VMI going soft?

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by TurkishRunner, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    Apparently the rat line is not what it used to be, and has changed a lot to make it easier. What significant changes have been made to make it easier? I heard this from a member of the class of 08 or 09 or something that their year is one of the last years to have had a hard rat line or something. Personally I want it to be hard, so im really interested to find out how its getting "easier", or so i hear
     
  2. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    I'm a member of the Class of 2009. Anyone in '08 will tell you I didn't have a ratline. I'll always give the guys in '10 crap because clearly they didn't have a ratline. :smile:

    Here's the rule of the Old Corps: the Old Corps ended the day before you got there. Learn this rule. Know it well. See the humor in it. Allow it to help you maintain perspective.

    Things change every year. Not just the ratline, but VMI itself. This is a normal part of life. Some things get easier, other things get harder. No matter what the rules are, the ratline is going to suck. It'll be as hard or as easy as you want to make it.

    Never forget that all of this inter-class banter is somewhat shortsighted. Joking about it is part of what ties us new kids to the Old Corps; it draws us into the Brotherhood. But some people (mostly cadets, although a few of my fellow Alums aren't much better) take it way too seriously. At the end of the day, all we (Alumni) really care about is the fact that we all wear the Ring.

    Just wait. If you do end up going to VMI, your class will be the last one to have a ratline. The kids who come the year after you will be more disrespectful than you were, they'll care less than you did, their Cadre and RDC will be a joke and they won't strain nearly as hard as your class did. Give it time. :smile:
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    having graduated 30 years ago and now having a son in the Corps- what I am amazed at is that the school has fundamentally changed so little. There are certainly some things that are done differently than what they were then but any changes that I can see are mostly for the better. I would describe much of what occured in my RatLine as "random acts of stupidity" which were sometimes brutal but often pointless and often really risky. By contrast- I find that the current approach is hard, but controlled and directed with an end result in mind. It is a much better school in my opinion than it was in 1976 in almost all aspects. It is physically and mentally demanding- but not stupid, and academically better and militarily more professional now than in my day.

    There is always a disgruntled old alumnus out there who feeds some line of bull about the Corps going to Hell for some perceived softening or other- but its mostly just beer and bad memory talking. I was in an airport a couple years ago and was talking to a couple of parents who i ran into in the terminal wearing VMI gear- their sons had graduated the year before- and they were now decrying the loss of some "old" tradition that the Commandant or Supe had jettisoned. When they told me what it was I laughed because it couldn't have been that old as we had never done that- and the more they told me- the dumber it sounded. It was Risky, had replaced an even more foolish tradition and most importantly led to nothing- I would have killed it too if I were the Com.

    Every class I've ever run into has "the last hard Ratline", every class has a certain amount of gripes that the administration "took some of their privileges away" that "the Rats are getting over" etc... This is a refrain yu will hear at VMI, at the Citadel, at the Service academies etc.... So your first lesson in dealing with one of these schools is- learn to filter that static out. It's just noise by guys who vent the only way they can- bu it doesn't mean it's true.
     
  4. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    awesome replies, thanks alot fellas, that makes a lot of sense
     
  5. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Bruno's post brings out an excellent point. The vast majority of Old Corps guys (and by "Old Corps," I mean the 1970s and 1980s in this case) that I've spoken with have said the same thing: "It's a lot more professional now than back in my day."

    I have met a number of Alums from the 40s, 50s and 60s and I can only think of two who have actually told me Ratline stories. The one who's Class of '52 was telling me how brutal it was and how he thinks it's better now, and the one who's '68 was telling me about one of his RDC officers as a lead up to a story about how he got him back a few years after he graduated when he was his former RDC officer's jumpmaster in the Army. Most of the Alums from the '90s were fighting another battle.

    Again, it's mainly current cadets and recent Alum who you'll hear talking about the Corps going to hell and the Ratline being Girl Scout Camp. I was astounded over Christmas furlough of my rat year when I went to a New Cadet Recruiting function with the Alumni Association and had an Alum from the late 70s tell me that from the stories he'd heard, my Ratline was a lot more physically demanding than his was. I'm sure he has plenty of stories and scars to prove it, but that was not what was important to him. He was just thrilled to see me, because I went to his school.
     
  6. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I'm one of those alums from the '90s. I started in August 1995, and something happened in 1997 when I was a Second Classman (Junior) that clearly changed VMI. I don't want this discussion to go down that road, though, as the answers posted by the older and more recent alums are generally right regarding the OP's question. The usual griping is that some miniscule change means that the Ratline has gone to hell in a hand basket. Whether it be that the Rats wear a different color belt, or they get to eat dessert or drink juice/soda at dinner, whatever. VMI changes like most things do, and that generally is good in the long run (although, I'm sure I'd get a lot of debate on that statement from some of my BRs). Indeed, The Institute is a lot slower to change than most places, and I guess that makes people even more resistant to it when it happens. For a potential applicant, though, the changes will most likely be relatively minor. My class had a major change to adapt to, which was not easy to do; but, is not something that any future class will have to deal with.

    Essentially, to answer the OP's question-don't worry, the Ratline will suck plenty for you, and the Thirds telling you how easy you have it is just part of the deal.
     
  7. 178Nayr

    178Nayr New Member

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    Ah yes... and let's not forget that some of the biggest haze masters were the biggest snivelling whiners during their own Rookdom and 4th class years. From what I recall these tended to be the guys that perpetuated the "Old Corps" myths and took it out on their Rooks. I've not been back on the Hill for many years but I'd bet a beer this is still the case.
     
  8. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Oh yeah. You got it. I think this is probably pretty typical for all the SMCs.

    The worst rats turn into the biggest stoop monkeys. :smile: It's funny, because you'd think it would be the Cadre CPLs (at VMI, those are the Third Classmen who help train the rats) that are the biggest flamers. There are always a few who go crazy with the power tripping, but in general, they tend to get it out of their system during Cadre Training Time, and then they turn around and ride heard on the other (less professional) kids in their class who like to flame rats just for the sake of flaming rats.
     
  9. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    From the Youtube videos I see, USMC boot camp is a tad different than it was back in 1980 PI when I went through, one thing comes to mind is the omission of ICT at E Beach to the Crucible. I also see 4th Battalion recruits with males having a "debriefing" session after a hard task?

    Overall the spirit is there but change is good in my opinion. There was some crazy stuff going on even back in 1980! I'm sure even TPG occasionally said (back in the day) that we, in 1980 PI, had it easy compared to the cycles in 1976 lol :biggrin:
     
  10. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    I think this phenomenon is standard to any group with a high amount of esprit de corps and comaraderie that's based on shared hardship. Things will change every year. It all depends on how well we adapt to change the longer we've been associated with the group.

    Last night I heard a young lady who is going into her fourth year at the military high school I work at telling the New Cadets why they have no right to complain about their initial training since "it's nothing compared to what I went through in my first year."

    I laughed, not because it was a joke compared to VMI (I mean, really... the Ratline wasn't designed for 13 year olds), but because it's always the same no matter where you go. The Old Corps ended the day before you arrived.
     
  11. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Yep that's true: those old sailing ship sailors had no use for iron steamship sailors - "arrgh- back when the ships were wood and the men were iron we had real sailors!!", and the China Marines thought the kids who enlisted after Pearl Harbor had it soft. Probably the farmers at Bunker Hill thought that the youngsters who joined in 1776 were a bunch of wusses.

    So let me tell you about "The Old Corps" back before the Corps went to hell!
     
  12. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    Yup, I specifically remember our DI's telling us: this "new" lol cammy uniform is nowhere near the uniform the sateens were!

    BTW, When did the cammy's come in and the sateens go out? 1978?
     
  13. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    I was one of the first series (3016) to come through 3rd Bn in 1980, so I guess were were one of the first all cammie recruits :thumb: I guess that's why we got the comments. These were the "straight" pocket cammies and I must say they were junk compared to my sons ACU's! BTW, we still had M16 A1's back then
     
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Thought that you might find interesting this video that VMI posted on their web site. I was down there this weekend, and had the chance to take several rats out to Dinner on Sunday evening as well as a bunch of 3rd Classman the prior night. I have to say that I didn't see any dead Rats :rolleyes: littering the stoops- also didn't see any who really were feeling like they had been cheated of a challenging experience so far. Sadly my ability to spend much time with my own 3rd Class Cadet was somewhat constrained as he was on confinement and walking off penalty tours :eek:

    http://www.vmi.edu/photojournals/0910/0910videogallery.html
     
  15. TurkishRunner

    TurkishRunner Member

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    yeah i saw that, looks fun :D
     
  16. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Man, he did not plan that one well, did he? It's okay... he's only a Third. He'll learn. :thumb:
     
  17. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    I was one of those proud mom's - I thought they did very well with just 2 weeks of training and practice!
     
  18. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    You should be proud, Ma'am. They looked great.
     
  19. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    One hopes! Actually the confinement and the PT's are a part of life there - my irritation was that he could have told me earlier so I either delayed the trip or made some plans to see some other folks down there during the day. I kind of think that he wanted me to come down anyway so he forgot to say anything (that would make me feel good anyway!).
    I had to laugh - Sunday there was a tour group from NJ - full of Russian speaking tourists who were filming the cadets marching Penalty tours. I asked one young man (who spoke English) if he knew what they were filming - he thought it was a parade and his mother chimed in that they looked so good. They were sort of surprised to hear that they were filming "convicts" who were "doing time". :eek: Penalty Tours by the way are the perfect punishment for a place where more than anything else - you value your free time. Marching around and around in a 1/4 mile loop is just a huge waste of time and has no redeeming value- you know that you are being punished! (well almost no redeeming value- you do get to ponder things like: "what was the theme song from Gilligan's Island?" "What was the commander's name in F Troop?" "Is my girlfriend really going out with those guys from W&L while I'm marching around in circles?")Ah well- next trip will be better.
    The Rats did look good though and VMI's football team won a cliffhanger as well so it looks the mass of 2013 is getting started well.:thumb:
     
  20. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I had the pleasure of actually marching PTs only twice during my time at VMI. That isn't to say that I didn't receive them more than twice, just that I was able to "detail" them and/or use merits to get rid of them. PT details are "volunteer" jobs that you can do to work off your punishment. I helped out at a Ranger Challenge event once (loading 5.56mm rounds into magazines for the Hooah guys to shoot). Another time, I think I worked handing out cookies at the blood drive. As a side benefit to getting rid of PTs (besides the altruistic motives), giving blood used to get you hay down and optional BRC.

    Of the two times I marched, I was an NCO once, so I had a sabre. That was a FAR superior experience to walking PTs with a rifle. Above all, I remember that having Ac. Stars meant you got merits, and those could counteract PTs. Yet another reason to have good grades-a lesson future Keydets should take in stride.
     

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