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United States Military Academy (ARMY)

The United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, The Academy, or simply, The Point, is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles (80�km) north of New York City. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's neogothic buildings are constructed from gray and black granite.



West Point
West Point
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Black Gray And Gold
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College History


The Continental Army first occupied West Point, New York, on 27 January 1778; it became the oldest continuously operating army-post in the United States. Between 1778 and 1780, the Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko oversaw the construction of the garrison defenses. The Great Hudson River Chain and high ground above the narrow "S" curve in the river enabled the Continental Army to prevent British Royal Navy ships from sailing upriver and thus dividing the Colonies. As commander of the fortifications at West Point, however, Benedict Arnold committed his act of treason, attempting to sell the fort to the British. After Arnold betrayed the patriot cause, the Army changed the name of the fortifications at West Point, New York, to Fort Clinton. With the peace after the American Revolutionary War left various ordnance and military stores deposited at West Point. "Cadets" underwent training in artillery and engineering studies at the garrison since 1794. Congress formally authorized the establishment and funding of the United States Military Academy on 16 March 1802. The academy graduated Joseph Gardner Swift, its first official graduate, in October 1802; he later returned as Superintendent from 1812 to 1814. In its tumultuous early years, the academy featured few standards for admission or length of study. Cadets ranged in age from 10 years to 37 years and attended between 6 months to 6 years. The impending War of 1812 caused the United States Congress to authorize a more formal system of education at the academy and increased the size of the Corps of Cadets to 250. The basis for the "Long Gray Line" expression originated in 1814 with the introduction of gray uniforms during the tenure of Superintendent Alden Partridge. Thayer monument In 1817, Colonel Sylvanus Thayer became the Superintendent and established the curriculum still in use as of 2011. Thayer instilled strict disciplinary standards, set a standard course of academic study, and emphasized honorable conduct. Known as the "Father of the Military Academy," he is honored with a monument on campus for the profound impact he left upon the academy's history. Founded as a school of engineering, for the first half of the 19th century, USMA produced graduates who gained recognition for engineering the bulk of the nation's initial railway lines, bridges, harbors and roads. The academy was the only engineering school in the country until the founding of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. It was so successful in its engineering curriculum that it significantly influenced every American engineering school founded prior to the Civil War. The Mexican�American War brought the academy to prominence as graduates proved themselves in battle for the first time. Future Civil War commanders Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee first distinguished themselves in battle in Mexico. In all, 452 of 523 graduates who served in the war received battlefield promotions or awards for bravery. The school experienced a rapid modernization during the 1850s, often romanticized by the graduates who led both sides of the Civil War as the "end of the Old West Point era." New barracks brought better heat and gas lighting, while new ordnance and tactics training incorporated new rifle and musket technology and accommodated transportation advances created by the steam engine. With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union and Confederate armies. Two hundred ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war

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An unofficial motto of the academy's history department is "Much of the history we teach was made by people we taught."1 Graduates of the academy refer to themselves as "The Long Gray Line," a phrase taken from the academy's traditional hymn "The Corps."111 The academy has produced just under 65,000 alumni,1 including two Presidents of the United States: Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower; the president of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis; and three foreign heads of state: Anastasio Somoza Debayle of Nicaragua, Fidel V. Ramos of the Philippines, and Jos� Mar�a Figueres of Costa Rica. Alumni currently serving in public office include Senator Jack Reed, Governor of Nebraska David Heineman, and Congressmen Geoff Davis, Brett Guthrie, Mike Pompeo and John Shimkus.2 The academy has produced many notable generals during its 212 years. During the Civil War, graduates included Hood, Jackson, Lee, Longstreet, Meade, Sheridan, Sherman, Stuart and Howard (later the founder of Howard University).2 George Armstrong Custer graduated last in his class of 1861.2 The Spanish-American War saw the first combat service of Lt. (later, Brigadier General) John "Gatling Gun" Parker, the first Army officer to employ machine guns in offensive fire support of infantry. (In 1918, Parker would become the only Army infantry officer in World War I to win the Distinguished Service Cross four times for valor in combat.) During World War I, the academy produced General of the Armies John J. Pershing. West Point was the alma mater of many notable World War II generals, Arnold, Bradley, Clark, Eichelberger, Gavin, Groves, MacArthur, Patton, Stillwell, Taylor, Van Fleet, and Wainwright, with many of these graduates also serving in commanding roles in the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, notable graduates general officers included Abrams, Moore, and Westmoreland.2 West Point also produced some famous generals and statesmen of recent note including Abizaid, McChrystal, Clark, Haig, McCaffrey, Schwarzkopf, Scowcroft, Austin, and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, retired General David Petraeus. A total of 74 graduates have been awarded the Medal of Honor.2 West Point has produced 18 NASA astronauts, including five who went to the Moon. Other noted alumni include Jim Kimsey, founder of AOL; Bob McDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble; Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson; Keith McLoughlin, President and CEO of Electrolux and Alden Partridge, founder of Norwich University.2 West Point's contributions to sport include three Heisman Trophy winners: Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, and Pete Dawkins. West Point has produced many high government officials, including Brent Scowcroft, the former National Security Advisor under Presidents Ford and George H. W. Bush, and Eric Shinseki, the current Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Among American universities, the academy is fourth on the list of total winners for Rhodes Scholarships, seventh for Marshall Scholarships and fourth on the list of Hertz Fellowships.2 The official alumni association of West Point is the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG or AOG), headquartered at Herbert Hall.



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