University Libraries Logo University Archives of Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech Historical Data Book, Section 2.3:
Corps of Cadets

Two cadet companies were organized at V.A.M.C. during the first session (1872-73). The corps of cadets was established as a permanent organization in the 1891-92 session along with formation of the first battalion. An artillery battery was added in 1893. The first organization of the corps into a regiment was in 1922. The first Air Force squadron (Squadron R) appeared in 1946. Batteries were eliminated in 1948. Squadrons were disbanded after 1947-48 but re-established in 1956-57.

CORPS UNITS - A chronological listing of corps units under their original names, according to the date of their first appearance, follows: Company A (1872); Company B (1872); Company C (1887); Band Company (1893); Company D (1894); Battery E (1893); Company F (1902); Company G (1922); Company H (1922); Company I (1927); Company K (1927); Company L (1927); Company M (1927); Battery N (1931); Battery O (1931); Battery R (1939); Battery S (1939); Battery T (1940). In the 1971-72 session, the Corps was composed of Companies A, B, C, and D; Squadrons E, F, G, and H; Band Company; and Company T (a loosely organized unit composed of varsity athletes).

Band Company

A cornet band of 10 pieces was organized during 1881-82 to furnish music for drill and parades. Known as the Glade Cornet Band, it contained both students and townspeople and did no marching. The first Band Company was organized in 1893 with Cadet Clifford W. Anderson as its leader. The origin of the band's famed nickname, Highty-Tighties, has been surrounded in legend, but the true story is that the name came to be applied to the band slowly down through the years following 1919. A company yell was composed that fall, containing the catch phrase, "Highty-Tightie!," as the first line. As time passed and the band continued to use the yell, the phrase was applied to the band itself. Other popular legends surround the white citation cord that all band members wear. The true story is that President Julian A. Burruss authorized the white citation cord for members of the band in the fall of 1935 at the same time he authorized the white citation cords for honor companies.

The band tried to enlist in the Spanish-American War in 1898 as a unit but was not allowed to do so. Most of the members resigned from college anyway and enlisted as bandsmen with the Second Virginia Regiment of Volunteer Infantry. The war ended while the regiment was still in training in Florida.

The band has achieved a great deal of fame down through the years by winning scores of first place trophies in parade competitions. In 1953, 1957, and 1961, the band won first place in the presidential Inaugural Parade's senior band marching competition, a feat never achieved by any other band and possibly one of the reasons the competition is no longer held.

The band inaugurated the first football Bnad Day Oct. 10, 1964. A coed marching rank was added to the band's halftime performances at footall games during the 1971 season.

CADET RANK - From 1892-1937 cadet commissioned officers were selected from the senior class, sergeants from the junior class, and corporals from the sophomore class. In the 1937-38 session commissioned officers and sergeants were appointed from the senior class and corporals from the junior class. From 1938-present commissioned officers and sergeants have been appointed from the senior class, corporals from the junior class, and first rank was established in 1966 to recognize outstanding sphomore cadets who had already attained private first class rank.
Ranking Cadet Officers

The first overall commander of the Corps of Cadets was appointed in 1895. Since that time the commander's rank has ranged from captain to the present rank of colonel. The commanders are listed below by the year in which they served the major portion of their commands:

1895, W.P. Waddy; 1896, O.M. Stull; 1897, Lawrence Priddy; 1898, H.A. Wise; 1899, G.W. Hutchinson; 1900, E.P. Waller; 1901, M.W. Davidson; 1902, H.L. Davidson; 1903, C.C. Osterbind; 1904, H.H. Gary; 1905, C.K. Hildebrand; 1906, R.R. Henley; 1907, W.P. Boatwright; 1908, G.L. Parsons; 1909, D.D. Martin.

1910, L.V. Sutton; 1911, E.E. Stafford; 1912, W.J. Liipfert; 1913, W.R. Legge; 1914, W.G. Wysor; 1915, W.H. Byrne; 1916, T.D. McGinnis; 1917, H.E. Keller; 1918, E.S. Smithson; 1919, A.W. Fairer Jr.

1920, W.M. Pierce; 1921, C.B. Davis; 1922, J.E. Catlin; 1923, L.A. Hester; 1924, H.W. Butler; 1925, B.B. Morton; 1926, W.T. Hartman Jr.; 1927, H.H. Harper; 1928, W.C. Hudgins; 1929, T.R. Leadbeater.

1930, H.T. Strong; 1931, M.A. Owens; 1932, G.E. Snider; 1933, E.R. Hoehl; 1934, L.D. Simmons; 1935, G.W. Wildes; 1936, S.B. Wist; 1937, H. Atkinson; 1938, Z.W. Chewning; 1939, D.W. Glenn.

1940, S.W. Bonsack III; 1941, L.C. Tait; 1942, F.P. Payne; 1943, J.R. Cawthon (part) and W.H. Hencke (part); 1944, H.K. Ellett (Spring), J.B. Jones (Summer-Fall), and C.L. Dorsey (Fall-Spring 1945); 1946, A.C.J. McLaughlin; 1947, S.H. Wilson; 1948, Rolfe Robertson; 1949, E.G. Glenn.

1950, F.G. Thomas Jr.; 1951, C.J. Umphlitt; 1952, D.M. Rainey; 1953, B.S. Parrish; 1954, W.A. Rose Jr.; 1955, L.P. Wade; 1956, T.T. Thompson; 1957, C.E. Combs; 1958, W.K. Barlow; 1959, D.L. Show.

1960, D.W. Bird; 1961, W.H. Hartt III; 1962, G.L. Zuidema; 1963, D.E. Lowe; 1964, R.E. Russell; 1965, J.H. Powell; 1966, L.R. Dixon; 1967, R.W. Sinclair; 1968, R.W. Mullins Jr.; 1969, R.G. Powell; 1970, J.K. Janney; 1971, A.N. Stager; 1972, P.T. Hearne; 1973, T.K. Hill.

POLITICAL STRUCTURE - The first political (legislative) organization of the corps came with adoption of a constitution in June 1908. Cadets and civilians united under a single constitution on April 19, 1966, forming a Unified Student Body (now the Student Government Association), which nullified the cadet constitution.

Corps Presidents

The first president of the corps of cadets was elected for the 1908-09 session; the last was elected for the 1963-64 session. The president's main function was to serve as chairman of the cadet senate. The presidents, listed by the year in which they served most of their office, were:

1909, W.B. Martin; 1910, O.M. Bishop; 1911, J.M. Morris; 1912, E.C. Heckman; 1913, W.R. Legge; 1914, W.G. Wysor; 1915, R.J. MacGregor; 1916, T.F. Clemmer; 1917, A.B. Moore; 1918, B.T. Cocke; 1919, C.E. Whitmore.

1920, W.A. McBurney; 1921, C.B. Davis; 1922, E.R. Lusk; 1923, E.D. Gregory; 1924, B.L. Hurst; 1925, W.H. Jackson; 1926, E.R. Gaines; 1927, P.S. Dear; 1928, J.S. Moss; 1929, J.B. McArthur.

1930, T. Stark Jr.; 1931, H.V. Hooper; 1932, S.E. Hardwick; 1933, W.S. Moffett; 1934, L.D. Simmons; 1935, G.W. Wildes; 1936, J.B. Van Dyck; 1937, W.H. Ruby Jr.; 1938, L.A. Vecellio; 1939, J.R. Belcher.

1940, C.H. Faison Jr.; 1941, C.S. Brown; 1942, E.H. Dance; 1943, J.E. Catlin (part) and R.L. Arnold (part); 1944, C.C. Kraft (part) and A.B. Greenlee (part); 1945, B.P. Brown; 1946, G.A. Main Jr.; 1947, R.M. Dunton (part) and L.M. Robinette (part); 1948, J.P. Gilman; 1949, T.G. Plummer.

1950, R.B. Malcolm; 1951, P.L. Akers; 1952, D.G. Sutherland; 1953, C.H. Jennings; 1954, F.B. Fuller Jr.; 1955, R.H. Giles Jr.; 1956, D.D. Eden; 1957, J.C. South Jr.; 1958, C.D. Quillen Jr.; 1959, D.C. Morrison.

1960, C.C. Barkley; 1961, J.P. Arthur; 1962, N.A. Rowland; 1963, T.C. Young; 1964, L. N. Garrette Jr.

T. W. Otto served as chairman of the cadet senate during 1964-65, but he did not have the title of president.

HONOR COURT - The first mention of an honor system was in the October 1906 issue of the Gray Jacket, a student publication. Official adoption of the system followed in the session of 1908-09. An Honor Court was established in January 1935, trying both civilians and cadets. In Fall 1939, the civilians established their own court; the two court have been separate ever since. Violations of the honor system's code are four: lying, stealing, cheating, and failure to report a violation.

COMMANDANT OF CADETS - (See Student Personnel Division.)

RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS - The board of visitors agreed to adopt ROTC at the college on Nov. 29, 1916. An Army infantry ROTC unit was organized Jan. 5, 1917. Coast artillery and engineer units were added in 1919. An Air Force ROTC unit was added in 1946.

CADET UNIFORMS - The original cadet uniform cost $17.25 and consisted of a cadet gray cap, jacket, and trousers trimmed with black. Other important changes down through the years have been the addition of white duck trousers in 1893; substitution of chevrons for shoulder straps for officers in 1908; introduction of a West Point-type shako in 1909 and discontinuance in 1919; introduction of the dark blue overcoat with cape lined in red in 1920; mess jacket for formal wear in 1931; introduction of gray windbreakers, gray shirt, dark blue cap, senior paletot, citation cords, and white cap covers in 1935; adoption of a short-sleeved gray dacron-cotton shirt and matching pants summer uniform in 1965; authorization of a dark blue corps sweater with corps coat-of-arms and a new informal uniform of gray trousers, white shirt, and black tie in 1967; adoption of another informal uniform in 1970, including gray pants, dark blue blazer with corps coat-of-arms, and regimental-striped tie with white shirt.

COAT-OF-ARMS - The Army's Institute of Heraldry designed and designated an official coat-of-arms for the corps of cadets in 1966. It was the first time a coat-of-arms had ever been assigned by the Institute of Heraldry to a unit outside the Regular Army. The coat-of-arms is worn as part of authorized informal uniforms on the dark blue sweater or dark blue blazer

MILITARY WEEKEND - There are two main events during the Military Weekend, held in the spring: the Military Ball and the Corps Variety Show. The Military Ball was first held at the 1887 Commencement, was discontinued after 1890, and revived in 1940. It has also been known as the Corps Dance. The Corps Variety Show was known as the Corps Minstrel until 1964. The shows were begun in 1919, discontinued after 1931, and revived in the spring of 1956.

CORPS TRIPS - There have been many trips by the corps of cadets as a unit down through the years, although they were much more frequent in earlier days. The first out-of-state trip by the corps was to the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, N.Y., in June 1901. The cadets were quartered in tents at the fair and participated in drills and parades, returning to the campus for commencement after nine days away from the college. The second major trip was in April 1902 to an exposition in Charleston, S.C. While there, the corps was reviewed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Two special trains were required in the spring of 1904 when a party of 554 students, faculty members, and guests left Christiansburg to attend the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis World's Fair). The corps spent a week in St. Louis, living in a camp located at the fair grounds. In April 1964 the Regimental Band marched in the opening day parade at the New York Worlds Fair and was singled out for special recognition by NBC television.

Top

VT History | Digital Library and Archives | Special Collections | University Archives


Send questions or comments to:

Tamara Kennelly, University Archivist
University Libraries
Virginia Tech
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA, 24062-9001

URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/archives/databook/text/chap2/2_3.htm
Last Modified on: Tuesday, 25-Sep-2001 08:16:07 EDT