VMI Ratline Severity

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by C76706340, Mar 8, 2018.

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  1. C76706340

    C76706340 VMI 2022

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    I just read a Washington Post article that painted a grim reality of life in the Ratline. Given that the article was written in the 90s, I was wondering if the Ratline is still as intense as it was back then (the “old corps”). Here’s the article:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/arch...-at-vmi/273b14f9-c609-41a4-93f6-a28494057983/

    A part of me wants the Ratline to be that intense, and a part of me does not want the Ratline to be that intense. Thoughts?
     
  2. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    image.jpeg Here is the real deal -- A post from Feb 2018 From Kadet Life -- Google it:

    "Here's a post I made two years ago, I think now is a fitting time for its return. Edited for grammar.

    "Although they don't exist in large numbers, there are those who would call VMI's sacred Ratline cruel, overly demanding, or just outright hazing. I took this photo immediately after the last sweat party of 15+3's breakout. The Rats had come back from grueling PT at McKethan Park, after an arduous extended sweat party this morning, which had followed a straight week of sweat parties and workouts. This sweat party was delivered by the Thirds, the Seconds, and finally their Dykes.

    The kid was spent.

    His limbs were moving without any sense of precision or fine control. His mouth was gaped open, gasping for air. He was sweating profusely despite the cold.

    Regarding energy, his emergency tank was running on fumes.

    But this was the end of an experience that forged a brotherhood equaled in no other institution of education. His Dyke, his mentor and guardian, was in front of him, and it was for his Dyke that he would burn the precious few grains of energy he had left.

    The moment the horn signaled the final sweat party was over he collapsed into his Dykes arms as they locked in an embrace, and patting each other on the back. His Dyke was proud of him, and that embrace vindicated, for me, our entire system.

    I remember my Dyke, and this Rat will remember his."
     
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  3. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    About 500 enter each year . . . About 300-350 graduate each year . . . Do the math . . . Typically about a 30-40% attrition rate over the 4 years . . . Make sure you are committed to completing the journey . . .
     
  4. C76706340

    C76706340 VMI 2022

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    I’M COMMITTED
     
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  5. GoCubbies

    GoCubbies Member

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    OK...so thoughts...

    It really doesn't matter the intensity. Couple reasons:

    1) The perception of level of intensity will be different between you and your BRs anyway. The physical fitness studs (or studettes) in your class will think it wasn't intense. Those less physically (or mentally for that matter) prepared will think it was really intense.

    Those in the classes before you will always think their Ratline was more intense (even though it may not have been) than yours. Likewise, you will always think your Ratline was more intense (even though it may not have been) than subsequent classes. There's no way around that.

    2) At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whose Ratline was intense and whose wasn't. It doesn't get you a job or make you look better to your bosses. I've run into many VMI grads over the years and none of us talk about intensity of our Ratline. Really. I know for a fact the class before me had a Ratline that I sure would not want to have been a part of when I was at VMI. I've met members of that class years later. Not once has the intensity of their class and the less intensity of my class came up. We talk about tying up the Rat pulling guard duty in the courtyard and lighting up (gasoline and lighter will do the trick) the tree at the beginning of Christmas season. We talk about how that BR got kicked out of VMI because he was dumb enough to try to sneak in his girlfriend from Mary Baldwin into barracks when the TAC who had a chip on his shoulder was on duty that night. He's the same TAC who ran the stick every hour on the weekends. So, when you leave VMI, the intensity doesn't matter. No one (that has a life anyway) talks about it.

    It's good you're committed because that's what it takes to get past that first week and to go back to VMI after Christmas furlough.

    One last thing you should know is there will be many times during your Rat year (and the other 3 years for that matter) when you will wish whatever is happening to you will be less intense.
     
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  6. Vmi2022!

    Vmi2022! Member

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    Just do it Brother, we get this together!!!!!
     
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  7. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    just curious. those who left, did they join another ROTC somewhere else? join the military? ever keep in touch years later?

     
  8. VMI2017+3

    VMI2017+3 Member

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    The two most common routes I see are enlisting and a civilian college w/o doing ROTC. I haven’t heard of too many people pursuing a commission at another school. The only ones I have noticed doing that are people who’ve been drummed out.
     
  9. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    In recent years, about 50% of those that graduate commission.

    Of those that leave, a handful 2-3 each year leave VMI to accept an appointment to an SA. A handful decide college is not for them and decide to directly enlist. Some may go to another school and perhaps commission. Most I think decide the military and/or VMI is not for them.
     
  10. conrack

    conrack Member

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    The article was written by a reporter who had probably never set foot on campus and doesn't know the first thing about the school, also note that the alumni interviewed graduated decades ago. Kinda like how most peoples perceptions of The Citadel are based on "The Lords of Discipline"; which chronicles knob life there 55 years ago. Its a tough place but you its something you have to want to do, only the physically and mentally strong survive.
     
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  11. KarenH

    KarenH 5-Year Member

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    This weekend met a former VMI cadet who left after rat year due to academics. He enlisted and, interestingly enough, was present at the Army Ranger school graduation of brother rats, with whom he is still close. He said his only VMI regrets are that he was not committed to college academics at that point in his life. Witnessed him shake the hand and thank a new Ranger who had been part of the cadre that trained him rat year.
     
  12. C76706340

    C76706340 VMI 2022

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    Conrack,

    I don't want to get my thread moved to the "off-topic" section, but I just watched The Lords of Discipline after you mentioned it. Aside from the over-the-top hazing depicted in the film that I'm certain is not allowed at any school (making knobs swallow coins? Come on!), overall, the film was very watchable. I will say that the first act, whose main purpose was to establish the militaristic atmosphere, was executed much more thoughtfully than the second act which felt rushed. All the loose ends were tied and everything seemed to fall into place in the span of what felt like 10 minutes. The rushed feel of the second act was not helped by the fact that the film ended on a freeze frame (I hate freeze frames) :|

    Anyway, thank you all for the feedback. Should I attend VMI on my path of becoming an Army officer, I will embrace every challenge VMI throws at me with full knowledge that the challenges will build a stronger individual in me and my brother rats.

    Thanks, guys.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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