The cadets of the United States Military Academy first began the practice of wearing class rings in 1835.The United States Military Academy class ring has traditionally been worn on the left hand, but most recent graduates choose to wear it on their right hand, which is likely in response to the dilemma posed by wearing both a West Point ring and a wedding ring on the same finger.
Some graduates choose to wear both on their left hand. While at West Point, the ring is worn so that the class crest is worn to the inside and closest to one's heart. Upon graduation, the ring is worn so that the West Point crest is closest to the heart.
Ring Weekend is a tradition at the United States Military Academy where senior cadets are awarded their West Point class ring. West Point was the first American school to have class rings.It is awarded to senior cadets shortly after the start of their senior year, after which there is a formal dinner and dance (called a "hop" in cadet slang) following the ceremony for the cadets and their guests.
After the ring ceremony, Firsties are mobbed by plebes reciting the "Ring Poop":
Oh my Gosh, sir/ma'am! What a beautiful ring! What a crass mass of brass and glass! What a bold mold of rolled gold! What a cool jewel you got from your school! See how it sparkles and shines? It must have cost you a fortune! May I touch it, may I touch it please, sir/ma'am?
The term "ringknocker" refers to the alleged custom of some graduates to gently rap their ring against a hard surface in social situations; this serves as an unobtrusive signal of their status to any other graduates in the vicinity. However, a negative social-networking connotation also associates with the term, in that the term "implies that if there is a discussion in progress, the senior (West) Pointer need only knock his large ring on the table and all Pointers present are obliged to rally to his point of view."
Cadets choose their ring several months in advance, selecting everything from size (the traditional large and heavy men's casting, or the less bulky women's version), color (white gold, yellow gold, or no-luster palladium), and stone (some rings are all gold and embossed with the West Point seal where the stone would have been set). Some cadets opt to "inherit" pieces of rings from other family members or mentors who have also graduated from West Point.
The rings are customized for each cadet, and there are very few standard-seen practices, save the use of symbol black onyx and gold to represent the school colors, but this is seen in a minority of rings. West Point alumni may donate their rings to be added to the smelting pot when a new batch of rings are cast. Also, the stone from an older ring can be removed and placed into a new graduate's ring.
There are also ring-related souvenirs. Students can pick out items for family members made to resemble their class ring such as cufflinks, pendants, and pins. All these items of jewelry bear the same markings as the top of the ring: the words "West Point", the year the Cadet graduated (e.g., West Point 2005), and stones matching the cadet's class ring.
By longstanding custom, many graduates choose to present a miniature of the West Point ring as an engagement ring. President Eisenhower, then a young lieutenant, gave a miniature to Mamie Eisenhower as the couple's engagement ring.
In early years, Class rings often contained a reverse motif seal crest that was often used for wax sealing of both official military and personal correspondence. This to aid the senders authenticity. Tradition has it that the seal was broken upon the owners death to prevent its use by other persons.[ citation needed ]
When Lt. General Lesley McNair was killed in action on July 25, 1944, as a result of being caught up in the intensive aerial bombing of Operation Cobra, the only relic relating to him that was recovered was his West Point class ring. The ring was subsequently donated to the United States Military Academy by General McNair's widow, and is part of the Academy's collection.
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The Marine Military Academy is a private college preparatory academy located in Harlingen, Texas, US, offering a college preparatory curriculum for boys in grades 7–12 plus one year of post-graduate study. The school was founded in 1965. Its traditions and ideals are inspired by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), but the school is not affiliated with the USMC except through its Junior ROTC program.
The United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS), sometimes referred to as West Point Prep, is a preparatory school for the United States Military Academy (USMA). Located in West Point, New York, its official mission is "to provide academic, military and physical instruction in a moral-ethical military environment to prepare and motivate candidates for success at the United States Military Academy."
The Sandhurst Military Skills Competition is a military skills competition at West Point that first began in 1967 with the presentation of a British officer's sword to the United States Corps of Cadets by the British Exchange Officer. 2010's event, dubbed SANCOM10, was a two-day event conducted at West Point, New York. The 2009 competition featured a record 49 teams and nearly 500 competitors. Besides the 36 squads from each of the West Point companies, visiting service academy teams included the Naval, Air Force and Coast Guard Academies, Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) teams "Red" and "Blue", Australia's Royal Military College Duntroon, Canada's Royal Military College (RMC), the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, and the Chilean Military School. That year saw eight ROTC squads: Texas A&M, BYU, East Carolina University, Iowa State University, Florida Tech, Georgetown, University of Hawaii, and Appalachian State.
The uniforms of the United States Army distinguish soldiers from other service members. U.S. Army uniform designs have historically been influenced by British and French military traditions, as well as contemporary U.S. civilian fashion trends. The two primary uniforms of the modern U.S. Army are the Army Combat Uniform, used in operational environments, and the Army Green Service Uniform worn during everyday professional wear and during formal and ceremonial occasions that do not warrant the wear of the more formal blue service uniform.
The West Point Cadets' Sword is issued to cadet officers of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York for wear when the uniform is designated as "under arms," to include formal functions, drill, parades, inspections and graduation. The swords are issued to cadets in their First Class (4th) year, and are returned to the Academy upon separation, although Cadets have the option of buying their saber or purchasing a newly made one. Despite its straight blade and lack of a knuckle guard, it is referred to by USMA staff and cadets as a "saber," likely because the commands for its manual of arms utilize that term as the command of execution
The Indoor Obstacle Course Test (IOCT) is a test of full-body functional physical fitness administered by the Department of Physical Education (DPE) at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. DPE considers the IOCT to be one of the best evaluations of total body fitness given in the Army. Cadets who earn an A− are authorized to wear the IOCT Badge on their athletic shorts.
The Department of Physical Education is the academic department that oversees the physical development program at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. DPE is headquartered in the Arvin Cadet Physical Development Center. DPE has 24 Military faculty and 25 civilian instructors and professors. The head of the department holds the ceremonial title of Master of the Sword, known within the department as the MOS. This title dates back to when the Cadets at West Point were taught swordsmanship as part of their military and physical training. The current Master of the Sword is COL Nicholas Gist, who has held the position since 2015. The department's stated mission is:
The Department of Physical Education develops warrior leaders of character who are physically and mentally tough by engaging cadets in activities that promote and enhance a healthy lifestyle, physical fitness, movement behavior, and psychomotor performance.
The United States Military Academy and grounds were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 due to the Revolutionary War history and the age and historic significance of the academy itself. The majority of the buildings in the central cadet area are historic.
The history of the United States Military Academy can be traced to fortifications constructed on the West Point of the Hudson River during the American Revolutionary War in 1778. Following the war, President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy (USMA) on the site in 1802. In 1817 the academy was transformed by the appointment of Sylvanus Thayer who drastically reformed the curriculum.
The West Point Band is the U.S. Army's oldest active band and the oldest unit at the United States Military Academy, traces its roots to the American Revolutionary War. At that time, fifers and drummers were stationed with companies of minutemen on Constitution Island, across the river from West Point. In 1778, General Samuel Holden Parsons' 1st Connecticut Brigade crossed the Hudson River and established West Point as a permanent military post. After the American Revolution, Congress disbanded most of the Continental Army, but "the 55 men at West Point", members of the 2nd Continental Artillery, remained as they were. Among their ranks stood at least one drummer and one fifer, who alone maintained the tradition of military music at West Point.