Archive for the ‘The Citadel legends/traditions & history’ Category

USC falls to The Citadel, 23-22

November 23, 2015


by: Willie T. Smith, III
November 21, 2015

OLUMBIA – After what has happened this season, many may have thought things couldn’t get any worse for South Carolina. Saturday afternoon, they did. A 56-yard touchdown run by The Citadel back Tyler Renew, followed by a strong defensive stand, earned the Bulldogs 23-22 victory in Williams-Brice Stadium. In a season of disappointing performances, this loss was by far the worse. I certainly am disappointed with the effort all the way around, from penalties to the offense and the defense throughout the entire game,” said USC Interim Head Coach Shawn Elliott. “It is my responsibility to have our football team ready to play.

“(The Citadel) was not just coming to play, they were coming to win.” South Carolina fell to 3-8. With top-ranked Clemson the only game remaining on the schedule, the team was left with little to hold onto in a season that can only be termed a disaster. It also left the question if the Gamecocks have any fight left.

The Citadel (8-3), the Southern Conference co-champions under coach Mike Houston, bewildered the Gamecocks with its powerful triple-option running game. “I think this is a testament to what kind of kids I have the opportunity to coach,” said Houston. “They’ve been phenomenal all year…There’s no quit in that team. They are a very tough, hard-nosed physical football team that I would take against anybody.” Before Carolina knew what hit it, the Gamecocks found themselves down 14-3 before the first quarter ended. The Bulldogs rushed for 134 yards during that span, as the USC defense appeared clueless as to how to stop it. South Carolina appeared to figure things out in the second period, giving the inconsistent offense time to figure things out. USC managed to move the ball, but was unable to penetrate the end zone. Despite out-gaining the Bulldogs 230-193 in the first two quarters, USC went into the locker room trailing 14-9 as it had only three Elliott Fry field goals to its ledger.

It took everything the Gamecocks had to try to defeat The Citadel, however, which probably isn’t what they wanted heading into a game against their rival Clemson. A 48-yard Eric Goins field goal, the ninth longest in team history and the longest against a FBS opponent, gave The Citadel a 17-16 lead with a little over 10 minute remaining in the fourth quarter. South Carolina countered when quarterback Perry Orth hit Pharoh Cooper for a 41-yard score. Orth had his best statistical game as a Gamecock, completing 28 of 43 passes for 367 yards and a touchdown. Cooper was equally impressive, catching 11 passes for 191 yards and a score.

The Bulldogs didn’t flinch after USC took the lead, however, as Renew scampered 56 yards for his second touchdown of the game. That has to be a highlight for the former Ben Lippen performer who used to sell peanuts in the stadium. He finished with 174 yards on 23 carries.
“To come in here, in a stadium where he sold peanuts when he was in high school watching the Gamecocks play, and to run for 174 yards and two touchdowns and beat them, what a special day for him,” said Houston.

Following Renew’s final score it appeared Carolina had picked up the miraculous potential winning score. Orth completed what appeared to be a 95-yard touchdown pass to Cooper with 42 seconds remaining. USC was called for an illegal procedure penalty, however, that nullified it. “I saw the throw,” said Elliott. “I saw the catch. I saw the run for touchdown. I didn’t even know they had thrown a flag, to tell you the truth, until someone grabbed my shoulder.”

They know they have shocked the NCAA/SEC world!

They know they have shocked the NCAA/SEC world!

Despite the disappointing loss, Elliott and his coaching staff has to find a way to get his team out of the doldrums and ready to play a Clemson team that enters this year’s rivalry game undefeated.“It was a total disappointment. It was my responsibility to have our team ready to play,” said Elliott. “I just spoke with our football team really briefly after that game and there were a lot of disappointed faces out there.
“It was a tough day. It was a tough day on all of us, and it will be a tough night.”

USC fans were in shock.

USC fans were in shock.


State’s first military aviator &(Citadel Grad) was buried in Simpsonville

November 13, 2015
Lt. Col. Willis Class of 1908

Lt. Col. Willis Class of 1908

By: Scott Keeler

Photos by: MYKAL McELDOWNEY/Greenville News staff)

November 11, 2015
(Blog editor’s note: Lt. Col. Willis was the 1st honor graduate of The Citadel class of 1908)

Like every Veterans Day, there will be U.S. flags flying at cemeteries today to honor those who served in the military. Each year in Simpsonville (SC) prior to Veterans Day, the local VFW Post 1845 installs flags at Simpsonville City Cemetery, Cannon Memorial Cemetery and Graceland East Memorial Park. But one flag at the historic City Cemetery flies next to a tombstone that is shining a bit brighter than usual this year.

It’s the tombstone of World War I veteran Robert Henry Willis Jr., and it’s recently received some upkeep from Bill Skroch, an 86-year old veteran who was born years after Willis passed away. After six years of research, Skroch says the 125-mile drive from his Sumter home to Willis’ resting place was well worth it. Skroch’s research has shown him that Willis is the first military aviator in South Carolina history.

“This guy was one of the first 25 guys to ever wear what’s officially called an aviation badge,” Skroch said. “Everybody says ‘he’s got wings,’ not ‘hey, he’s got an aviation badge.” Skroch said the badges were issued in 1913 and were a reward for those who survived flying school. In those early days of aviation, Skroch said, many did not. “They only made 25 because the guy in charge of the whole operation said, ‘hell, we’re never going to have more than 25 airplanes anyway,'” Skroch said.

Like most, Simpsonville Judge Leslie Sharff was unaware of Willis’ story but marveled at the work of the early aviators. Sharff, who’s the senior vice commander of Simpsonville VFW Post 1845, earned a Purple Heart as a combat medic with an Infantry unit in Vietnam. “That (flying) must have taken a lot of guts,” Sharff said. “There weren’t any parachutes back then. “Can you imagine trying to throw a small bomb about the size of a mortar round out while you’re flying a plane?”

Skroch’s research all started after he looking for a project to do as part of his work with a group of retired military pilots out of Shaw Air Force Base, where Skroch retired. In that first project he learned that one of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous group of African-American military pilots who served in World War II, hailed from Sumter. After writing a narrative about the first black military pilot from South Carolina, Skroch was determined to find the first military pilot of any race from South Carolina.

Searches around archives in the state came up empty. Then Skroch got a break at a military museum in Washington, D.C. “I met this lady, whose grandfather was a World War I pilot. She turned me on to a book that told about these first 25 guys,” Skroch said. Willis’ name was in there. “When I saw that, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.” After getting a name, Skroch thought his research would get easier, but it did not. According to Skroch, all of Willis’ records were burned during a 1973 fire at a repository in St. Louis. Skroch said he was able to contact distant relatives of Willis, but they didn’t know much about him either. “The repository gave me some clues about alternate places to find some pieces of information, but you’re never going to find everything,” Skroch said. “So it took about six years to get enough to write a narrative about the guy.

Under Gen. John J. Pershing, Willis served in the Philippines, and in Mexico where he helped search for Pancho Villa, and in France during World War I. Willis began flight training at Signal Corps Aviation School in San Diego in July of 1913. On Dec. 26, 1913, he and 24 others earned their Military Aviator Certificate and Badge. “In early 1914, he was awarded the ‘expert’ aviator certificate by the Aero Club of America,” Skroch wrote in the narrative. “It was reported by the San Diego Union that Willis set a world speed record by flying 140 miles in 132 minutes.”

Willis’ life ended tragically on Sept. 13, 1918, when he accidently shot himself while working on a malfunction with his gun. He died six days after his 32nd birthday and less than two months before the end of World War I.

On Aug. 17, 1920, Pershing wrote a letter to the Willis’ home farm in Simpsonville.
“I first knew this young officer as a member of the small group of aviators on duty with the American Punitive Expedition in Mexico, where I had ample opportunity to observe his work,” Pershing wrote. “Being imbued with the ideals of a true soldier, his service was in keeping with the high standards of our army, and I was pleased to have him as a member of the flying corps in France. “Colonel Willis was a man of pleasing personality and an officer in whose ability I had the greatest confidence, and I was deeply grieved to learn of his untimely death.”

After discovering that Willis could possibly be buried in Simpsonville, Skroch contacted the Simpsonville VFW and told members of the work he was doing. He got someone from the VFW to go find Willis’ grave, take a picture of it and send it back to him. Skroch noticed that Willis’ tombstone had not been well maintained over the years, so he came to clean it. He’s planning on a return trip to the grave with an engraver to tell more of Willis’ story.


“His gravestone just had his name, his rank, his branch of service, the day he was born and the day he died,” Skroch said. “That was it. “That poor guy deserves more than that.”

Gen. Pershing's letter

Gen. Pershing’s letter

for more information on Lt. Col. Willis go to:

High school, college coach Jimmy “Red” Parker resigning

October 30, 2015
Coach Red Parker

Coach Red Parker

By Jeremy Muck October 28, 2015 at 5:27 p.m.

Jimmy “Red” Parker is resigning as head coach at Benton Harmony Grove after six seasons, Athletic Director Ricky Mooney said Wednesday.
Parker’s resignation is effective at the end of the season. Mooney said Parker, 84, cited health reasons as the reason for his resignation.
He began his coaching career at Fordyce in 1951 and has also coached at Clemson, The Citadel, Southern Arkansas and Ouachita Baptist, among other schools.
He led Rison to the Class A state championship in 1995.

Parker has coached at the Haskell school since 2010 and has been the school’s only football coach.

Col. Tew’s long lost sword to be returned to The Citadel

September 3, 2015

Col. Charles Courtenay Tew

Col. Charles Courtenay Tew

Photo courtesy of

Charles Courtenay Tew was among the first 26 cadets to report to what was originally called the Citadel Academy in 1843. He became the academy’s first honor graduate in 1846, the first president of the academy’s alumni association in 1852, and the first Citadel alumnus to be declared missing in action.

Tew’s sword, which was given to him by his fellow cadets and was engraved, was taken from him when he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on Sept. 17, 1862. It was one of the first battles of the American Civil War to be fought in the North. A Union soldier was said to have taken the sword, but its location was unknown for a century and a half.

Col. Tew's Sword

Col. Tew’s Sword

In early 2015, the college was contacted by the 33 Signals Regiment Foundation of Ottawa, Canada, and was informed that the sword had been identified. The Canadian regiment wanted to return it to The Citadel. As a result, members of the group will travel from Ottawa to Antietam National Battlefield Park in Maryland for a commemorative event, and then on to Charleston and The Citadel for a reception and sword presentation. Details are as follows:

• 1 – 1:45 p.m., Wed., September 16, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland – Col. Charles C. Tew Sword Ceremony.
• 6:30 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 17, Daniel Library, The Citadel – Reception with the Tew Sword on display, and reciting of the story of the sword.
• 3:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18, Summerall Field, The Citadel – The official transfer of the sword to be held just prior to the college’s traditional Friday dress parade.

Want to know more about Col. Tew? go to:


September 3, 2015
 Michael Martin of the Ottawa-based 33 Signal Regiment with a Civil War sword that once belonged to Confederate States Army Col. Charles Courtenay Tew. Photo by PATRICK DOYLE/OTTAWA CITIZEN

Michael Martin of the Ottawa-based 33 Signal Regiment with a Civil War sword that once belonged to Confederate States Army Col. Charles Courtenay Tew. Photo by PATRICK DOYLE/OTTAWA CITIZEN

Civil War relic returned

By: PETER ROBB , Ottawa Citizen
2 Sep 2015

An Ottawa-based military regiment will return a Civil War sword and scabbard belonging to a famous Confederate officer to the military academy where he studied and worked in the mid-19th century. The sword, belonging to Col. Charles C. Tew, has been “missing ” for 153 years since the Battle of Antietam in 1862. Tew was killed in that battle and his sword was taken as a trophy from the battlefield by a Canadian serving with the Union Army. About 40,000 Canadians served with the Union during the U.S. Civil War, which ended 150 years ago.

The sword will be handed back to The Citadel in a ceremony on Sept. 18, said Michael Martin, chairman of the charitable arm of 33 Signal Regiment, an organization that dates back to 1913.

The sword was given to Tew by his students at the Arsenal Academy, a prep school he founded that serves as an entry point to The Citadel, Martin says. The story behind the sword remained unknown, he says, until the unit was moving from its former headquarters at Wallis House on Rideau Street to a new location on Walkley Road. It had hung in the Wallis House mess since its arrival in 1963, after a resident of Utica, N.Y., gave the sword to her last known relative, an officer with the 33 Signal Regiment (then known as 703 Signals Squadron).

It was taken down from the wall and Tew’s name was noted during a review of the regiment’s property. And an investigation and valuation began, Martin says, that has taken until now to complete.

The story starts in 1862 at Antietam, one of the bloodiest battles of the war. The general in command of the Southern side was hit in the leg and his femoral artery was cut. Knowing he was dying, he transferred command to Tew. To receive the news Tew stood up and was immediately shot in the head by a Northern sniper, just three days before his commission would have ended and he would go home.

At the time one Capt. Matthew Manly wrote: “During the battle in this bloody lane Colonel Charles Courtenay Tew was killed, his body falling into the hands of the enemy … He was shot through the head and placed in the sunken road … Here he was found, apparently unconscious, the blood streaming from a wound in the head, with his sword held in both hands across his knees. A Federal soldier attempted to take the sword from him, but he drew it toward his body with his last remaining strength, and then his grasp relaxed and he fell forward, dead” on what became known as The Bloody Road.

That Federal soldier was one Capt. Reid, who is said to have spoken with a British accent and was a Canadian serving with the North. He prised the sword from Tew’s hands after the colonel expired. Reid, who was known as a bit of a scoundrel, took the sword to Norwalk, Ohio, where it somehow passed to the local Odd Fellows Lodge. The weapon stayed in Norwalk for a time, eventually making its way into the hands of Amelia Blythe, Martin says. Blythe was a descendant of a prominent family connected to the lodge.

Confederate artifacts are often valuable because of rarity, but also because of the interest in the Civil War in the U.S. For a lesser known officer, a sword could fetch about $30,000, Martin says, but because it belonged to a commandant of The Citadel, who was killed leading an army on a famous battlefield, it is “priceless.”

“We believe it is only fitting to see that the sword is returned to the hands from whence it came. It is an amazing story. It’s an artifact that has passed through many hands from south to north. It is a story of heroes and scoundrels, prominent families on both sides of the divide and a mystery spanning 150 years,” Martin says.

Lt.-Col. David Goble of The Citadel said everyone at the academy is excited about the return of Col. Tew’s sword. “(He) was our first Honour Graduate and was accordingly the first person to ever receive a diploma from our institution. He was also the first president of The Citadel Alumni Association. We are extremely honoured by the 33 Signal Regiment’s decision to repatriate the sword and very appreciative of the lengths they have gone to make it happen,” Goble said. “At the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after 12 hours of savage combat on Sept. 17, 1862,” he added.

Changes at The Citadel

June 24, 2015

This has been a difficult week for our community and state. The Citadel has directly felt the impact of the tragedy at Emanuel AME Church as one of the victims was a Citadel Graduate College alumnus and six of our employees lost family members. The Emanuel AME Church is our neighbor and we consider it a part of our extended Citadel family. We will continue to support the church and its members in their time of need.

Today, The Citadel Board of Visitors voted 9-3 in favor of moving the Confederate Naval Jack from Summerall Chapel to an appropriate location on campus. The move will require an amendment to the Heritage Act by the South Carolina legislature. The board’s motion authorizes the Chair of the Board of Visitors and the administration of the college to work with the legislature on the amendment. The Board of Visitors and I believe now is the right time to move the flag from a place of worship to an appropriate location. We pride ourselves on our core values of honor, duty and respect. Moving the Naval Jack to another location is consistent with these values and is a model to all of the principled leadership we seek to instill in our cadets and students. It also promotes unity on our campus, in our community and across our state during this time of healing.

John W. Rosa, Lt Gen (USAF, ret)
Citadel President

Rock Hill native is fourth person in family with his name to graduate from The Citadel

May 12, 2015
Lt. Gen. Rosa, Hiram "Chip" Hutchison, III, Hiram "Bo" Hutchison, IV & Hiram "Hutch" Hutchison, Jr.

Lt. Gen. Rosa, Hiram “Chip” Hutchison, III, Hiram “Bo” Hutchison, IV & Hiram “Hutch” Hutchison, Jr.

by: Teddy Kulmala The Rock Hill Herald

When Rock Hill native Hiram Hutchison IV walks across the stage of McAlister Field House on Saturday to accept his diploma, he will be the fourth person named Hiram Hutchison to graduate from The Citadel – 100 years after his great-grandfather made the same walk.

Hutchison, who goes by “Bo,” graduates Saturday from the senior military college with a degree in criminal justice. The 22-year-old, who graduated from Rock Hill High School in 2011, is following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, Hiram Hutchison Sr., who graduated in 1915; his grandfather, Hiram Hutchison Jr., who graduated in 1957; and his father, Hiram “Chip” Hutchison, who graduated in 1986.

Per school tradition for legacy graduates, Hiram Jr. and Chip will be onstage to present Bo’s diploma to him. “It’s ironic that my father finished The Citadel in 1915, and now Bo is finishing in 2015. That makes it special,” Hiram Jr. said. “My father died when I was about 14 or so. I knew he always had that in mind for me to do that.” The Citadel was the only college he applied to, Bo said, and he “didn’t know anything else” growing up.“I didn’t see myself going anywhere else. It was just kind of expected,” he said. “I’m happy to have had the opportunity to keep that tradition going.”

Bo recalled the day he learned he had been accepted. Hiram Jr. had purchased a Citadel memento rifle, and engraved on it was the year 1915.“After that, there was a blank spot where 2015 could go if I went there,” Bo said. “When he pulled that out that night – it just kind of all fell into place.” Hiram Jr. recently got the rifle engraved with Bo’s 2015 date.

“This will be my dad’s third trip, including his own trip,” Chip said. “He crossed the stage by himself, he crossed it with me and now he’s doing it with his grandson.” Joining Bo today will be 33 other legacy cadets in the class of 2015, who will accept diplomas from their alumni parents and grandparents, all of whom were in the Corps of Cadets. The tradition dates back to 1962 and was later adapted by The Citadel Graduate College.

“If they graduate, they are entitled to make the presentation to their child when they graduate from the Corps of Cadets,” said Shamus Gillen, associate director of admissions for The Citadel. “There’s a wonderful opportunity to embody that transition in such a ceremony. The senior alumnus is present on that stage to make that presentation of the diploma to the soon-to-be young alumnus. Metaphorically, it connotes what the school is about – passing on these values to the next generation.”

When he left home four years ago to attend The Citadel, Bo said, his father and grandfather passed on their advice and the lessons they learned there. “I owe it to both of them,” he said. “My grandfather kept me encouraged and knowing what to expect. I am definitely a chip off the old block. My dad and I are a lot alike; he owes his college education to The Citadel too.”

Throughout the 1900s, according to the school, there was not a male Hutchison who did not attend The Citadel. Hiram Sr.’s older brother, Eugene Hutchison, graduated in 1905. Eugene’s two sons – Eugene Jr. and Theodore – graduated in 1927 and 1928. Chip said all of the Hutchisons who graduated from The Citadel also graduated from Rock Hill High School. But the Hutchisons’ century-plus at The Citadel might end with Bo, whose younger brother Teddy is graduating from Rock Hill High this year. “He said he’s not going to The Citadel,” Chip said with a laugh, “because it’s a Hiram thing.”

Long-time barber hangs up the razor at The Citadel

May 5, 2015
Willie Rivers

Willie Rivers

By Karina Bolster WCSC TV , Charleston
Posted: May 04, 2015 6:00 PM EDT

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A nearly 30-year career at The Citadel came to an end Monday as one of the school’s long-time barbers hung up the razor to retiring. Over 20,000 cadets and those in the community pass through the James L. Rampey III barber shop every year. This fall the familiar face of Willie Rivers will be missing as barbers give freshman that brand new look. “They can’t say anything,” Rivers laughed in response to the knob cuts. “They’re not allowed to say anything, that’s the good part about it.”

Rivers, 82, has been a barber at The Citadel for nearly three decades. “I just love to be around the kids, and I love cutting hair,” Rivers said. He’s still sharp with his tools, but after Monday he’ll be looking after someone special. “My wife is ill so I’m going to take care of her, until the next move,” Rivers said. His wife has Parkinson’s disease and while his children have cared for her over the years, he felt he should be with her more often.

Rivers wasn’t always a barber though. He worked for the city of New York for several years, among other jobs before finally taking up shop at The Citadel, giving freshman that unmistakable buzz. “You sit in the chair, they knock all your hair off right quick, and it’s just a big rush,” Kelbey Oakes, a freshman at The Citadel, said. In the fall, barbers usually shave 60 cadets on “knob day.”

After 30 years in the business you may think he could do it with his eyes closed, but he says each student is different. “It’s not as easy as you think it is,” Rivers said. “You have to go low enough, but you can’t be leaving any holes or anything.”

Despite Monday being his final day, his presence won’t be forgotten. His co-workers admit he’s brought something indescribable to the shop in all his years. “It’s hard to talk [about it],” Kim Sparkman, a barber at The Citadel for 12 years, said. “He’s just my friend. It’s nothing special, it’s just a friendship we’ve had, and I’m going to miss him.”

The cadets have noticed him also, some from the first swipe of the razor. “When you get those short haircuts, this is where the memories happen,” Nolan Bradley, a senior who was getting his last haircut at The Citadel, said. “It’s just so heartwarming.” “He’s part of the institution,” Oakes added. “He’s been here a while, he knows his way around, knows what he’s doing. It’s good to have a rock like that in the barber shop or anywhere on campus.”

Monday Rivers’ coworkers threw a retirement party for him. Several cadets from the past sent in pictures wishing him the best during his retirement.

Behind the scenes at Best Ranger, the Army competition for elite soldiers

April 15, 2015
Capt. Robert Killian climbs a robe during the Best Ranger competition on April 12 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Markeith Horace for the U.S. Army)

Capt. Robert Killian,’05 climbs a robe during the Best Ranger competition on April 12 at Fort Benning, Ga. (Markeith Horace for the U.S. Army)

By Dan Lamothe.
The Washington Post April 13, 2015

FORT BENNING, Ga. — Already exhausted, Army Capt. Robert Killian sounded very much Saturday like a man who had tried for years to win the Army’s Best Ranger competition, but had not yet reached the summit. The Special Forces officer in the Army National Guard had already finished 23rd, 6th and 2nd in previous versions of the contest, which pits some of the military’s top operators against each other in a 62-hour Olympics-style event focusing on military skills and endurance.

Small mistakes had cost Killian’s two-man team valuable points, leaving them in second place behind a team of soldiers from Fort Benning. “When I first started I wasn’t too technically savvy because I was just a triathlete and runner so I just said that I’d go in and do the physical stuff,” Killian said. “I thought it would get me ahead. You know, win the road march. Win the land [navigation]. But you really have to have the technical. That’s where people catch up, or you get a big point gap.”

Killian (The Citadel ’05 C Co.) and Capt. Travis Cornwall finished in second place for the second consecutive year Sunday night, losing to Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Lemma and Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Briggs of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning. The competition started with 51 teams, and was whittled to 24 a day later.

It marked the 32nd year for the competition, which was started in 1982 to honor retired Lt. Gen. David E. Grange Jr., a member of the Army Ranger Hall of Fame who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Grange, now 90, continues to attend the event annually and serve as an ambassador for the Army.

“The young men that go through this, they’re military athletes. There are no Sergeant Bilkos out here,” he said, referring to the famous con man soldier in the “The Phil Silver Show” TV series. “That’s the kind of people you get out here. They’re real winners.” Best Ranger includes 26 events on average, and has competitors doing everything from crawling through the mud to leaping from helicopters into water. One of its most famous events is the Tri-Tower Challenge, in which soldiers rappel down the side of a structure more than 200 feet high.

Recognition Day 2015: the most important day of the year for Citadel freshmen

April 9, 2015
The march to "Citadel Green" is the longest parade of the year.

The march to “Citadel Green” is the longest parade of the year for Knobs.

Support newest members of the S.C. Corps of Cadets during iconic march to Marion Square

Young men and women who entered The Citadel as freshmen last fall are counting down the hours until their fourth class status ends and they are officially sworn in as members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. That will happen on Saturday, April 11, Recognition Day 2015. For freshmen, known on campus as knobs, Recognition Day marks the end of the highly regimented way of life that is The Citadel’s Fourth Class System, recognized as one of the toughest college military-training systems in the country.

The day begins at sunrise and includes hours of rigorous physical training tests and drills which are overseen by the regimental staff and the Commandant of Cadets. Those activities include an obstacle course nicknamed The Gauntlet, which will be set up on Summerall Field and will get underway at 10:30 a.m. It will be followed by one of the most iconic sights in Charleston – the Recognition Day March to Marion Square. The march begins at 3 p.m. at the college’s main gate. The freshmen will proceed in formation down Moultrie St., turning right on King St. to Marion Square, which was the college’s original parade ground in the mid-1800s.


“They will be very tired but very proud as they march through the city,” said Cadet Logan Hester, Regimental Public Affairs Officer and member of the Citadel Class of 2015. Recognition Day is one of the two most important days in any cadet’s career at The Citadel, along with Ring Day. “Freshman year here is a lot like boot camp in the military, but with the addition of what can be a grueling academic and leadership studies schedule. The thought of Recognition Day, when the upperclassmen truly accept the knobs as cadets, is what gets many through the nine-month long, fourth-class training.”

Hundreds of Charlestonians, visitors, alumni, family and friends line the streets to cheer for the knobs as they march, dressed in their brilliant, white uniforms, to attend “The Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green” which will get underway at about 3:30 p.m. The day’s events follow three weeks of Transition to Recognition Training during which the knobs take classes examining their leadership and ethics skills, as well as their knowledge of The Citadel Honor Code. They also undergo inspections and drills training.

Visitors and parents are not permitted on the field during The Gauntlet, but may stay behind the roped-off areas on the perimeter of the field. Also, parents and visitors are not allowed in the barracks at any time on this day.
The Recognition Day March to Marion Square has been carried out in some fashion for more than 100 years.