Congratulations to the 2013 Summerall Guards!

2011 Summerall Guard photo by Stanley LearyMy Facebook feed is lighting up with congratulatory notes for the new members of the 2013 Summerall Guards. Cuts Day was yesterday when the 2013 BVA’s were put through their paces. The school usually posts the full list right before Corps Day.

Be sure to make your hotel reservations now for the weekend of March 16-18. The rifle exchange usually happens Saturday morning. Last year the outgoing 2011 Summerall Guards did not do the whole Citadel series before passing their rifles to the 2012 BVA’s, now the 2012 Summerall Guards.

2011 Summerall Guards prepare to pass their rifles. photo by Stanley Leary

Prior to March 17 be sure to ask your son whether he will be closer to the stands or the chapel side of the field as they march out. That way you will know what side of the field to stand on to take photos. Be sure to meet as many other Summerall Parents as you can so you can share photos and video. Fortunately many of the families post their videos to YouTube.

2012 Bond Volunteer Aspirants march onto the parade field. photo by Stanley Leary.

They host a BBQ lunch that afternoon. You can purchase your Summerall Guards Parent t-shirt at the luncheon. It is a fundraiser for the Summerall Guards to help pay their expenses.

Their first big performance is the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC.

Congratulations to the 2013 Summerall Guards!

The 2012 BVA's prepare to receive their rifles and become the 2012 Summerall Guards. photo by Stanley Leary

Learning Cadet Speak

1st Battalion Quad photo by Stanley Leary

I am now bilingual. I speak English and Citadel parent. It took a while to catch on to the new terms, abbreviations and slang terms, but by my son’s sophomore year I was just about fluent.

A number of  parents of high school seniors are starting their journey to learn about the 4th Class System. A quick look at the search terms leading to this blog tell me there are a good number of new families seeking information.

I’ll post a few terms here. If you are reading this and are the parent or family member of a cadet, please put the terms you’ve learned over the years. You can purchase a copy of the guide book for knobs called The Guidon, or download it here and read about other terms. The Guidon is updated each year and is available online and in the bookstore in Mark Clark Hall on campus.

Terms:

All in – When all cadets are to be in their room in the barracks.

Black Badge, Red Badge – ROTC pins for cadets who are on an Army or Marine contract.

BVA – Bond Volunteer Aspirant, a junior cadet who wants to be a member of the Summerall Guards.

Brace – a form of attention that knobs must do around any upper class cadet. Try to touch their chin to their spine

Blitz polish or make shine. Brass and shoes can be referred to as being “blitzed out”

Confinements or Cons – punishment for a violation.

Corps Day – a weekend in March to celebrate the founding of the Corps of Cadets.

Division – in the barracks the floors are referred to as divisions, ex. the fourth floor is the 4th division.

El Cid – slang for The Citadel. years ago some cadets cut up a bumper sticker to rearrange the letters. The name stuck.

E.S.P. – Evening Study Period

“Fix your smile” –  refers to the band on your cap.  Keep it down or else you can see a “Smile” of white between the black bill and the white cap.

FTX – Field Training Exercise, usually a weekend trip with the ROTC program.

Gaudy – a term used when a knob or other cadet acts a bit cocky or outrageous

Guidon – a military flag that designates a company or platoon sized group. Each company has a guidon at The Citadel. The clerk (sophomore cadet officer) carries the guidon during the parades. Knobs don’t touch the guidon. Also the name of the book published each year that Knobs have to memorize.

Knobbie mission – when a senior sends a knob to play a prank, usually on another senior.

Knobbie walk – 120 paces a minute

Ombudsperson or Ombudsman – The officials on campus appointed to investigate concerns. A great resource for parents.

Open and Closed weekends – Open means the upper class cadets can go off campus for the night(s) if they don’t have any tours or confinements.  Closed means everyone must be in the barracks at the appointed time each night. You can visit knobs on Open AND Closed weekends.  They will not be on campus FTX weekends.

PT – Physical Training

Press and Full Press – The press is the metal dresser with drawers for folded clothes,  The full press is the closet for hanging clothes.

Quad – the red and white open area of the barracks. See this link for a panoramic view of 1st Battalion (Murray Barracks)

Sallyport – entry gate to the barracks

SMI – Saturday Morning Inspection

Shirt stays – an elastic band that attaches to the bottom of a uniform shirt and to the top of dress socks. It keeps the shirt in place and the socks pulled up.

Sir sandwich – begin and end all answers to an upperclassmen with sir

Spirit Run – Physical training time that takes place with the knobs and the cadre.

Table top – while bracing the knob leans as far back as possible without wavering making them look like a tabletop

TAC officer (Training Advising and Counseling) the staff person usually active duty or retired officer. Each company and battalion has a TAC officer assigned. One point of contact for parents.

Tours – punishment for a violation. walk the Quad with your rifle for one hour = one tour.

Front sallyport of Murray Barracks. photo by Stanley Leary

The Citadel: Learning About LDAC and Branch Assignments

***Updated LDAC links for 2013***

The summer before our son started his senior year I had a lot of questions about how the transition from ROTC cadet to an active duty Army second lieutenant would happen. That summer my husband was peaking at a conference in Charleston. My daughter and I went along and I made an appointment with a Major in the Army ROTC department at The Citadel to ask a few questions. I was clear that I wasn’t there to ask about my son in particular but rather I wanted to learn what steps are involved in going from a cadet to an officer. I didn’t tell my son about the meeting either;)

LDAC 2010 Graduation
Graduation from LDAC 2010. photo from LDAC

The Major was very helpful.  He gave me a chart. I’ll explain the system as I understand it, but I encourage you to do your own research. Just like cadet life each persons path is different.

Our son was on a 4 year Army ROTC scholarship. That meant while I was in Charleston the summer of 2010, he was in the Seattle area at Joint Base Lewis McChord going through the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).  The chart we reviewed dealt with the LDAC process too.

The summer before senior year, for 4 year cadets, or after senior year for 3 year cadets, they attend LDAC. They enter the course with a grade from their sending school’s ROTC department. During the 29 day course they are graded on various tasks including the Army Physical Fitness Test. They accumulate points for each task. If they do really well in each task they can earn RECONDO status, which gives them an extra point. If they are the top several cadets in a platoon they earn an extra half a point. The Major said the extra point for RECONDO status can bump a cadet up on the point list over 1,000 names.

A note for parents: The Public Affairs office at Joint Base Lewis McChord does a terrific job of keeping family members posted. The cadets have to give up their cell phones a few days into their time there. You can send packages but they have to eat what ever is sent when the package is opened. They usually share with the people in their platoon. Be sure to ask your cadet to tell you their company and platoon. You can then know how to mail them letters and packages and also will know what group of photos my contain a glimpse of your cadet. The LDAC Facebook group is usually posted a month or so before the first group reports. the Warrior Forge blog has links to the Flickr photo site and other helpful information like training schedules. They  broadcast the graduation online for each class. The cadets who have just graduated from their college are commissioned at the end of this graduation. The Citadel rising seniors (4 year ROTC cadets) are commissioned the day before commencement

At the end of the summer, early in the first semester, the Army looks at where they need to fill positions. The cadets have already filled out forms indicating which branch of the U.S. Army they would like to serve. Three of their choices must be combat arms related branches. At some point in the fall the assignments are given.

At the Citadel they have what is called the branch meeting. All the graduating Army ROTC contract cadets are gathered in a seminar classroom and each receives an envelope with their assigned branch. The cadet is not guaranteed a spot in their choice of branch. Our son listed Armor as his first choice and that is where he was assigned. I heard from others who were assigned branches far lower on their list.

Some cadets will know their duty station, or where they will be based after training, before graduation. Some will find out at their Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). Each branch of the service trains at a different base. Armor and Infantry are at Ft. Benning, GA. Our son was in the Armor branch so this is where his training in the Armor BOLC took place. A quick Google search for the branch and  BOLC should turn up the base website and Facebook groups they may have.

Army ROTC cadets take their oath in Summerall Chapel. photo by Stanley Leary

The school will post the details of the commissioning service on the main website or the page that lists the various commencement weekend events. The Army is usually the largest group to be commissioned and the service is held early Friday morning. Plan to get to the chapel an hour early for the best selection of seats for the service. Two family members can go forward during the service to pin the bars on the new officer. After the ceremony inside, the new officers go outside to the parade field to receive their first salute, usually from a friend who is a non-commissioned officer (NCO). It is customary for the new second lieutenant to give the NCO a silver dollar after the salute when they shake hands.

Report dates for each new second lieutenant will vary greatly. some may need to report right away and for others it could be months before they start their new job in the Army.

The first salute. photo by Stanley Leary
The new second lieutenants, friends and family. photo by Stanley Leary

BVA's and Summerall Guards: Cuts Day, Mardi Gras and Corps Day

The 2011 Summerall Guards run with the 2012 BVA's the Friday night of Corps Day Weekend. photo by Stanley Leary

Well, February is here. At The Citadel that means the Bond Volunteer Aspirants (BVA’s) are moving close to Cuts Day. I checked the training schedules the other day to find that Cuts Day for the 2013 BVA’s is Feb. 6. *NOTE: since this posting a parent has told me Cuts Day is delayed until Feb. 14. if you have other information, please post it to the comments section below.

While the BVA’s look forward to Cuts Day as the end of their training period, the current Summerall Guards are moving closer to their trip to New Orleans, LA and Mardi Gras. The time has flown by since my son was a junior and BVA. We waited anxiously to hear if he had made the Summerall Guards. I combed the internet for photos of their first big appearance after Corps Day at the Azalea Festival.

I’ve written about our journey before but this time of year the memories come flooding back. I’ll include a few tips here for parents of both the BVA’s and Summerall Guards.

Be sure to ask or email your BVA and have a plan for how they will inform you if they have made it. I logged onto Facebook the night we thought my son would find out and began to see congratulatory messages being sent to some cadets. My son went tot he gym to work out that night and we received a call from him on his way back to the barracks. Once they find out they have made it, practice for their first appearance on Corps Day begins.

The 2011 Summerall Guards wait for the 2013 BVA's to march onto the field to take their rifles. photo by Stanley Leary.

The Mardi Gras schedule is usually known sometime in January. This year the Summerall Guards posted the schedule to their Facebook group page.  I’ll include the schedule here in case you aren’t on Facebook.

2012 Summerall Guards Mardi Gras parade Schedule:
17 Feb 1830 hrs Le Krewe d”Etat
18 Feb UNK time Krewe of Endymion
19 Feb 1200 hrs Krewe of Thoth
21 Feb 1000 hrs King Rex Parade

The Times Picayune posts news, photos, videos and more on their website. I watched one parade via their web cam last year.

Corps Day Weekend 2012 is March 16 – 18. On Saturday the current Summerall Guards will march onto the parade field first. The schedule is posted to the main website about a month ahead of time. Last year the 2011 Summerall Guards did not do the entire series. They marched out did an abbreviated series then prepared to greet the BVA’s. The BVA’s march onto the field and in a very moving ceremony they take their rifles from the preceding class of Guards.

One tip: find out from your cadet if when they march out they are on the side closest to the barracks or closer to the Summerall Chapel. This will help you know where to stand to watch. My son was in the barracks side 5 rows back on the end. We stood in front of the reviewing stands right on the rope. As with the parades it is really hard to tell the cadets apart. Knowing their position will help you get great photos. While the new class goes through their performance of the series the out going Guards kneel to one side and watch. When it is over the new guards receive their patch from one of the out going Guards. They usually have a fundraising BBQ lunch. At the lunch you’ll have the opportunity to purchase the Summerall Guards Parent and Supporter t-shirts. The 2012 Summerall Guards set up a web site to sell the t-shirts and receive donations. I’m not sure that will be continued with the next class.

The 2012 BVA's march onto the parade field to receive their rifles. photo by Stanley Leary

The first big performance of the new Summerall Guards is the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC. I found photos through the official website and the local newspaper. The festival now has their own Facebook page too. The Summerall Guards act as escorts for the young ladies (high school aged) who are called Belles and serve as guides for the tour and festival. I don’t know many families that attend this festival. If you live close by and can post photos for the other families I’m sure everyone will appreciate it.

A quick search on YouTube will turn up scores of videos posted of the Summerall Guards over the years. I’ve noticed the number of videos increase each year. Be sure to introduce yourself tot he other families of the current guards. You can share photos and videos with each other. A great way to commemorate your cadet becoming a Summerall Guard is to purchase a nutcracker made by Carolina Cadets. She usually sells ornaments at a table during Parents Weekend and other major weekends. I ordered mine online.

Best wishes to all the 2013 Bond Volunteer Aspirants and their families!

A special thanks to my husband, photographer, Stanley Leary, for the photos. You can see all his photos of Corps Day 2011 here. To see what the ceremony looked like March of 2010 see this clip. THe passing of the rifles is at about the 6:50 mark. A video of the March 2011 is here.

2011 Summerall Guards photo by Stanley Leary

The 2012 Summerall Guards perform the CItadel series for the first time. photo by Stanley Leary

The 2011 Summerall Guard watch as the 2012 Summerall Guard perform the Citadel series for the first time.
Family and friends greet the 2011 and 2012 Summerall Guards after the ceremony. photo by Stanley Leary

The Citadel: Preparing for Knob Year, Class of 2016

A member of the Class of 2015 reports on Matriculation Day 2011.

It’s hard to believe it is time for the next class of cadets to prepare for their Matriculation Day. Last year at this time I began to post advice for the Class of 2015. The nice thing about a military school is the same routines are in place each year with minor changes.  The advice in the post The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Knobs is still valid. A Letter to the Class of 2015 contains words of wisdom for incoming cadets of any future class and their parents too. Be sure to read these two entries and the links in them for information on reporting. Also review each link on the Citadel Parent Info page on this blog.

Visit the Matriculation Headquarters page. The required items to bring can be found in the Success Packet listed under Important Documents and Links.

To make it easier to find helpful information for new cadets and their parents I updated my blog with a Citadel Parents Info section.  The information listed is a result of 4 years of volunteering with the Georgia Citadel Parents Group and The Citadel Family Association. I’ve updated the information and added links as I learned new information or when the schools main website updates their information.

With the help of my husband, photographer, Stanley Leary, I put together a slide show of Matriculation Day photos. The key for parents to remember about The Citadel is it is a leadership school. That means your high school graduate is treated as the adult they are. You raised them and now they must learn to handle their own affairs.  Before Matriculation Day it is fine to help them get ready for school by making sure they have the necessary items, but they must take the responsibility for getting ready physically and mentally for the challenge ahead.  That includes being able to meet the minimum physical training requirements prior to Matriculation Day. Military scholarship ROTC cadets should meet the highest requirements. The ROTC pages for each branch of the service will give you more details on the specifics of their training.  The staff and websites for The Citadel Army ROTC , Navy ROTC, and Air Force ROTC are very helpful if you have questions as your student prepares to report.

Citadel Family Association, “Blue Shirt” volunteers wait with parents of the Class of 2015.

The top advice after physical training is to break in the black leather Oxford shoes. The incoming cadet should wear them each day for a few months prior to reporting.

To get a head start on learning the various aspects of being a knob the new cadet recruit should review The Guidon. Parents should read through it to become familiar with the terms used on the campus as well as the various traditions. The Guidon is published each year. The 2011-2012 edition is available in pdf format on the schools web site. Once additional tip for new families, when you have a questions about the school, most of the questions can be answered by reading the web site.

Tips on what to purchase can be found in the Getting Ready for Matriculation Day advice section of this blog.  The school updates the Success packet each spring. Make sure you read the Success Packet thoroughly as it includes action items for your cadet and for you as well as the list of what your cadet Must Bring. The Matriculation Day Headquarters link is usually posted to the main page and also to the Admissions office page in the main website. The Citadel Family Association posts a Nice to Have List on their website. While most items on the list are a good idea to pack, be sure to ask your cadet what they want from the list. Remember you can help them get ready, but once they report you need to defer to your cadet. Each company and each battalion have their own traditions. Your cadet will learn what these traditions entail.

You can resource with other parents, but remember each cadet has their own experience.

Facebook groups for parents are listed by Battalion and by Company on the Helpful Web links page. Just remember the other parents are happy to help, but it is best to ask an individual about specific questions regarding your cadet rather than posting it to an open forum.  You can find parent volunteers by region of the country on the Area Rep section of The Citadel Family Association website.

Your cadet will find out his/her company on Matriculation Day when you arrive on campus. Once you know the company and battalion you can always contact the parent volunteer listed in the Co. Rep section of the website.

As I mentioned earlier whenever possible encourage your cadet to work out their own problems using the cadet chain of command. They can always seek the help of the Ombudsperson on campus who is a confidential resource for cadets, faculty, staff, and parents too.

The Bravo Company cadre lead the new knobs of the Class of 2015 to lunch on Matriculation Day 2011. (Note the crew length socks)

More Tips for The Citadel Class of 2016

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

Finding gifts for your Citadel Cadet

I know the holidays are behind us, but there are more gift giving opportunities ahead. Before I forget – again – to post links to the various sites I’ve found to purchase gifts, I thought I’d update the blog with a few fun links.

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

If you’ve visited the display tables in Mark Clark Hall on Parents Weekend you know about Carolina Cadets.  She makes the cadet ornaments and nutcrackers. Her web site is easy to navigate and features a number of other gift items for you or your cadet.  I purchased a Summerall Guard Nutcracker last Christmas via the web site. The order went through easily and the nutcracker arrived in great shape.

For fans of the old gift shop, you can still find some of the nicer items online at the M.LaHart web site. The current gift shop does have a link on their website as well.They carry jewelry, barware and other items for the home and office. In 2010 I bought a nice pewter flask with The Citadel seal on it for my son’s 21 birthday. I can’t find the flask online any longer. I really miss the old gift shop and its unique items.

A Citadel alum/dad I know received some shirts from the Campus Team Shop and was very pleased.  They give you the option to personalize some of their shirts. Another site for t-shirts and sweatshirts I found is Football Fanatics.

Cadets and alumni seem to like the Old Corps Clothing Store. I purchased a t-shirt for my 2011 grad. It was easy to place an order and the shirt arrived in a matter of days.  They have a sale going on right now (today is January 18, 2012). Go to their Facebook page for the code and get t-shirts for $15 or 2 for $25. Update 042312: They also feature shirts for Recognition Day.

The Citadel Alumni Association has several items for sale on their merchandise page. Just click on the left side of the page for photos of each items and instructions on how to order.

For items a cadet may appreciate but are not Citadel specific I found L.L. Bean has a Dress Thomson shirt that resembles the official plaid of the school.

My son was in the Army ROTC program. Items to help with his career in the Army were also gift items throughout his time at the school. One sleeping bag folded down to the size of a football, but would keep the soldier warm in very low temps. The prices varied widely online. I ended up getting a great price from Hodge Army Navy in Marietta, GA. Hodge also gave us a 10% discount on the boots and shoes for knob year once we mentioned my son was a cadet.

I’m sure there are other great gift ideas out there. Please comment here and share your finds!

Previous posts from Off the Base

As a little background, I thought it might be helpful to post links to the entries I’ve written for Off the Base, a blog by Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF.  Most of my entries for Off the Base have to do with being the mom of a cadet at The Citadel.  Future entries on this blog will be on a variety of topics.

The Making of a Military Mom

Mom Readies for Son’s Military College

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

How The Citadel “Ya-Yas” Came to Be

Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel

The Citadel Trained Me as Well as My Son

The Citadel: BVA’s and  Summerall Guards

The Citadel: Recognition Day and Ring Weekend

Care Packages for Cadets: The Citadel Heroes Project

The Citadel Bond Renews Parents’ Long Time Friendships

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

The Citadel: Saying Good-Bye, But Always Connected

A Sister, a Mom, A Family Prepares for Military Life

Dorie, Nelson and Leslie. Ring Ceremony 2010

Survival Skills to Succeed as a Citadel Mom

A New Blue Star Mom Shows Supports for Fallen Soldier

Celebration, Tradition, Ritual: The Long Gray Li

Citadel Parent Crafts Her Own Graduation Ritual

Graduation Day: No Longer the Mother of a Cadet

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Citadel Mom Cycle Completed – A Blue Star Mom Emerges

A Military Mom Meets Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV

An Army Mom Transitions from The Citadel to Ft. Benning

A Seminary Student, Now an Army Mom Reflects on 9/11

Welcome to my new blog

Welcome

For the past 9 months I’ve contributed to the blog, Off the Base, a project of Bobbie O’Brien of WUSF.  Bobbie and I met at the Carter Center in 2010 at a series of meetings focusing on our returning veterans and Mental health issues. Bobbie is a Fellow with the Rosalyn Carter Mental Health Journalism Program. I attend the meetings as an observer.

Since graduating from Columbia Theological Seminary in 2002 I’ve research traumatic stress. When I met Bobbie my oldest son was a junior at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and an Army ROTC cadet. She asked me to contribute to Off the Base as the mom of a cadet at a military college and the mom of a future officer in the U.S. Army.

I turned her down at first because as I told Bobbie at the time, “I’m not a writer.” I majored in public speaking at the University of Richmond and would rather speak to a thousand people than write an article. I thought about her offer overnight and agreed to do it the next day. To grow you really have to push yourself into uncomfortable positions.

While I will still contribute to Off the Base, there are topics that are of particular interest to me that won’t fit into their mission. I’m glad you visited the site and hope to hear form you.