Uniformity, Lists, and Letting Go

Knobs line up

One week from now some members of The Citadel Class of 2020 will be on campus for Citadel Success Institute (CSI). That means across the country and beyond families are busy getting the necessary items and preparing to say good-bye. The parents of athletes who report July 26 and the parents of the cadets reporting August 13 have a bit more time, but they too are spending their time pouring over the Success Packet list and the Citadel Family Association’s “Nice to Have List.”

Military schools have a tradition of making sure everyone looks the same. Uniformity and not  standing out is stressed. Because of this emphasis the families readying their student to report get a bit anxious. Everyone wants to make sure their student has what they need.

What I’ve come to realize though is while you do have lists of things you need to have and lists of things that are nice to have, the cadets still manage to carve out their own way of doing something. For instance, they all need flat white sheets to go on their twin sized bunks, but some cadets will decide they like to have a little extra fabric to tuck under and will want extra long sheets, others do not want the extra fabric. Some cadets use T-pins to secure their sheets to the bunks, others like the elastic straps made for this purpose.

Since the Class of 2020 has not started the year yet, the parents and their students are left with the official list and the Nice to Have list and must make decisions about what to bring. The knobs will develop their own preferences as the year goes on. Parents will slowly learn that no matter what they send, their son or daughter will still find something else they want or decide they do not need what was packed. This is all part of the 4th Class system, maybe not in a formal way, but finding their own way on a very regimented path is a by product of the 4th Class System. (see the PowerPoint on 4C Learning Outcomes)

There are rules for everything, but the cadets still find a way to be their own individual. Some will make their mark in Physical Training (PT). Others will stand out in the classroom, or athletics, or clubs. Some knobs will strive to be a “ghost.” They will do what is expected, but not do anything to bring attention to themselves. Others decide they want to stand out in their field of endeavor. For instance, if they are good at physical training they will do things that may mean extra push ups as a result. The person who is good at PT doesn’t mind extra exercise.

For the non-military person, like I am, this all seems pretty strange. That is alright, we non-grad/non-military parents aren’t the cadets and don’t have to understand it. As parents we are just supposed to be supportive. As I mentioned in a previous post being supportive in this context is helping them with the things they need to report, then encouraging them throughout the year.

I tell new parents each year not to stress about the lists of items, just do their best to get what is listed. Each year the parents worry and obsess over plastic bins, underwear sheets and shoe polish, then soon learn what size bin was sent, or type of sheet really doesn’t matter. In a way I believe parents need the lists to obsess over to distract themselves from the fact their child is going off not only to college but to a military college. The parents can’t control what happens once they arrive at the gates, but they can try to make sure their child has what they need.

If you are the parent of a student entering this year, get the items they need, then take time now to be with your child.

It is a tough year. No matter what they do or don’t do, they will get yelled at a lot. Nothing will ever be right. They won’t get positive reinforcement on campus, that is what you can provide.

They will make friends that will become their family. The cadets have a saying, they spend four years trying to get out of The Citadel and then the rest of their lives trying to get back.

If your son or daughter has chosen this path they have the strength to get through the year. Remember that and remind them of that fact often in the months to come.

The Citadel: Send off Events

Dorie Griggs welcomes the class of 2020 and their parents at the annual Georgia Citadel Parents Orientation gathering June 18.

44 days and a wake up until the Class of 2020 reports to The Citadel, even earlier for the Fall athletes. For many families it is a time of great excitement and some anxiety.

It’s been years since my son was a knob, but I remember the emotions well. The past few years I’ve had the opportunity to be on campus for Matriculation Weekend a few times. Last year I had the honor of standing in as a mom to a young man who flew in from the west coast by himself. I picked him up at his hotel and drove him to the Holliday Alumni Center to begin his journey. So while it may have been years since I had my own son there, I do have some “adopted” cadets who I claim as my own.

Current parents of cadets help to answer questions from the 2020 parents at the June 18 meeting.

A great way to stem the tide of emotions is to meet with other parents, both current and new, to talk about preparations and get feedback from the experienced families. I still remember everyone I met at the send off dinner when my son was about to begin his journey. I’ve collaborated with the Citadel Foundation to come up with a list of events that are scheduled. A few clubs have already hosted their events and are not listed.

If you do not have a club or Citadel family near by, and even if you do, Join the Facebook group, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020 The group is for parents and legal guardians of the Class of 2020 only. Please go to the page and request to join then email me to let me know you are the parent of an incoming knob.

To contact a club in your area, see this list.  If you are the parent of a current cadet and want to host an event in your area, the Citadel Family Association has a page on their website with instructions. You can see that page here. Class of 2020 knobs and parents can also contact the CFA Area Rep for your region if you have questions.

The following are dates for Send off events I have heard of so far. For details, contact the club president. If you know of others, please let me know and I will add them to the list.


June 30 – Greater Columbia Club

July 14 – Summerville

July 16 – Tampa

July 21 – Charleston, Sumter

July 23 – Chicago, and Columbia SC Moms Brunch (email Barbara Hoke, brhoke6623 (at) gmail (dot) com)

July 27 – Charlotte

July 30 – Low country Mom Brunch, Dorchester/Berkeley/Charleston/Beaufort/Colleton counties (email Lori Littlejohn Cook, lorijean94 (at) yahoo (dot) com)

August 2 – Greenville and Aiken, Beaufort

August 4 – Atlanta and Horry County

August 6 – Washington, DC

Members of The Citadel, Class of 2020, from Georgia break out to meet with alumni and current cadets during the Georgia Citadel parents Orientation gathering June 18.

Visiting Charleston

Sunset behind the boat house

In a few weeks I’ll be in Charleston for a couple of nights to attend a Cadet Send off dinner and appear on a panel hosted by the Summerville Citadel Club. (see the fun panelist description for me below)

Each time I visit town I try to find a decent property with good clean rooms and a reasonable price. I spend VERY little time in whatever room I’m in since these are really working trips.

Once in a while I am fortunate to be invited to stay with friends, but most of the time I’m on my own. Several of my friends sing the praises of AirBnB so I decided to check in to the offerings in Charleston. I think during one of my next trips to town I’ll be checking one of these properties out.

When visiting Charleston to see your cadet, always call the hotel directly and ask if they offer special rates to Citadel families. I’ll be updating this entry about hotels soon, but check out some of the links listed.

The Summerville Citadel Club sent me a copy of the invitation to the event. The alumnus who sent it to me asked if I liked my title/description. What do you think?!

Speaker Panel:

CPT Geno F Paluso II, USN, Commandant of Cadets.

LTC Robert Pickering, SCM, Director of Multicultural Student Services and International Studies, Director of Citadel Success Institute, Ombudsperson.

Mrs. Dorie Griggs, Citadel Mom, Facebook Organizer, Blogger, Knower of Many Things Citadel Parent’s Should Know.

If you want to know if there is an event in your area check the Citadel Alumni website and check with the club in your area. I hope to have a list of scheduled events soon and will post it here when I have it. I do know the Atlanta Citadel Club is hosting a dinner August 4. They have a Facebook event posted and RSVP information should be available soon.

The Citadel: Being Supportive From the Outside

Parents and family members look through the sallyport gates as the cadre walk by on Matriculation Day, 2015.

I did not attend The Citadel, my son did. Over the years I’ve learned a good bit about the process, but I am still not an insider and never will be.

However, I have learned how to be a supportive parent of a cadet. A parent of a cadet should follow the strict definition of supportive, “Providing encouragement or emotional help.” That is important for new parents to keep in mind this first year, especially if over the past several years you are the type of parent who reminded your student of deadlines and due dates or if you did their scheduling.

At The Citadel the cadets learn to take ownership of their actions. Time management is a huge part of that process. The beginning of the year the first year cadets, or knobs as they are called, learn how to polish and shine brass and their shoes. They learn where everything goes and how to get ready for an inspection. THey learn the rules of the school and what is expected of them. This all takes place before the classes start. Once the classes start they have to juggle the military aspect of polishing and cleaning, with the academic rigors. Parents can be a huge support during that transition.

When a knob begins to feel overwhelmed they will often vent to family and friends not at the school because these trusted contacts are the only ones they feel safe with at the beginning. It can be hard to hear the complaints but it is now when they need your encouraging support. Remind them they are strong. As time goes on the knobs will slowly learn to trust and lean on their classmates. In fact their friends knob year will become like family to them for the rest of their life.

The knobs are put in situations where they must make snap decisions and judgements. It seems arbitrary to an outsider. I’ve gain insights into the reason the system works the way it does by reading books and talking to graduates and cadets.

One book I read, Through Their Eyes by George Steffner was very helpful. The following paragraph is from page 41 and it explains how the training that takes place in the mess hall works:

“The process was designed to create a pressure cooker environment in which young officers in training were pulled at from every direction, for every imaginable reason, to do things that were next to impossible. But the cadre were not there simply to make our lives miserable. Hot situations gave the upperclassmen excellent indicators of who was and was not suitable for command, both at the school and later in life, whether in a military capacity or otherwise. The idea was simple: to be so overcome with stress and responsibilities, so completely surrounded with impossible demands on their time that they would have to choose in triage fashion the most important tasks to complete while keeping a cool head in the process. It was a proven method, not without flaws but generally successful in creating leaders who could make important decisions under pressure. Someday these men might lead a platoon or company through knee-deep mud. Someday these men might find themselves taking fire and incoming mortar rounds from all sides with little hope of escape, What would be needed then wouldn’t be a leader who fell apart and  got is entire command wiped-out but rather one who could think clearly and rally his men to hunker down, counter attack and if possible survive to fight another day. The only way to weed out those who couldn’t take life’s pressures was to do so in an early crucible and this was part of that crucible.”

The memorization of the Knob Knowledge in the Guidon (the updated Guidon should be posted this summer) and other facts they must remember have a similar purpose. One day in their post college position they may be called on to remember details and information in a pressured situation. Developing the ability to memorize and to integrate that information into your memory is a crucial skill in high pressure situations.

One of the biggest differences I’ve observed between cadets and their non-military school counter parts is the ability to manage their time. With all the required activities, including mandatory class attendance and meal attendance, time becomes a precious commodity. Taking time away from cadets is a form of punishment whether it is walking tours or sitting confinements.

Confinements and Tours as defined in the Blue Book:

6.8.3 Confinements A confinement is a 50‑minute period during which confined cadets, in duty uniform with white waist belt, are required to remain in their assigned confinement classroom (or when approved by the ACD their own room which will be in MRI order) studying.

6.8.4 Tours A tour is a 50‑minute period of time during which a cadet marches on the quadrangle at 120 steps a minute with a rifle at right or left‑ shoulder arms.

It is a strict system with checks and balances in place to encourage good decision-making. That is not to say that cadets are above trying to stretch the rules a bit.


As I mentioned in an early blog post, Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel, the cadets, especially the ones interested in holding rank, must learn to use their time wisely. It is a job skill that other college students may not learn until they are in their first job.

For the families of incoming knobs this is all a bit overwhelming right now. In the months ahead you will learn to let go of the daily control over your son or daughter’s time and actions and adjust to supporting them in their activities. If they call and complain about their process, know that you are the only one they can complain to right now. They usually vent then move on leaving you to worry as they go on to the next task. You need to remember they are only getting small bits of information at a time and cannot see the big picture. Your role is to be supportive by helping see the big picture and keep their long terms goals in mind.

A few tips for how to be supportive when you hear from a knob:

  • Remind them they are stronger than they feel at that moment.
  • Tell them they will get through this one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time.
  • Encourage them to build relationships with their fellow knobs. They will learn they are not alone.
  • Remind them they are at college, grades are more important than shining shoes. Fit the shining in around their studies not the other way around. (their shoes will never be shiny enough)
  • Help them set small manageable goals. i.e. make it to Friday of each week, then to Parents Weekend, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.
  • Frequent care packages of their favorite protein bars and treats is always welcomed.

If you are the parent of an incoming knob, join the Facebook group for 2020 parents.  Extended family or friends are not permitted into the group.  This is a volunteer effort that is very time consuming with just the parents. If you are a 2020 parent, go to the group page and request to join then send me a Facebook message or email (address in the About section) to confirm you are a parent.

Knobs in the Class of 2019 line up after getting their hair cut the Monday after Matriculation Day. Part of the 4th Class system is becoming uniform with everyone in your class.
Knobs from the Class of 2019 study their Guidons after gettting their hair cut.

The Citadel: A visual of the first few days

Checking in at the Holliday Alumni Center, Matriculation Day 2015

I put together photos from last summer’s Matriculation Day, and Sunday and Monday of Challenge Week and included them in an iMovie. It’s a little long, almost 15 minutes. I suggest you read the explanation below then watch the video. Click here to view the video

While the photography isn’t the greatest, they are my snap shots not my husband’s professional images, I hope they will give new parent a little insight into the beginning of Challenge Week. You’ll see how the knobs are led around campus from meeting to meeting task to task. This is The Citadel’s version of freshman orientation.

Last summer (2015) I was in town and ended up dropping off a knob who flew in from LA on his own. The photos start with the line at the check in at the alumni center and proceed to pulling up at the battalion, unloading the car, and moving into the barracks. You’ll see the knobs checking in at the first sergeant table and picking up their new “knobbie” clothes.

The photos then move to the cadre, dressed in gray duty uniforms, lining up to “Welcome” the knobs, then on to knobs lining  up to “be introduced” to the cadre. After they meet the cadre marches them to lunch.

The next group of photos you’ll see knobs lined up on the parade field to be divided into various faith groups to go to Sunday morning worship or ethics seminar. As they wait to move you’ll see photos of knobs reading their Guidon, a book they must learn and memorize, at least parts of it. Parents can attend chapel Sunday, but they do not interact with the knobs. After chapel the knobs reconstitute with their cadre from their companies and they are marched off to meetings.

At the 8:48 mark the photos are from Monday morning when the knobs get their hair cut, get their mail box keys and laundry bags. They then go on to the Cadet Store to get uniform items and carry the very full bags to the barracks, studying the Guidon when they wait for their classmates.

By the 14:18 mark the photos are of the knobs in their gray duty uniforms marching to the parade field to take the cadet oath. The knob in the golf cart had an infected foot and was allowed to leave the infirmary for the ceremony. He healed and had a very successful knob year.

I’ve included photos of upperclass cadets. Many of whom I met their knob year and I know their parents.

Capt Paluso addresses the Class of 2019 at the Atlanta Citadel Club Cadet Send Off Dinner

The following videos are from The Citadel Experience YouTube channel :

2015 Matriculation Day

The Citadel Class of 2015 Oath Ceremony

Photos from Matriculation Day and Challenge Week 2015


The Citadel: The Stress of Getting Ready

Knob checks in with the Bravo Cadre then directed to the PT issue area.


In two months, less if you are an athlete reporting the end of July, the Class of 2020 will report for Matriculation Day at The Citadel. This time of year is stressful for the families of the incoming knobs.

The students are starting to get their “game face” on. If they are smart, the incoming knobs are breaking in their shoes and working on their physical training. I’m told by cadets and alumni those are two things a knob can do to help them self out the beginning of this challenging year. It will still be tough but if you can meet or exceed the PT standards at least the new cadet recruit won’t have to do remedial physical training on top of everything else.

While the incoming knobs, also called cadet recruits, have concrete things they can do to prepare the parents task is not as straight forward. Parents need to begin to prepare to, but their preparation is more mental than physical. Sending a child off to The Citadel is a scary task, especially if you do not have any military background. I know it was scary for me.

Parents need to remember that sending a child off to college should be a time of celebration and focus on the success of the recent high school graduate. Too many parents dwell on the change in a negative light, forgetting that there are some exciting time ahead. Yes, we all miss having our children at home, but sending them off into the world is a sign we have done our jobs as parents.

I’ve learned that for some parents they cope with their anxiety by obsessing over the Success Packet list of items to bring and the Citadel Family Association’s “Nice to Have List.” The problem with that plan is the parents tend to over think the list. There is not one perfect kind of sock, underwear, or the exact size plastic bin. You really can’t make a mistake. If something isn’t brought with them the knobs share with each other. They can also purchase items they need from the Cadet Store and the Bookstore

The big difference in sending a child to a military school like The Citadel is the abruptness of it all. The knobs turn in their phones the very first day they arrive and do not get them back and do not have computer access for a week to ten days. Some parent handle this better than others.

My suggestion is to keep yourself very busy that first week. Limit your time on the computer and social media. Let your friends and family know you’d like to get together for a visit, spend more time on your other children and your spouse. Most likely they’re feeling a bit strange about this new normal too.

It’s also a good idea to try and let go of some of the control over your son or daughter’s time now. In a couple of months you will have very, very little input as to how they spend their time or what they are doing day to day. Get used to that now.

The first few weeks that the knobs are on campus some photos will be posted to the school’s Facebook page , and the Citadel Photography page as well as the parent Facebook groups. You’ll begin to understand the game of “Where’s Waldo” in a whole other context. Once they get their hair cut and wear the same uniforms it is very hard to find YOUR Waldo. (Pro tip: If they are in the PT clothes look for their athletic shoes.)

Between now and Matriculation Day step away from Facebook and spend time face to face with your family.


Packing for Knob Year at The Citadel: Unofficial tips

NOTE: The Citadel staff is reviewing the required and Nice to Have Lists for the Class of 2021. This entry will be updated once the new lists are available.

3rd battalion knobs
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On Matriculation Day.

Each year in late May or early June the school posts their Matriculation Headquarters page. The incoming knob should read everything on this page, click every link and read everything on the linked pages. Knobs will soon learn that they, not their parents, are expected to know what is contained in these pages. Incoming knobs should check the page at least once a week for updates.

There are assignments due throughout the summer. The Office of the Commandant will update their Matriculation Information page soon too. (NOTE: As of this writing, 6/12/2016, the information is still from last academic year.)

The required list of items for knobs can be found on pages 6-7 of the Success Packet. Please note that cadets must be in uniform when in the area around the school. The knobs will learn the rules once they arrive. Knobs do not need any civilian clothes. You may bring comfortable clothes for them to wear in the hotel room when they are there. The first day they are given physical training clothes and their bathrobes along with a few other items.

The Citadel Family Association has a “Nice to Have List” posted to their website. Notes on those items are listed below the Success Packet list.

move in
Matriculation Day morning families pull up to the battalion and with the help of the Citadel Family Association volunteers unload the car.

I have copied the list for 2020 knobs below in Bold and added tips next to the official items. In general knobs are very hard on their clothes. A few tips you’ll hear from everyone is to get cheap sheets, but good socks. And break in the shoes before you arrive.


All cadets are required to furnish their own bed linen except for the bedspread and one blanket , which will be issued. Beds and mattresses are provided, but pillows are not.

One plastic mattress cover will be issued at cost to each cadet.

All cadets (male and female) must bring the following:

One [1] pair of conservative style pajamas (optional) – Personal preference. many cadets sleep in their PT shorts and shirt.

Twelve [12] white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts – Purchase snug fitting t-shirts. Many families send along double the amount of t-shirts. In the first few weeks when laundry is slow and they are exercising in the hot Charleston weather having extra means they will have a fresh change of clothes available.

Twelve [12] pairs of white cotton underwear – briefs, or boxer briefs (male) – White boxer briefs or briefs are available at Walmart, Target and other stores. 6 will be folded for their inspection drawer and never worn. Bring extra.

Twelve [12] pairs of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs This is very straight forward. Wicking fabric is best since they do a lot of physical training throughout the year.

One [1] pair of “long johns” They wear this under their itchy wool uniforms later in the fall. Some don’t wear them at all.

Twelve [12] pairs of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. [Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and in some cases secondary infections.] Gold Toe makes a good think black crew length sock. Families have had luck finding cheaper thick black work socks at Wal-Mart.

Twelve [12] pairs of plain white cotton athletic ankle socks (Socks must be void of visible logos or color, and must cover the protruding ankle bone. Low cut quarter socks are permitted.) While they say cotton you can find socks made out of wicking fabric that will help cut down on blisters. For the first time in years ankle length socks are required, not crew length. Good, thick socks, are a good idea. (NOTE: They will need socks to wear with their boots and ACU uniform. If you bought crew length socks the cadets can wear them with their boots or send along a few pair of boot socks.)

One [1] bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece) They don’t wear them often but it is good to bring a swim suit. Lands End, Kohl’s, Target and others carry them for men. Women’s suits can be found in the competitive swim suit stores/brands

One [1] pair of shower shoes (black) 

Six [6] white, cotton towels – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target

Six [6] washcloths – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target

One [1] standard sized pillow – Send along their favorite pillow

Four [4] white pillow cases – 

Four [4] white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed – Regular twin size flat sheets. Wal-Mart has them. Do not send expensive sheets. They make their beds for inspection and sleep on top of the made bed. Some sheets end up as banners.

Twelve [12] white handkerchiefs – Plain white washable handkerchiefs can be found at Wal-Mart and Target

Toilet articles – They do not need a shower caddy. They should bring their own soap, shampoo, shaving needs.

One [1] pair of good running shoes in a subdued color such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim) Bring shoes that fit the best in subdued colors. Some cadets bring two pair of running shoes and use them for all activities.

Three [3] pairs of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with physical training uniform – Compression/bike shorts without design or logos on the legs

One [1] pair of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must be sand colored with a plain toe. Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. Also, boots containing Marine Corps emblems are not authorized. The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but large sizes may not be readily available. In addition to the Bates boots, some find the Nike and others brand fit well. They must be sand colored.

One [1] clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized 32″L x 11″H x 18″W. Note: Do not search for a container meeting these precise specifications. Instead, look for something smaller than 32″ x 11″ x 18″. The underbed box must be 32″ or shorter to fit under the bunk. Two must fit so do get something smaller than the sizes listed. A solid subdued colored lid is fine. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Container Store Bed Bath and Beyond all carry containers.

One [1] overnight bag (or another clear plastic storage container) for additional items that will be kept on top of the full press is authorized. This bag or container 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. Most knobs bring the second clear bin. the 66 quart size usually meets the criteria. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Container Store Bed Bath and Beyond all carry containers.

Two [2] pairs of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that fail to meet these criteria. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized.

The school prefers that knobs wear the Bates plain toe black oxford made of polishable leather. Thorogood also makes a plain toe oxford. Some cadets like the Florsheim Lexington style plain tow black oxford. The Bostonian Kinnon style IS NOT approved because it has stitching on the heal. ***See the last few pages of the Success packet for expanded descriptions of the shoes and boots.***

Please ensure shoes and boots are “broken in” prior to arrival to avoid foot problems. Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday 0700 to 1700 and Thursday 0700 to 1630. Call (843) 953-5166 to check on item availability. Boots and shoes must meet specifications. See the Cadet Store letter for details.

Additional items for female cadets:

Five [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras

Five [5] white or beige sports bras

Labeling clothes: As a time saving measure, though not mandatory, it would be helpful to write your last name and first two initials in your clothing using a permanent marker. The location of the name should be inconspicuous when the garment is worn (e.g., bottom of each sock, rear waistband of underwear, and the front shirt tail of t-shirts). Household linens such as towels, sheets, and pillow cases should not be labeled. The Cadet Laundry will affix a permanent label to these items.

The following items may be brought with the new cadet or obtained later:

One [1] desk reading lamp

One [1] picture with frame – no larger than 8”x 10” Most knobs wait until after parents Weekend to bring a Frame

One [1] radio/stereo/CD player – Speakers must be no larger 12″x24″. It’s a good idea to wait until Parents Weekend to send speakers

One [1] oscillating fan – Box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized.

Computer and printer – See the Computer Recommendations page for more information. Some cadets prefer to print off  papers in the computer labs or the library. Ask your son or daughter what they would like to do.

Alarm clock – They will not have their phones the first week. an Alarm clock would be helpful.

The Citadel does not furnish bedding. Cadets shipping their belongings to the college must bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and pillow for use until they can access their belongings.

LUGGAGE Trunks and suitcases can not be stored in cadet rooms. Only one overnight bag for overnight travel may be kept in the room. All other luggage is stored at the central warehouse at the risk of the cadet. Luggage may be shipped to The Citadel in advance of your reporting date. It should be clearly marked with the cadet’s name and addressed to Central Supply, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC, 29409.

Class of 2019
Knobs line up to march to lunch after the battalion gates close. Note the PT shorts, shirts and caps, crew length socks and athletic shoes. They wear a clear plastic bag around their neck that will hold the Guidon and other items.

The Citadel Family Association “Nice to Have List.” NOTE: Your son or daughter does not need everything on this list. I’ve made a few notes after some items. Check with your son or daughter and ask them if they want to bring these items.


  • PERMANENT BLACK MARKERS (used to label things that will be required)


  • FEBREZE FABRIC DEODORANT –Used a Lot knob year.
  • IRON (Yes, we are serious!) – No need to get an expensive iron just one that will stand up in the barracks.
  • IRONING BOARD (TRAVEL SIZE) – While the cadets often prefer full size many companies do not allow knobs to have a full size ironing board.
  • TRAVEL SEWING KIT – Send along a spool of white and black thread. They will sew on buttons.
  • “”T”” PINS & ASSORTED SAFETY PINS – Used to secure the sheets on their bunks. T-pins can be found online or in the sewing notions section of craft stores, Target and Wal-Mart.


  • EXTRA UNDERWEAR, T-SHIRTS, WHITE & BLACK COTTON SOCKS – As noted on the Success Packet list
  • ADDRESS BOOK WITH ADDRESSES – Just make sure they have the important addresses for family and friends in their phone or computer.
  • TYLENOL, MOTRIN, TUMS, ETC., FOR MINOR MEDICAL NEEDS – I would add, send long their preferred over the counter cold nad alergy medicines.
  • BUG & GNAT SPRAY (skin so soft) – Very important


  • EXTRA CAN OF BRASSO (School will provide small can)
  • JEWELER’S CLOTH (Sonshine brand works well)
  • SANDPAPER 2000, 1800, 1500 GRIT (Can be found in automotive section of store)


  • POWER BARS, CRACKERS, SMALL SNACK ITEMS – Some suggest that families mail them a care package their first week and not bring food on Matriculation Day
  • FLASHLIGHT, SMALL WITH EXTRA BATTERIES – Many do not ever use the flashlight

Note: These items are not required, and most are available on campus at The Citadel. However, it is highly encouraged that these items be purchased prior to arrival. Freshmen/Knobs will be able to replenish these items when necessary as the semester progresses. Do not send an item unless it is found on this list or the official list received from The Citadel.

**One item not listed but that many cadets find helpful are shirts stays. They are elastic that attaches to the bottom of shirts and to the top of their socks to keep their shirts tucked and their socks up. There are several brands available.**

Parents of the Class of 2020, if you haven’t already, please join the Facebook group: The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020. You will meet fellow parents and get up to date information and links to find photos and other information. You can also join the Facebook group for The Citadel Familiy Association (CFA).

Find Facebook groups for parents by regions of the country too. See this entry for a list.

Reporting to the 1st Sergeant on Matriculation Day morning: