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Recognition Day, March 18, is the day The Citadel Class of 2020 will hear the words, “The 4th Class system is no longer in effect.”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.

Welcome to The Citadel Parents of the Class of 2021

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Each year for the past five years I’ve posted a group to support parents of incoming knobs at The Citadel. It is now time to announce the group for parents of the Class of 2021, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2021

Please note the parent groups by class are for the parents/guardians of the incoming cadet recruit (they aren’t cadets until Parents Weekend). While I understand there are family members who are very proud, the groups are limited to the parents only. Family members can follow the school via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat(TheCitadel1842), YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope.

The Citadel Family Association and the Parents page on the school web site are both great resources. Their web sites are accessible to anyone. The page for Freshman Parents features a series of helpful pages linked on the left hand side of the page (when accessed via computer). I highly recommend parents and their high school senior read through the Important Conversation page and watch the video there.

The Citadel Family Association web pages have very helpful information too including the Nice to Have List of items found on the Resources for Families page along with other helpful information. All new parents should read through the Frequently Asked Questions page before Matriculation Day.

In the weeks and months to come I’ll post additional information and links geared towards new families. Be sure to send me an email or private message via Facebook after you request to join the group for 2021 parents. I verify each request to join the group to make sure only parents and guardians are accepted. Receiving an email makes the approval process go quicker. My email address is: Dorie at dorielgriggs dot com

Once a parent is accepted to the group they are asked to read and acknowledge the post pinned to the top of the page which outlines the basic ground rules for membership in the group.

A note about social media and cadets: It is best to tighten up the security of all social media platforms. Knobs should keep a low profile until their Recognition Day, the day the 4th Class system ends and they become full members of the Corps of Cadets. In addition to security settings an incoming knob should not use any Citadel related hashtags nor should they post photos wearing Citadel apparel.

Looking Forward for Citadel Parents of the Class of 2018

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Bravo Company 2011 wear the Ring photo by Stanley Leary

Parents of the Class of 2018: Your cadets have ordered their rings and gotten their blazers. It won’t be long until the BVA’s find out if they are Summerall Guards. In less than ten months from now you’ll be attending Parents/Ring Weekend!

A few notes:

  • If your cadet is a Summerall Guard, do attend Corps Day Weekend. That is when they will transition from Bond Volunteers to Summerall Guards.
  • Find out where your cadet will be as they march onto the field Saturday morning and find your place along the roped off area early to get good photos. My son was on the side closest to the stands (versus on the chapel side of the field) we stood along the rope in front of the stands closest to the walkway from 2nd battalion.
  • Looking ahead to ring weekend, make your hotel or house reservation early. Get cancellation insurance if you rent a house as we learned this past fall with hurricane season anything can happen.
  • I’ve written quite a lot about Ring Weekend and posted plenty of photos to show moms in particular what to wear Friday evening. In short, the ring presentation in the afternoon business dress is appropriate (you’ll see more casual attire too) the evening ring ceremony traditionally moms wear a formal gown since the cadets are in their most formal uniform. Moms, wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be standing in a line for your turn through the ring.
  • You do not need tickets for the afternoon ring presentation or the evening ring ceremony.
  • The field house fills up quickly for the presentation so get to your seats early. As your friends with sophomore or junior cadets to take photos/video of the march into the field house and have them stationed at the chapel where the cadets knock on the chapel door with their rings.
  • After they receive their rings families should go to the barracks. The seniors run into the battalion have a sparking cider toast and throw the glasses at the company letter. If you are stationed at a sallyport with a view of the letter and a zoom lens you can get some photos. In 2010 my husband got permission ahead of time from the TAC officer to be in the battalion to take photos which we shared with everyone in the company afterward.
  • After the toast the seniors will come out of the barracks for congratulations and photos. The Summerall Guards have to practice. Most others have the afternoon off.
  • The school will post the schedule of when each company goes through the ring Friday night. If your cadet’s company has a time from 6 – 8 you can have dinner after you go through the ring. Bravo went through at 8:30 so our group of 30+ had dinner at 5:30.
  • Family and friends who are with you Friday night will go sit in the stands and wait for the cadet and mom/date/other guest to go through the ring. Once you walk through the ring your party will leave the field house.
  • Saturday of Ring Weekend is a regular football day, but with open barracks Saturday morning. Most cadets appreciate families bringing breakfast to them in the barracks that morning.
  • Keep a camera handy. Senior cadets smile more on Ring Weekend than any other time. It all goes by so quickly. If you have family or friends with you consider asking them to be the designated photographer for the family.

See the links at the end of this post for more photos:

The Citadel: Parent’s Weekend and Ring Weekend 2013

Looking forward to Graduation at The Citadel, 2017

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Class of 2015 Dismissed!

Each year in February the questions from a variety of parents pick up. The senior parents are looking toward graduation and commissioning. I’ve added a few notes about the end of the year below.

Keep an eye out for the updated graduation schedule. I checked this morning and the 2016 schedule of events is still posted. You can use that schedule as a guideline for this year but watch for updates. A few general notes:

  • Tickets are limited. For the past several years each cadet gets 8 tickets. They can put their name in a lottery for extras but that is not guaranteed. Sometimes they can get a few from classmates who won’t use their allotment.
  • Since tickets are limited to graduation some families rent a house and have the graduation live stream connected to a large screen TV for the guests who can’t be at the event.
  • It is traditional to send out announcements for college graduation. Again traditionally announcements are sent to anyone who would want to know about this big life event. They are sent out the week of or after graduation. The recipient is not obligated to send a gift when they receive an announcement. It is a good time to announce the commissioning of a graduate who is entering the armed forces. You can also put a card with the new contact information for the graduate since they will no longer use the school’s address to receive mail. These small cards are referred to as “at home” cards to indicate the graduate will be at their new home after a certain date. The tradition of an at home card is an old one and has changed over time as to the meaning. You can read the history here.
  • Many families use the online announcement company Signature. They are nice quality, but a better price than what Balfour offers.
  • Commissioning services happen the Friday before graduation. Be in touch with your senior for the updated details on the ceremony. It is traditional for the newly commissioned second lieutenant to give the person who renders their first salute a silver dollar. You can usually find them online.
  • For those commissioning they will have to order and pay for their dress uniform. That process is usually started by now. The expense surprises many parents.
  • The seniors have to be out of the barracks by Thursday night of graduation week, unless they’ve requested and received an exception. Be sure you plan for this when making your accommodation reservations.
  • Many families give their graduate a Lifetime Membership to the Citadel Alumni Association as a graduation gift. There is a special luncheon for the new Lifetime members during graduation week.
  • Like most big weekends, graduation weekend is a time of great activity. Dress for the weather and for comfort in walking. If the weather is warm many ladies wear light dresses for the commissioning service and long gray line parade. The gentleman wear jacket and tie for the commissioning and more casual attire for the afternoon parade. For graduation, business attire is appropriate, a dress or nice slacks for the ladies and jacket and tie for the gentleman.
  • Saturday morning arrive at the field house for graduation early to find a seat. In 2011 we were given assigned seats. The past several years it is open seating. Saving seats is discouraged. If you have young children attending, bring quiet distractions for them like coloring books and light snacks. The ceremony lasts about 3 – 3 1/2 hours. I played The Citadel version of “Where’s Waldo” with my daughter who was in 6th grade at the time her brother graduated. We had a list of my son’s friends and she tried to find them as they sat waiting for their name to be called.
  • Have a plan of where you are to meet after the ceremony. Some families meet on the floor of the field house some meet outside the building. It is helpful to have a plan ahead of time.

Previous posts about graduation:

Graduation 2015 Notes for Citadel Parents

The Citadel: Tips from One Parent for Graduation

Senior Parent Notes

Citadel Club of Charleston Hosts The Lowcountry Open

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On occasion I am asked to help promote events. The Citadel Club of Charleston is hosting The Lowcountry Open event to benefit Palmetto Warrior Connection, a charity that supports veterans in South Carolina. While the club is the sponsor of the event anyone can participate.

If you are in a position to be a sponsor, participant, or volunteer, please contact the leadership of the tournament and share this post in your circles. The tournament takes place after Spring semester ends so cadets can participate and/or volunteer as well. Registration opens this week. Late entry fees begin April 16.

The following promotion information was posted to the parent groups on Facebook:

The Citadel Club of Charleston is the owner and host of The Lowcountry Open; a Charleston-based offshore, nearshore and inshore fishing tournament.

Many committee members are directly connected to military services throughout the Lowcountry, the board unanimously agreed the charitable proceeds should benefit veterans. Palmetto Warrior Connection based in Charleston is the title charity for the event. 95% of charitable contributions to the Palmetto Warrior Connection goes to support veterans within South Carolina. 

We trust the sponsors will feel equally honored to help make this tournament a success!

If you would like information about tournament sponsorship opportunities, or know someone who would be interested, please contact the Tournament Chairman: Ty Holland, ’95: info@thelowcountryopen.com.

Additionally, you can see tournament and sponsorship details on the website, www.thelowcountryopen.com.

Everyone is invited and welcomed as sponsors, anglers, spectators or volunteers.

 

 

 

A 1972 grad remembers his Summerall Guard and inauguration experiences

2011 Summerall Guard photo by Stanley Leary

The 2011 Summerall Guards photo by Stanley Leary

When my oldest son deployed in 2012 I began to see the larger network of The Citadel in action. A friend at church, Col. William Buckley, USMC (ret) introduced me via email to a friend of his from his days as a cadet at The Citadel, LTC Walter “Wally” McTernan, USMC (ret), Citadel class of 1972. Wally, as I’ve come to call him, was, and still is, in Afghanistan as a contractor.

While my son was deployed Wally looped me into correspondence with a wide array of Citadel graduates. I sent care packages to some with the help of friends from church Citadel parents, military reporters, and others.

Thanks to Wally I learned helpful advice of what to send deployed service members. Things like Saran wrap that could be used to stop bleeding in the field. I learned how broad reaching The Citadel network really is, even including the clueless mom of a graduate.

I also learned that Wally is a great story-teller and organizer. He coordinates the alumni in country for an annual Muster to honor the fallen graduates. He was recognized by the Citadel Alumni Association for his volunteer work in 2014 being named the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. I also learned of his love of Crystal Light Peach tea.

My son is out of the Army now and working in his new career based in Houston. Wally and I continue to correspond. With the news of the Summerall Guards and the Regimental Band and Pipes marching in the inauguration parade in January Wally’s latest email tells the story of his experience in participating in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in 1972 and another story of the inauguration of President George Bush in 1989. I am sharing his story it here with his permission.

A story by LTC Walter F. McTernan, USMC (retired), The Citadel class of 1972:

“The 1972 Summerall Guards marched in the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in WDC in early April 1971.  Luckily for me I was in position 1A1 (first squad leader, front rank) – because we were marching behind a mounted unit, and there were a lot of  “horse apple IED’s” on the road.  So I was luckily able to adroitly avoid stepping on/in them.  Of course, keeping established discipline, I did not say anything. I chuckled inside every time I heard a softly muttered “shxt” by someone in a follow-on rank who haplessly “stepped in it” (literally).  After the parade, I noticed the stark visual contrast in color between horse shxt brown and starched cadet FD trou white.

     During the Jan. 1989 Inaugural of President Bush-I, I was assigned on a TAD/TDY basis to be a temporary military aide to the first Drug Czar, Dr. John Bennett. (I was assigned to this post by the legendary Captain (later Colonel) Mike Riley, USMCR (Ret.) ’79, who was a big player in the military committee supporting the Inaugural.  (I served with Mike three times – Okinawa with the 3d Mar Div, HQMC and Baghdad at HQ, USF-I), and that alone ought to have earned me a high level medal.)

     Mrs. Bennett was expecting and was not feeling well, so we departed the Inauguration Ceremony early; got in the VIP sedan awaiting us behind the Capitol, and began to depart the area.  We drove past a contingent of Cid cadets forming up to march down Pennsylvania Avenue in the parade.  Dr. Bennett recognized them as Citadel cadets and commented that the phrase “zero tolerance” (of illegal drug abuse) that he used was a phrase he had borrowed from the late and great MG James Grimsley, USA (Ret.) ’42.  Dr. B. said that he had given a greater issues speech at The Citadel, and he had asked the General what was his policy on drug abuse.  MG Grimsley replied, “zero tolerance.” Dr. Bennett said that phrase really resonated within him and he used it ever since.  Mrs. Bennett commented that a close family friend of hers while growing up was Dr. Ira Rapp (Regimental CO ’70).  Mrs. B. and Ira’s sister were best friends growing up.

     That night I escorted the Bennet’s to dinner at a fancy WDC restaurant before taking them to an Inaugural Ball.  I waited for them in the lobby.  I was approached by the late political humor columnist, Art Buchwald, who had given Greater Issue speeches twice at The Citadel, one of which I saw when I was a cadet.  Mr. Buchwald was a Marine in WW-II, so when he saw a Marine officer, he came up to chat amiably.  He was very funny and unpretentious.  While we were chatting, a gentleman came up to speak to Mr. Buchwald.  Art was clearly continuing to chat with me just to keep this guy waiting.  While impatiently waiting, the poor (figuratively, NOT literally) guy was accosted by a couple of society matrons who hit him up for a donation to their favorite charity.  This fellow was one Mr. Donald Trump, whose own Inauguration we will soon celebrate.  Thus bringing the 2017 SG’s and our world-class Band Company to WDC.

     Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017 to you all. God bless.”

Gifts for Your Cadet

Wearables

Each year at Christmas time and the end of the school year parents of cadets at The Citadel begin to think of gift items either for their cadet or one that has been particularly helpful to their cadet. It’s a bit late for this advice to be helpful for this year’s Christmas but the ideas below will stand for any occasion, including graduation.

Gift Cards for restaurants and movie theaters in the area are always welcomed. Knobs won’t be able to have food delivered to the barracks until after Recognition Day, but they do get into town on the weekends. Popular restaurants include Moe’s Southwest Grill, Mama Kim’s, Jim’n Nick’s BBQ, and Sticky Fingers. There are many more restaurants in Charleston, just call them to see if they offer gift cards. Restaurant gift cards make a nice gift for host families too.

Netflix, Amazon Prime and other online entertainment options are popular with cadets. This gift may be a better option after knob year.

Other gift ideas for cadets include: A watch, coffee maker or hot-pot, good sunglasses, small 6 pack cooler, a good pillow, noise canceling headphones.

If they are a hunter items like a good hunting knife or other equipment.

Some cadets enjoy gift cards for an experience like skydiving, a boat/fishing trip or other activity.

Ideas for the graduating senior include:

Lifetime Membership in the CAA

Citadel Blazer buttons or other jewelry

A nice picture frame with a photo from Ring weekend or other occasion

A Big Red Flag or Company Guidon.

Any number of items from the Bookstore on Campus

Of course for the young grad who will set up their first apartment or home, cash is always welcomed!

Links to previous posts about gifts can be found on this link.

 

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