedule.[5]

Supervised study[edit]

A cadet studying during CQ in Snead Hall

Fork Union provides a scheduled supervised study time each Sunday through Thursday evening. All cadets are required to be at their desks in their rooms, studying for approximately two hours each school night. This study time is referred to as Call to Quarters (CQ).

Talking, playing music, watching television, and visiting other cadets' rooms are prohibited during CQ. Faculty members share supervisory duties to make sure that all cadets observe these CQ restrictions and spend their time actively studying.

Cadets who need tutoring or help with specific assignments can make use of "Peer Study" sessions that allow cadets to work together in the library, under supervision. Cadets in honors or advanced placement courses are allowed additional evening study time to complete their more demanding assignments.

Fork Union maintains that the CQ study period “helps instill good study habits that are essential to learning and succeeding in the classroom, both [at Fork Union] and at college. Students learn what they can accomplish in their lives when they focus.”[6]

Military structure and discipline[edit]

Fork Union Military Academy provides a structured military environment for its cadets. Military aspects of Fork Union’s system include the wearing of uniforms, a military-style organization of personnel, accountability for personal appearance and the state of one's room, ranks, and a chain of command. The rank structure adopted by the Corps of cadets mirrors the US Army's enlisted ranks, with the exclusion of the ranks of PV2 and Specialist. Its officer ranks mirror those of the Army JROTC's rank structure, with the rank of Cadet Colonel rarely being used.

The Corps and Companies[edit]

The Corps of Cadets consists of a battalion, with the Middle School and Upper School recently being combined. Middle School cadets are 7th grade through 8th grade. The Middle School resides within Echo Company, and Middle School cadets come under the authority of Upper School officers assigned to Echo Company.

Snead Hall, home of Alpha, Bravo, and Delta Companies

The Upper School consists of cadets from 9th grade through Postgraduate year. The Upper School cadets reside in Jacobson Hall which is home to Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, and Echo Companies. There is also a drill team company, Retan Rifle(which exists for special events only), that performs in parades across Virginia. Members of the Upper School band march in parades on campus and around the state along with the Retan Rifles and Fork Union’s Bagpipe Corps. Cadet Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) live as a part of each company. Each company is subdivided into three platoons, each with its own NCOs and Officers. Platoons are subdivided into Squads led by Cadet Sergeants. Squad and Platoon leaders are accountable to the higher company leadership and to adult members of the Commandant’s Department, or Tactical Officers (TACs), who are assigned to each company to supervise the cadets. Cadets can hold many leadership positions ranging from squad leader (Cadet Corporal/Sergeant) to Battalion Commander (Cadet Lieutenant Colonel or, in exceptional circumstances, Cadet Colonel).

In 1946, and at least as early as 1944, there was a Junior School consisting of Grades 1 through 7. In the 1946 Skirmisher (the Annual including all students) Grade 7 was listed in the Junior school as the Junior School Class of 1946. Grades 1 through 6 were simply listed as Grade 1, etc. There were 9 students in 1st Grade 13 in 2nd Grade, 14 in 3rd Grade, 29 in 4th Grade, 43 in 5th Grade, 44 in 6th Grade, and 57 in 7th Grade.[7]

All the students had uniforms and marched as called for, especially in the Mother's Day Parade in 1946. However, only some of the 3rd graders were listed in Company C which were primarily the youngest students.


A large part of the military system at Fork Union revolves around inspection of the cadet’s rooms and personal appearance. Cadet’s rooms are inspected daily to ensure they make their beds, wax and buff their floors to a high shine, organize all clothing, shoes, and drawers in the room in a specific manner, keep all surfaces dusted and clean, clean any streaks on windows or mirrors, keep their uniforms clean and pressed, and their shoes well shined. Twice a week a cadet’s personal appearance is inspected to guarantee a clean shave, clean uniform, and well shined shoes.


Violations of rules have predictable consequences. The most frequent form of consequences is based on a demerit system that can result in "tours" of marching back and forth for 30 minutes (30 minutes equals one "tour"). These penalty tours are known as Extra Duty, or E.D., and are marched during the cadets free time in the week and over the weekend. If a cadet has pending tours over a weekend, they are ineligible to leave the campus for day passes or leaves. Each cadet is given a standard number of credits each month to offset potential demerit penalties, however once a cadet has exceeded these credits, each successive demerit is accompanied by a tour of E.D. Cadets with rank can give demerits to cadets of lower rank for offenses, but there is often an informal administrative process that includes several cadets of responsible rank and a faculty member. Infractions for study hall (CQ) violations and failure to complete homework are severe but do not negatively impact grades. For example, a cadet with a full set of credits who fails to turn in two consecutive homework assignments can quickly lose all his afternoon free time to marching tours for about half a week. A study hall infraction can also lead to loss of the ability to go home for a leave weekend. This is an incentive for cadets to complete their homework assignments. A cadet with an accumulation of excessive demerits can forfeit rank, privileges, free time, and sometimes even visits home.

Cadets are not permitted to haze or physically abuse one another and violation of these rules can result in expulsion. The Academy has a zero tolerance policy on alcohol and drugs. Possession or use will result in expulsion.

Honor System[edit]

The Honor Code restricts cadets at Fork Union from lying, cheating, or stealing or the toleration of anyone that does. Any cadet accused of a violation to the Honor Code is sent to the Honor Council, a group of cadets elected by the Corps of Cadets. If the cadet is found guilty, the Council will offer a recommendation of the proper punishment to the Commandant, who ultimately makes the final decision on the appropriate response. Honor Code violations can result in referral to Tribunal; however, the Honor Council often makes a demerit-based recommendation to the Commandant. In cases involving especially egregious or repeat offenses, the offending Cadet can be recommended to a Faculty Tribunal, which has the authority to expel cadets.



  • Hatcher Hall – Administrative offices and liberal arts classrooms
  • Wicker Science Building and Moretz Learning Center – Math and Science classrooms and Fork Union’s planetarium
  • Vaughan Hall – Social Center / Student Activities[9]
  • Wicker Chapel
  • Veterans Memorial
  • Guy E. Beatty Library – 21,000 book library
  • Dorothy Estes Dining Hall
  • Thomas Gymnasium – Home of the Prep and Varsity basketball teams
  • Estes Athletic Complex - an 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) athletic center
  • Fork Union Aquatic Center - home to the nationally ranked Virginia Prep League and state champion swim team
  • Jacobson Hall – The 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2), 250 room barracks opened for cadet August 20, 2012 and now houses Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Echo, and Delta companies, replacing both Snead and Memorial Halls at a cost of approximately $20 million. Ground was broken October 22, 2010.[10]

FUMA Athletics[edit]

Fork Union's Track and Field team is dominant in the state, winning 21 of the last 22 state titles[11]


There are only two postgraduate athletic programs at Fork Union. The PG football team is led by head coach John Shuman. The PG basketball program was coached by Fletcher Arritt, the subject of a documentary titled "The Passing Game."


The Prep teams fielding players from grades 9-12 include Football, Basketball, Baseball, Wrestling, Soccer, Cross Country, Track and Field, Orienteering, Shooting Sports, and Swimming and Diving. The school is most noted for its Football and Track programs. The Fork Union Outdoor Track team won 20 straight VISAA state championships in 2008. Many athletes have gone on from the academy to compete in collegiate athletic programs, and pursue careers on professional teams.

Middle School[edit]

Middle School cadets participate in sports at the Junior Prep level, or within intramural activities.

Clubs and organizations[edit]

There are many different clubs and organizations that cadets can participate in while attending Fork Union.[12] Though new clubs are often started annually by new cadets to meet demand, the more permanent list of clubs includes:

Notable alumni[edit]



  • Earle Davis Gregory - Considered to be the first Virginian to receive the Medal of Honor and called the "Sergeant York" of Virginia
  • John T. Chain, Jr. - Retired U.S. Air Force General, former Commander in Chief of Strategic Air Command
  • Robert H. Scales - Retired U.S. Army Major General, former Commandant of the U.S. Army War College
  • William Knox Martin - He was Boeing's first test pilot and Chief Instructor recording more than forty test flights; he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Aviation Section during WW1 until wounded and discharged; he was the first man to fly over the Andes; Martin was posthumously inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005[13][14][15]



Literature, television and arts[edit]

  • David Huddleston - The Big Lebowski, Blazing Saddles, Brian's Song, Smokey and the Bandit II, How the West Was Won
  • Billy Campbell - Rocketeer, Once and Again, 2000 People's Choice Award for Favorite Male performer in a new series
  • Lloyd Dobyns - Former NBC News reporter and correspondent


National Football League[edit]

Fork Union alumni have had great success in reaching the NFL

Over 80 players drafted or signed by teams, at least 30 players making their way into the starting lineup of a regular season game, 12 players who have been selected in the First Round of the NFL Draft since 1954, 7 players who have been selected to one or more Pro Bowl appearances, and at least 12 players on teams that played in Super Bowl games.[16][17] The list includes:

Moyer scandal[edit]

On October 26, 1999, Gregory Allen Moyer was convicted with 14 counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. Moyer was an 8th grade science teacher at Fork Union Military Academy from 1994-1996. During this time, the academy had a corporal punishment policy. With written parental permission, the headmaster or commandant of the Middle School could administer paddling with the cadet fully clothed. Moyer allegedly offered a deal to a cadet where he would not turn in a delinquency report regarding the cadet if he would allow Moyer to paddle his exposed buttocks. Inside Moyer's campus-based apartment, inappropriate pictures of cadets were found, in addition to as journals depicting the cadets' offenses.[18]

Days before he was to appear in court after losing his appeal of a three-and-a-half year prison sentence Moyer who had been released on $50,000 bond posted by the parents of one of the cadets involved in the scandal, jumped bail and disappeared. Moyer was featured on the January 10, 2004, episode of America's Most Wanted, and students at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey Campus in Aguascalientes, Mexico where Moyer had been employed as a teacher since 2001 called the show's tip line. Moyer was apprehended by the Mexican police around midnight on April 16, 2004 at a hotel in Mexico City and extradited back to the United States. [19]


  1. ^ "Our Mission & Our Core Values". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  2. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived July 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Academics". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  5. ^ "One Subject Plan". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  6. ^ "Supervised Study". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  7. ^ "Skirmisher 1946", the Class of 1946 Annual (c) 1946
  8. ^ "Our Campus". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  9. ^ "Vaughan Hall". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  10. ^ "Construction Underway on New Barracks at FUMA". 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  11. ^ "FUMA Track Team State Champions Once Again". 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  12. ^ "Cadet Life". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  13. ^ "History Project Discovers Alum William Knox Martin" (PDF). Fork Union Military Academy. March 2007. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Boeing's First Test Pilot". Fork Union Military Academy. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  15. ^ "William Knox Martin". Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society. 2005. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ "NFL Alumni". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°45′40.7″N 78°15′37.6″W / 37.761306°N 78.260444°W / 37.761306; -78.260444