Corps Day and Recognition Day Tips

UPDATED 03/16/2017

The Citadel is combining two big events for cadets the weekend of March 17 – 19, Corps Day and Recognition Day. The school website mentions three events which includes the Leadership Symposium. Since most families who come to town do so to see the Summerall Guards ceremony on Saturday morning, and this year for Recognition Day, I’ll focus on those two events.

The schedules are available online for the weekend. For a more detailed schedule for activities parents will want to attend, go to the parents page of the school website and read through the Corps and Recognition Day 2017 page.

Rifle exchange
the 2015 Bond Volunteers prepare to take their rifles and become the 2015 Summerall Guards.

Tips for parents of Bond Volunteers and Summerall Guards:

The crowd begins to form on the parade field about 30 minutes before the scheduled ceremony. The schedule lists the time as 8:45 – 9:45am. So arriving  by 8:15am to find your preferred spot along the roped off area is a good idea.

Be sure to ask your cadet where they will be as they march onto the field to know if you should be on the side closest to the barracks or the other side closer to Chapel side of the field. For instance my son was the 5th squad back on the end closest to the barracks side of the field. We stood at the roped off area closest to the 2nd battalion across the walk way from where General and Mrs. Rosa sit for parades. (Of course cadets and grads will refer to theses areas and line up for the Summerall Guards by their proper terms. Since I’m a mom and not a grad I’ve developed my own way to describe the areas to help other parents know where to stand.)

Another must is insect repellant for the morning. The entire ceremony only lasts about 20 minutes or so but after it is over you’ll want to snap photos with your cadet. It is a bit of a scramble after it ends. Ask your cadet the best way to find them after the ceremony ends. Many of them will be talking with the Summerall Guard whose rifle they now carry and receiving their Summerall Guard patch.

Most years they’ve had a luncheon for the Summerall Guards after the parade. It is at the luncheon where we purchased out Summerall Guards parent t-shirt. It is a fundraiser for them to help with expenses. Check with your cadet for the plans for this year.

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Members of the Class of 2019 begin their march to Marion Square on Recognition Day for the Class of 2019.

Tips for parents of the Class of 2020:

The schedule this year is completely different from previous years since Recognition Day has been moved from April to the same weekend as Corps Day. Stories from parents of upperclass cadets of what they did on Recognition Day won’t really apply to your experience this year.

This weekend is not like Parents Weekend where the emphasis is on spending time together. The Recognition Day part of the weekend is really about the Class of 2020 and their time together, parents while welcome to watch are not the focus. If you are planning to be in town, remember you may not see your cadet Friday afternoon and evening. They have meetings and will need to get their rooms in inspection order for the open barracks Saturday morning. If they do have time off to see you for dinner consider it a bonus visit.

Saturday will be jam-packed with activities. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for the day. Look over the schedule to see just how busy you’ll be and make your plans for lunch based on your family.

The barracks open at 8:00am. Check with your son or daughter to see if they want any food brought to them. They will have a VERY strenuous workout after the parade so they may not want anything too heavy.

The Rifle Legion and the Summerall Guards will perform on the parade field that morning. Check with your cadet to see if they will be attending both or either of those events. My son’s senior mentor was a Summerall Guard so he wanted to see that ceremony.

After the Summerall Guards exchange rifles the Corps of Cadets must prepare for the 10:00 parade. This would be a good time to have a light snack. The Canteen will be open but to avoid lines you may want to pack your own snacks or lunch. You’ll also have time after the parade and before the Gauntlet begins to grab something to eat or sit in the reception room in Mark Clark Hall between events.

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Members of the Class of 2019 participate in the gauntlet as upperclass cadets guide the activities.

The Gauntlet begins at 11:30. It is a series of physical challenges the 4th Class cadets go through together by company. They will be either on the parade field or the WLI field. Some years the school posts a map. I haven’t seen it posted yet. To get an idea of how Recognition Day was handled in the past I’ve found the PowerPoint from 2015 on the website.

The past several years after the gauntlet is over and the 4th class cadets are in the barracks and hear the announcement “The 4th Class System is no longer in effect.” The newly recognized cadets would come out to give a hug to their family members. The timing is very tight this year and the cadets may not have time to come out. The training schedule has the cookout in the barracks beginning at 1320 and the hygiene time to get ready for the retaking of the oath on the parade ground at 3:00. The March is on the schedule for 1500.

If you haven’t ordered a meal through the school (the ordering time frame has past), pack a lunch or eat in the Canteen the school.

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General Rosa and Provost Dr. Connie Book visit with class of 2019 family members at a lunch held last year after the gauntlet. This year boxed lunches will be available to purchase.

Cadets who saved an overnight and followed the protocol can take one Saturday night. Most of the cadets are too exhausted to want to do much Saturday night. If you want to go out for a nice meal Sunday is the better day to do that.

I’ll be helping my youngest daughter at her high school musical that weekend so I’ll have to miss the excitement. I look forward to seeing everyone’s photos. Next year I’ll have my own college freshman, just not a knob at The Citadel.

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L-R Provost, Dr. Connie Book, Dorie Griggs, Mrs. Donna Rosa, General John Rosa

 

Recognition Day for the Class of 2020

Recognition Day, March 18, is the day The Citadel Class of 2020 will hear the words, “The 4th Class system is no longer in effect.” The knobs have worked very hard to get to this point in the year.

Many parents have asked if there is a traditional gift to mark this milestone. While there isn’t one “have to get” item, over the years many families have given their 4th Class cadet a company t-shirt  from the campus bookstore to mark the occasion.

In the past few years an alumnus has offered a special Recognition Day t-Shirt. The sales benefit the Col Harvey M. Dick, ’53 Memorial Ring Endowment. A photo of the shirt is below and it is available on the Senior Private Etsy site. Sunday, February 20 is the last day to order this shirt.

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The decision what to give a 4th Class cadet, if anything, is up to each family. What is really important is the pride they will feel in accomplishing the toughest goal they have faced to date.

Hotels That Offer Discounts to Citadel Families

The Boat Center at The Citadel.
The picnic tables by the boat house. My favorite place on campus.

Each year I am asked about the best hotels to stay in when parents visit the school. The city is a very popular tourist destination and there are a wide variety of properties to choose from that range from luxury hotels to discount properties. Some families prefer to rent a home or condo and stay at Folly Beach or Isle of Palms. Vacation Rental Buy Owner vrbo.com is one good resource or check out any number of realtors in the area.

The following are a list of properties that offer discounts to Citadel families.

The Citadel has a link on their website to a page with hotels that offer a discount use this link to access discounts to eight hotels.

I’ve called each of the following hotels. They all have a special rate, but you need to book early and call the hotel directly to get a hotel room in the discounted block. Discount sites like hotels.com and using your AAA card can help too.

Charleston Marriott Use the link for a discounted rate. (click on the highlighted hotel name) Their phone number, 843-723 3000

Hampton Inn Airport 843-554-7154 ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Hawthorn Suites call 843-225-4411 ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Home2Suites call 843-744-4202 ask for “The Citadel Rate”

LaQuinta Inn & Suites Charleston Riverview 843-556-5200 ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Red Roof Inn Plus 843-884-1411 select the Front Desk option ask for “The Citadel Rate”

Wingate by Wyndham 843-553-4444 ask for “The Citadel Rate”

If you have a favorite property you stay at during visits, leave a comment on this post.

Navigating The Citadel Website

A beautiful Fall day at The Citadel
A beautiful Fall day at The Citadel

This blog began in the Fall of 2011. My oldest son graduated from The Citadel in May of 2011. After chairing the Georgia Citadel Parents Group for three years as well as serving as the Area Rep coordinator for the Citadel Family Association for a couple of years, I accumulated quite a bit of helpful information for parents. A blog seemed like a great place to post this information so any searching for Citadel related topics could find the information. The initial information was taken form the document I used to share with Georgia parents which is also on the CFA website under CFA Benefits titled “Survival Tips.”

After I posted the initial information I did not visit the blog site for about six months. When I did check on the stats for the site, it turned out some days the blog had over 300 hits. Then emails began coming in from parents of incoming cadets. That is when I posted a Facebook group for Parents of the Class of 2016. There is now a group for Parents of the Class of 2017.

The intent of these groups is to help families prepare for knob year and teach them how to find information on the school website. Ideally, after knob year, each parent will learn the ins and outs of the cadet year. After knob year the groups for parents become a place for the parents to post photos, and share stories.

As with many sites that post information, some readers would rather request the answers from a fellow parent instead of learning how to find the answers. The groups are manned by parents of graduates. It is important to note these parents volunteer their time. All of the parents of graduates had to learn about the 4th class system on their own. There were no Facebook groups in 2007 and most of 2008. The goal of these groups is to teach new parents how to find information on their own so they will no longer need help from the volunteers.

The first tip for new parents is this, The Citadel is a military college. The cadets are to learn to handle their own affairs. Parents are needed for support, but should not try to “fix” any problems.

Parents should encourage the cadet to seek solutions on their own. If a problem arises a knob should use their chain of command to find answers. If it is an academic problem, speaking to their professor, then the academic support office is what they should be encouraged to do.

If it is a matter a cadet does not want to share with their chain of command several resources on campus exist and can be found on the H.E.L.P. web page.

The second big tip for new parents is to use the search window on the citadel.edu web site. Just about everything you need to know as a parent can be found in this way. I will list the top web pages parents should read below.

Remember, the links may change from year to year. If you enter the name of what you are looking for into the search window on the main web site you should find the current link.

You can also go to the webpage the school put together called simply, Parents.

A-Z Sitemap – Use this link to see an alphabetical listing of various departments on campus.

Annual Events page – includes information for the big weekends including Matriculation Day

Cadet Activities – This office handles the details for the knob’s trip tot he beach, Ring Ceremony schedule, Cookies for knobs program, Host families.

Citadel Family Association – A volunteer group of parents that help with Matriuclaiton Day. They also have company and area reps as well as the Nice to Have List for knobs

Information Technology – this page includes computer recommendations and IT support information

New Cadet Information – Part of the Academic Affairs page – lists helpful informaitn for new cadets and includes links for Parents

Office of the Commandant – a great page to book mark.

Parade schedule is listed under the Visitor tab on the home page

People Search – Enter the name of your cadet, faculty or staff member to see their contact information, including their campus mailing address.

Success Packet – Includes the items each incoming knob must ring with them on Matriculation Day.

You can also use the search window on this blog to find information I’ve posted on a variety of subjects, including what moms should wear for the Ring Ceremony.

Cadets during an October parade at The Citadel
Cadets during an October parade at The Citadel

 

Gift Ideas for Citadel Cadets and Graduates

I’ve noticed that a number of people are searching for various permutations of “gifts for Citadel cadets” lately. I have learned of some other unique gifts since an earlier post and will link to them here along with some popular sites.

Brenda Harris Tustian has a wonderful site that includes customize prints for Citadel fans. See her website , then go to “Personalized Art,” scroll down to see “A Citadel Christmas” and “Gameday Memories Citadel”

Chocolate Cadet by Christophe Artisan Chocolatier Patissier
Chocolate Cadet by Christophe Artisan Chocolatier Patissier

A fellow Citadel mom recently posted a photo of a custom-made chocolate cadet from Christophe Artisan Chocolatier – Patissier. I emailed the shop for more information and learned each Chocolate Cadet is made to order by hand. They sent a photo for me to include here.  The cadet is not on their website. You need to call the shop to order, 843-297-8674. Each Chocolate cadet is $19.95 plus applicable taxes and shipping. They require a three-day lead time if you are picking up from the shop, longer if it needs to be shipped. When my grad returns from his deployment I will definitely be placing an order.

One time that is searched for frequently are the custom-made Cadet ornaments and nutcrackers by Carolina Cadets. We have an ornament and a Summerall Guard Nutcracker. They are well made a fun to display at the holidays. Our nutcracker guards the entry foyer of our home. (She will be back online in 2015)

Carolina Cadet Nutcracker and an Army Nutcracker purchased at Target.
Carolina Cadet Nutcracker and an Army Nutcracker purchased at Target.

A great gift for a graduate is the Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association. It is $400 for juniors and seniors, CGC students and Active Duty Students.

The Big Red flag or a company guidon is a great gift for a graduate. The Big Red flag can be personalized with the company letter and /or the graduation year. The staff of Carolina Flag and Banner are very nice to work with.

A BIg Red Flag with graduation year from Carolina Flag and Banner
A Big Red Flag with graduation year from Carolina Flag and Banner

Of course the Gift Shop on campus has a wide variety of terrific gifts for cadets and graduates. The frames for the diplomas may seem expensive, but once you price them at a framer you’ll see that the price is comparable. A popular gift for Recognition Day is a company t-shirt and window decal. Under the Alumni tab on the website are some nice gift ideas for the graduate.

For members of the Summerall Guards and alumni you can find nice gifts on their website under “Shop for Promo Apparel.” These items make great gifts for senior mentors who are a members of the Summerall Guards.

M. LaHart & Co. has a very nice selection of gift items for cadets and graduates.

I have learned that parents of Citadel cadets are very resourceful. If you have a great gift idea and are willing to share the idea with other parens, please post a link in the comments here.

The Citadel: A note to Parents of the Class of 2013

Seniors in the Class of 2008 march in the Long Grey Line.
Seniors in the Class of 2008 march in the Long Grey Line.

Sunday, January 6, 2013, cadets from The Citadel return back to campus for the Spring semester. For the Class of 2013 it marks the beginning of their last semester as cadets.

I’ve watched the last several years as the seniors anticipate being part of the long grey line of graduates in May. They look forward to their time to break free of the rigors of the military college and begin their life as graduates who wear the ring. Sometime during graduation week it really begins to hit them. They have worked hard for four years to earn the right to wear the band of gold, walk the long grey line and receive their diploma.  What dawns on them graduation week is that while they are moving forward with their new life, they are leaving some of the best years of their life behind. They have become family to their classmates and will now spread across the globe to begin the next stage of their life.

I’ve heard it said among alumni and I have seen it with the cadets the past few years. They spend four years trying to graduate and the rest of their lives trying to get back.

For the parents of the Class of 2013 I have a few tips for this semester and beyond. . . .

Remember tickets to graduation are limited to 8 per cadet. they can request additional, but it isn’t guaranteed. The Cadet Activities office handles all tickets. Your cadet can network with their friends to see if they have tickets to spare.

Enjoy the next four months. Realize your cadet has made it this far in a very tough program because you gave them the tools necessary to succeed. It is a great accomplishment for the whole family.

Spring semester flies by. Visit when you can. Take photos.

Plan ahead for graduation. Make reservations for lodging and meals.

If your cadet will commission with a branch of the service begin now to learn what that will mean for your cadet. The required uniform is expensive. Rituals like the first salute from an NCO also includes handing them a silver dollar. Join the Military Parents of The Citadel Facebook group. The group includes current and former members of the military who are also parents of cadets are graduates as well as parents who learn from each other as they pass through the various training then deployment stages.

Make plans to see the friends YOU have made the past four years. The Facebook groups are great, but be sure to get email and mailing addresses.

Consider purchasing a frame for their diploma from the gift shop. They seem expensive, but custom framing is more expensive.

If your cadet is a member of the Summerall Guards consider purchasing a few items now to give as gifts later.

The Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association is a great lifelong gift. Other alumni gifts can be found on the CAA website.

Moms, if you want a “mom’s ring” you may need to let your husband know. Some cadets purchase them for their mothers, but many never think about it. Your husband and your cadet could work together to get one for you.

Your senior is a young adult. They will make mistakes. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes. Be there to listen when they want to talk, but try to move from a supervisory role to interested observer/consultant. It is time for them to strike out on their own. This transition can be as difficult and even more difficult for the parents than the cadets.

For everyone in the classes of 2014 – 2016, your time is coming soon. Bookmark this entry for future years.

A Note For Parents of 2014 BVA’s:

Be prepared for a tough few months. Your cadet is about to begin their most physically challenging time at The Citadel. I am also told by graduates that they look back on their time as BVA’s as some of the best times they had at The Citadel. They just don’t have extra time to call or keep in touch. Join the Facebook pages for the Summerall Guard Foundation and The Summerall Guards once your cadet makes it. Summerall Guards wearables can be purchased through their website. BVA pants and shirts too.

 

Previous Posts about Graduation week:

Celebration, Tradition, Ritual: The Long Grey Line

Citadel Parent Crafts Her Own Graduation Ritual

Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a Cadet

Atlanta Citadel Club: 2012 Annual Muster

For the past three years I served as the chair of the Georgia Citadel Parents Group. As the chair, I was the liaison with the local alumni club and attended several of their gatherings.  The Atlanta Citadel Club is a great group of alumni who are very dedicated to the school and interested in nurturing current cadets as they progress through the school. The alumni members always make me feel welcome to the gatherings.

This past week’s annual Muster was no different. The event was held at a local restaurant. According to the alumni association website, “The first annual Citadel Alumni Muster was held in 1998. It was an Alumni Association initiative designed to facilitate an annual coming together of all alumni of the institution, with the purpose of recognizing those in the long gray line of the South Carolina Corps of Cadetswho have passed away during the preceding year.”

Michael Escoe, '73, leads the Annual Muster of the Atlanta Citadel Club, March 29, 2012.

I arrived on the early side to register and say hello before the formal program began. At the designated time the club president, Andy Frey, announced it was time to go outside for the Muster, led by David Robertson, ’90 playing the bagpipes. The gathering was held on a green in the center of a restaurant complex where they had a nice gazebo surrounded by a grassy area. Restaurants with outdoor seating surrounds the gazebo area. I can only guess that their patrons wondered what was going on as 30+ alumni and guests gathered in the space.

Michael Escoe, ’73, club Vice President, led the program. After he read the names of Deceased Alumni from Georgia from the past year, David Robertson played Amazing Grace on his bagpipes as the attendees observed a time of silent remembrance. I was struck by the contrast of the restaurant and traffic noises in the background and the beautiful sound of the bagpipes. The list of 15 names included graduates from the Class of 1941 to the Class of 2007. I read over their names again praying for their families and friends. Once the song was finished we recited the Cadet Prayer followed by The Alma Mater.

Michael Escoe reads the names of the Georgia alumni who passed in the last year. David Robertson, '90 waits to play Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.

The rest of the evening was a good-natured gathering of friends new and old. I ran into some recent graduates who know my son, and met many new friends. I am grateful for this group of graduates who helped me greatly the past several years in my quest to understand cadets who take “the road less traveled.” It is not the choice I made for my college experience, but I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the students who take on the challenge.

Where we dine when visiting The Citadel

The view from The Wreck.A year or so ago I posted this question on Facebook,”What is your favorite Charleston restaurant.” A wide variety of friends chimed in with their favorites.

Like everything else, if you ask 5 different people this question you will get 5 different answers.  To get the conversation started here I’ll list some of our favorite places to visit when we are in town.

Marina Variety Store Restaurant This restaurant is near the campus, right on Lockwood Blvd. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They have a terrific menu, and is right on the river at the Charleston Marina. Great food at a good price and it is a casual restaurant. We eat here for Sunday brunch before driving home. The Entrance to The Marina Variety Store where you can eat and do your laundry at the same time.

The Wreck Right on the river off of Shem creek. Extremely casual, with paper table clothes and plastic utensils. The food is off the boat fresh. Check their operating hours and get there right when they open.

Virginia’s On King – Not far from Marion Square, Very good Southern cooking.

Jestine”s Kitchen – a traditional spot for tourists to visit. The food is good, but expect a wait.

Charleston Crab House on James Island – Great location with none of the parking hassles of downtown Charleston. The food is consistently good. We went here with 30 people on Ring Weekend.

Vendue Rooftop – a great view, live entertainment.

Tommy Condon’s– A Irish pub with good food and atmosphere.

Sticky Fingers – A great place for barbecue and wings. Several locations.

Melvin’s – Not too far from campus terrific barbecue.

West Ashley Crab Shack – across the river from The Citadel campus. We’ve never had to wait for a table and have enjoyed all the meals we’ve eaten here. A good place to go for seafood without the parking hassle and crowds of in town.

Hominy Grill – An award-winning restaurant. We ate brunch here the Friday of Ring Weekend. The restaurant is close to campus.

Ye Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe – We stop at the location just over the bridge from The Citadel once each visit. The ice cream is great, but the sandwiches and salads are too.

Poe’s Tavern On Sullivan’s Island. A great pub with terrific burgers and sandwiches.

My friends favorites:

SNOB (Slightly North of Broad)

82 Queen

Rita’s

Poogan’s Porch

For a good listing of Charleston area restaurants visit the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau “Where to Dine” web site. A number of websites give reviews on area restaurant’s. Fodor’s is just one I check.

Please leave your tips in the comment section of this entry.

For Parents of BVA's as you wait for Cuts Day

This is the time of year parents of 2nd class cadets, or juniors, who are trying out for the Summerall Guard begin to get really nervous.  There isn’t a lot of information of the topic. I found the Wikipedia information to be very helpful in explaining the process.

If you are interested in how I handled this my son’s BVA year, you can read by previous blog post for Off the Base and this blog too. The best advice is to let your son contact you. They are too busy and exhausted right now to be in touch a lot. Check the Training schedule for the key dates like Cuts day that takes place in the Second Phase. From the Wikipedia site regarding Cuts Day:

Perfection of the drill is also stressed and much time is spent by the aspirants outside of the designated times perfecting the drill. At the end of the second phase there is a final “Cuts Day” where the aspirants are graded on their drill proficiency and for each mistake a cut is assigned. Each BVA squad is moved from one station to another where they are instructed to complete different version of The Series. A total of eight Guard graders are assigned to each station, one for each member of the squad, to assign cuts for any mistakes made. When a squad has completed their last station on Cuts Day their time in the second phase ends. Each aspirant’s total number of cuts, from both Cuts Runs and Cuts Day, are tallied by the Guard leadership at the conclusion of Cuts Day.
 I found most of the photos and video through the Facebook pages of my son’s friends who sent me friend requests over the years. The photos include cadets who are now graduates of the school. I’ll admit when I first viewed the video it was a bit disturbing.  How could anyone function with all that yelling going on.  I watched the clip about 8 times before I realized what was going on.  In the following clip you will see a squad of 2011 BVA’s in formation being yelled at by the 2010 Summerall Guards on Cuts Day. Each BVA is wearing a number. They are going through part of a series of the silent drill.
If you listen carefully you will hear a BVA in the second row yelling commands. It is hard to discern this at first because of the yelling going on. What surprised me after viewing this was that I actually began to understand what was happening. I could explain to my friends that this clip demonstrates the focus needed to ignore the yelling and listen for that one voice you were to pay attention to.  This same focus and ability to listen for instructions would be needed in a combat situation.
I also was reminded by my Citadel alumni friends throughout the process that these 2nd Class (or junior) cadets volunteered to go through this training. No one is required to go out for, or stay in, the BVA process. Even with this explanation I don’t doubt some viewers will still be confused by what they are seeing in the following video. I came to terms with the fact that it didn’t matter whether I fully understood this process or not. It  was my sons decision to be a BVA. He is an adult, and my role then, as it is now that he is in the Army, is to respect his decision and support him as I can. Some cadets begin the process but need to drop out because they have to keep grades up or other important obligations, like scholarship duties. More than one BVA has told me their grades dipped during the year.
So with the previous caveat that the process IS very tough, here is a video from Cuts Day.
Here is another short video of 2011 Cuts Day for the Duckbutts.
If you have a BVA you’ve probably heard the various names of the squads. Each one has their own tradition of how they proceed during their training. The Duckbutts are the last squad and since they line up from tallest to shortest, they are the shortest squad. Be sure to ask your cadet which group they are in. They identify themselves by numbers like 3A2 which designates their position within the Summerall Guard.
As hard as his BVA year was I’ve heard my son tell people that it was his best year. He was the first sergeant of his company that year, and a BVA, and carried a heavy academic load, so it was a year filled with serious responsibility. Even with all the exhausting physical training he and his fellow BVA’s endured, they still look back on the experience with a smile on their face. Once they are Summerall Guards they have quite a few performances, some fun like the Azalea Festival, halftime at football games and Mardi Gras. They also perform in other venues for other groups that aren’t quite as much fun. In addition to the performances they are training the new crop of BVA’s so the time commitment is considerable senior year as well. It all ends for the Summerall Guard on Corps Day when they pass their rifle on to the next class.
A few photos from February 2010 follow.
2011 BVA
The 2011 BVA's line up for the 2010 Summerall Guards. Photos from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA outside 1st Battalion
2011 BVA outside 1st Battalion. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA Cuts Day Inspection of brass and belt. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA Cuts Day Inspection of brass and belt. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA Cuts Day
The members of the 2011 BVA's are put through their paces by the 2010 Summerall Guard. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010

2011 Summerall Guards, photo and video by Stanley Leary

Corps Day Weekend, 2011

For Parents of BVA's as you wait for Cuts Day

This is the time of year parents of 2nd class cadets, or juniors, who are trying out for the Summerall Guard begin to get really nervous.  There isn’t a lot of information of the topic. I found the Wikipedia information to be very helpful in explaining the process.

If you are interested in how I handled this my son’s BVA year, you can read by previous blog post for Off the Base and this blog too. The best advice is to let your son contact you. They are too busy and exhausted right now to be in touch a lot. Check the Training schedule for the key dates like Cuts day that takes place in the Second Phase. From the Wikipedia site regarding Cuts Day:

Perfection of the drill is also stressed and much time is spent by the aspirants outside of the designated times perfecting the drill. At the end of the second phase there is a final “Cuts Day” where the aspirants are graded on their drill proficiency and for each mistake a cut is assigned. Each BVA squad is moved from one station to another where they are instructed to complete different version of The Series. A total of eight Guard graders are assigned to each station, one for each member of the squad, to assign cuts for any mistakes made. When a squad has completed their last station on Cuts Day their time in the second phase ends. Each aspirant’s total number of cuts, from both Cuts Runs and Cuts Day, are tallied by the Guard leadership at the conclusion of Cuts Day.
 I found most of the photos and video through the Facebook pages of my son’s friends who sent me friend requests over the years. The photos include cadets who are now graduates of the school. I’ll admit when I first viewed the video it was a bit disturbing.  How could anyone function with all that yelling going on.  I watched the clip about 8 times before I realized what was going on.  In the following clip you will see a squad of 2011 BVA’s in formation being yelled at by the 2010 Summerall Guards on Cuts Day. Each BVA is wearing a number. They are going through part of a series of the silent drill.
If you listen carefully you will hear a BVA in the second row yelling commands. It is hard to discern this at first because of the yelling going on. What surprised me after viewing this was that I actually began to understand what was happening. I could explain to my friends that this clip demonstrates the focus needed to ignore the yelling and listen for that one voice you were to pay attention to.  This same focus and ability to listen for instructions would be needed in a combat situation.
I also was reminded by my Citadel alumni friends throughout the process that these 2nd Class (or junior) cadets volunteered to go through this training. No one is required to go out for, or stay in, the BVA process. Even with this explanation I don’t doubt some viewers will still be confused by what they are seeing in the following video. I came to terms with the fact that it didn’t matter whether I fully understood this process or not. It  was my sons decision to be a BVA. He is an adult, and my role then, as it is now that he is in the Army, is to respect his decision and support him as I can. Some cadets begin the process but need to drop out because they have to keep grades up or other important obligations, like scholarship duties. More than one BVA has told me their grades dipped during the year.
So with the previous caveat that the process IS very tough, here is a video from Cuts Day.
Here is another short video of 2011 Cuts Day for the Duckbutts.
If you have a BVA you’ve probably heard the various names of the squads. Each one has their own tradition of how they proceed during their training. The Duckbutts are the last squad and since they line up from tallest to shortest, they are the shortest squad. Be sure to ask your cadet which group they are in. They identify themselves by numbers like 3A2 which designates their position within the Summerall Guard.
As hard as his BVA year was I’ve heard my son tell people that it was his best year. He was the first sergeant of his company that year, and a BVA, and carried a heavy academic load, so it was a year filled with serious responsibility. Even with all the exhausting physical training he and his fellow BVA’s endured, they still look back on the experience with a smile on their face. Once they are Summerall Guards they have quite a few performances, some fun like the Azalea Festival, halftime at football games and Mardi Gras. They also perform in other venues for other groups that aren’t quite as much fun. In addition to the performances they are training the new crop of BVA’s so the time commitment is considerable senior year as well. It all ends for the Summerall Guard on Corps Day when they pass their rifle on to the next class.
A few photos from February 2010 follow.
2011 BVA
The 2011 BVA's line up for the 2010 Summerall Guards. Photos from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA outside 1st Battalion
2011 BVA outside 1st Battalion. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA Cuts Day Inspection of brass and belt. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA Cuts Day Inspection of brass and belt. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010
2011 BVA Cuts Day
The members of the 2011 BVA's are put through their paces by the 2010 Summerall Guard. photo from Facebook, Feb. 2010

2011 Summerall Guards, photo and video by Stanley Leary

Corps Day Weekend, 2011