VMI New Cadet Oath Ceremony

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by RahVaMil2009, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    The VMI website has information posted about the New Cadet Oath Ceremony taking place in New Market, VA this coming Sunday, September 4th. General event information can be found here. Then, click here to learn more about how families can participate in other activities throughout the weekend--specifically, when you'll be able to spend time with your little rat-ties! :smile:

    Members of the VMI Parents' Council will be wearing nametags, so you'll be able to spot them easily. One of the primary responsibilities of the Parents' Council is to help rat parents, so feel free to direct any questions you have to them.

    If you plan on eating lunch with your rat-tie at the Park on Sunday, be prepared to bring your own food, if you didn't place an order for box lunches in advance. You won't have time to leave the Park during the lunch break. If you want to buy food in town, there's a Burger King, a 7-11, a pizza joint (in a gas station), a Mexican restaurant (quality is hit or miss), and a Johnny Appleseed restaurant (attached to a hotel). I think that's it, but this list is just off the top of my head. Oh, there's also a pretty cool little snow cone and ice cream place. :smile: Anyway, they usually have some box lunches leftover, but you'll have to wait a really long time to make sure everyone who preordered gets the lunches the paid for, and there's no telling how many extra meals they'll have.

    It's definitely a good idea to bring camp chairs and/or blankets so you'll have some place to sit. They do have handicap parking at the Park, but there's quite a bit of walking involved for every other aspect of the day.

    The schedule on Sunday is usually hectic, but well-planned and organized. The rats will ride buses to New Market on Sunday morning, and then they'll rotate through different stations by company (there are three stations, so they'll go through each one in groups of three companies: A, B, & C; D, E, & F; and G, H, & Band). One station is the museum itself, and the other two are run by cadets who are members of the Civil War Roundtable. They're there to teach the rats the history of the Battle, so the rats will develop a deeper respect and understanding of our heritage and what we stand for. Their Cadre will take them from station to station. There typically isn't a whole lot of yelling on this day, at least in public. It's focused on education (not training) and tradition (not the Ratline).

    The cadets who are with the rats are generally their Cadre, but any other cadets you see standing around will also be happy to answer any questions you may have. They typically have several staff cadets (non-Cadre rankers) on hand to answer questions about the schedule and where different events will be held, so don't be afraid to approach them. I say this as one who has answered many questions for rat parents, who were just as lost and confused as their rat-ties, and terrified that they'd ask a "stupid" question of the wrong person and get their rats in trouble later on. :smile: I've said it many times before: it's tough being a VMI parent!

    After they rotate through the different stations, they'll form up outside the Bushong House, hear a couple of speeches, and take their Oath together. Families are allowed to stand outside the fenced in area to take pictures, but this space can be limited. They'll tell you exactly what time the Oath Ceremony itself will begin, so it's good to plan ahead by arriving at the house early enough to get a good spot. Until then, you're free to walk around the park and check out the museum yourself.

    From there they will move to the Field of Lost Shoes, charge across the field in memory of those who Died on the Field of Honor, they'll listen to a speech by the First Class President, and then they'll typically form up by company briefly just to get accountability before the rats fall out and find their parents for lunch. Have your cameras ready. :smile:

    You probably won't be able to talk to your rats until they're released for lunch, because they'll be very busy with the training schedule. If you see them with their companies, you can smile and wave from a distance, but don't be surprised if they don't return the greeting. This is probably a combination of fear that they'll get in trouble with their Cadre, and a deep desire for you to see them standing perfectly at attention in formation with all of their Brother Rats. By this point, they've made it through Hell Week and their first week of classes. They're ready to stand tall and proud, in uniform, if for no other reason to make you proud of them, too.

    After lunch, they'll form back up with their companies, load the buses, and proceed to the starting point of the parade. This is the last time you'll see them one-on-one until you meet them on Post back at VMI. I think the parade route is about a mile, and you can stand on either side of the street. Again, any member of the Parents' Council, cadets, or officers you see will be able to help you make sure you're on the parade route. They march in order by company, Alpha through Delta, then Band in the middle, and Echo through Hotel. You'll know which company is which by the guidon (little red flag) out in front of the company, right next to the Company Commander. The buses will have moved to the end of the parade route, so they'll immediately load the buses and return to the Institute.

    A few things to note...
    • They must be in proper uniform--either grey blouse or class dyke (they should know which)--whenever they're in public in Rockbridge County, but they can certainly change into PT's or even civvies in the hotel room.
    • Pay attention for information regarding when they're allowed to depart Post, and what time they need to return. If they return to Post even 1 minute late, they will have to report themselves, and this could result in penalty tours and confinement.
    • It's okay to hug them! They shouldn't be prancing around holding hands with boyfriends or girlfriends, but for immediate family members, there's really no such thing as PDA. They'll probably try to be stoic and "professional", but you won't get them in trouble for hugging and kissing them.
    • Take lots and lots of pics. You'll cherish these later on, and so will they.
    • Keep an eye out for rat-ties whose parents weren't able to make it. One of my BRs in my company was from AZ, and all of her extended family lived there. We invited her to join us for lunch and it meant just about as much to my parents as it meant to her!
    That's about all I can think of, but I'm sure there's more that I'm missing. I've been to the New Cadet Oath Ceremony every year since 2005 (wow...), and it's definitely one of the neatest things VMI does for the rats and their families.

    Hopefully we'll have a strong showing at the first home football game on Saturday, too. Go, Keydets!!!

    Jackie M. Briski '09
    First Class PVT (Ret.)
     
  2. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Thank you very much!
     
  3. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    I am posting link - to help RAT families know ehrn they may expect to see their RAT : http://www.vmi.edu/Content.aspx?id=10737418888
    If that doesnt work - on new VMI site - left side clink tab that says news - see more stories - 4 or 5 stories down is outline of RAT's schedule and free time for saturday and sunday!
    Also - I think pictures are finally posted from the RAT's past 2 weeks activities!
    larrys mom
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    So this is the Rats first big weekend- First Parade at 1030 this morning , then first football game (vs Delaware State- two 3-8 teams battling it out :rolleyes: new season and we supposedly had a fairly good recruiting class so hope springs up again! : Go Keydets!!)- then New Market ceremony and march thru the town of New Market. For all of those Rat parents - have a great time and don't forget to take the orphan roommates with you to dinner tonight. It's an important part of Cadet parent etiquette!
     
  5. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Brunco: I was at Lexington on Saturday and at New Market on Sunday for my Rat's first free time since matriculation. I got to say, VMI is a really classy institution. I was impressed again and again. And as a hard-bitten litigator, I don't impress easily. This Institution is very well run and organized and they treat parents and family extremely well. Classes have begun and my DS, an Institute Scholar, is very pleased with the level of instruction. (And, having made it through Hell Week, he has little regard for those who have already dropped out -- "It's not *that* hard" -- he says). VMI has, at least thus far, lived up to every expectation and then some. If you can, I would love it if you can pass this along, or let me know who I can write to directly. Thanks.
     
  6. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Pennak: I'm glad to hear that things went well for you and for your son. I saw some pictures of the New Market parade which looks like it went well. Too bad the first football game went south but you learn not to expect VMI football wins- when one happens you are just happily surprised. (I also heard from one First Classman who road marched up to New Market who decided to go at the last minute with no practice marches: 80+ miles = severe hamburger feet :eek:)

    I'm sure that VMI will appreciate your feedback- I would send them directly to either the Superintendent or the Commandant's office. Their Email addresses are below:

    General Peay's office: parrentlr@vmi.edu
    Col Trump's office: leechhc@vmi.edu

    Parents weekend (10/15) will be upon you before you know it. It will really be a rewarding weekend for parents as well your Cadet. Just be prepared for long lines at all the restaurants, and lots of sleeping time by your Rats. If you are not flying out on Sunday and can hang around for the day- I would suggest taking a drive to get out of Rockbridge County- the D-Day Memorial in Bedford is an hour drive and is very worthwhile. Charlottesville is also about an hour away- UVA is a beautiful university with a very good student led tour and of course Monticello . Mostly though- lots of food and sleep with trips to Walmart will be what they mostly crave:rolleyes:
     
  7. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Thanks Bruno: I have already made my reservations for parents' weekend. I appreciate your suggestions. We are from Maryland so we are within driving distance.
     

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