Corps Day and Recognition Day Tips

***2/10/2019 Please note: I am no longer updating the blog posts for Citadel parents. See the official school website for the most up to date information***

UPDATED 03/16/2017

The Citadel is combining two big events for cadets the weekend of March 17 – 19, Corps Day and Recognition Day. The school website mentions three events which includes the Leadership Symposium. Since most families who come to town do so to see the Summerall Guards ceremony on Saturday morning, and this year for Recognition Day, I’ll focus on those two events.

The schedules are available online for the weekend. For a more detailed schedule for activities parents will want to attend, go to the parents page of the school website and read through the Corps and Recognition Day 2017 page.

Rifle exchange
the 2015 Bond Volunteers prepare to take their rifles and become the 2015 Summerall Guards.

Tips for parents of Bond Volunteers and Summerall Guards:

The crowd begins to form on the parade field about 30 minutes before the scheduled ceremony. The schedule lists the time as 8:45 – 9:45am. So arriving  by 8:15am to find your preferred spot along the roped off area is a good idea.

Be sure to ask your cadet where they will be as they march onto the field to know if you should be on the side closest to the barracks or the other side closer to Chapel side of the field. For instance my son was the 5th squad back on the end closest to the barracks side of the field. We stood at the roped off area closest to the 2nd battalion across the walk way from where General and Mrs. Rosa sit for parades. (Of course cadets and grads will refer to theses areas and line up for the Summerall Guards by their proper terms. Since I’m a mom and not a grad I’ve developed my own way to describe the areas to help other parents know where to stand.)

Another must is insect repellant for the morning. The entire ceremony only lasts about 20 minutes or so but after it is over you’ll want to snap photos with your cadet. It is a bit of a scramble after it ends. Ask your cadet the best way to find them after the ceremony ends. Many of them will be talking with the Summerall Guard whose rifle they now carry and receiving their Summerall Guard patch.

Most years they’ve had a luncheon for the Summerall Guards after the parade. It is at the luncheon where we purchased out Summerall Guards parent t-shirt. It is a fundraiser for them to help with expenses. Check with your cadet for the plans for this year.

Members of the Class of 2019 begin their march to Marion Square on Recognition Day for the Class of 2019.

Tips for parents of the Class of 2020:

The schedule this year is completely different from previous years since Recognition Day has been moved from April to the same weekend as Corps Day. Stories from parents of upperclass cadets of what they did on Recognition Day won’t really apply to your experience this year.

This weekend is not like Parents Weekend where the emphasis is on spending time together. The Recognition Day part of the weekend is really about the Class of 2020 and their time together, parents while welcome to watch are not the focus. If you are planning to be in town, remember you may not see your cadet Friday afternoon and evening. They have meetings and will need to get their rooms in inspection order for the open barracks Saturday morning. If they do have time off to see you for dinner consider it a bonus visit.

Saturday will be jam-packed with activities. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for the day. Look over the schedule to see just how busy you’ll be and make your plans for lunch based on your family.

The barracks open at 8:00am. Check with your son or daughter to see if they want any food brought to them. They will have a VERY strenuous workout after the parade so they may not want anything too heavy.

The Rifle Legion and the Summerall Guards will perform on the parade field that morning. Check with your cadet to see if they will be attending both or either of those events. My son’s senior mentor was a Summerall Guard so he wanted to see that ceremony.

After the Summerall Guards exchange rifles the Corps of Cadets must prepare for the 10:00 parade. This would be a good time to have a light snack. The Canteen will be open but to avoid lines you may want to pack your own snacks or lunch. You’ll also have time after the parade and before the Gauntlet begins to grab something to eat or sit in the reception room in Mark Clark Hall between events.

Members of the Class of 2019 participate in the gauntlet as upperclass cadets guide the activities.

The Gauntlet begins at 11:30. It is a series of physical challenges the 4th Class cadets go through together by company. They will be either on the parade field or the WLI field. Some years the school posts a map. I haven’t seen it posted yet. To get an idea of how Recognition Day was handled in the past I’ve found the PowerPoint from 2015 on the website.

The past several years after the gauntlet is over and the 4th class cadets are in the barracks and hear the announcement “The 4th Class System is no longer in effect.” The newly recognized cadets would come out to give a hug to their family members. The timing is very tight this year and the cadets may not have time to come out. The training schedule has the cookout in the barracks beginning at 1320 and the hygiene time to get ready for the retaking of the oath on the parade ground at 3:00. The March is on the schedule for 1500.

If you haven’t ordered a meal through the school (the ordering time frame has past), pack a lunch or eat in the Canteen the school.

General Rosa and Provost Dr. Connie Book visit with class of 2019 family members at a lunch held last year after the gauntlet. This year boxed lunches will be available to purchase.

Cadets who saved an overnight and followed the protocol can take one Saturday night. Most of the cadets are too exhausted to want to do much Saturday night. If you want to go out for a nice meal Sunday is the better day to do that.

I’ll be helping my youngest daughter at her high school musical that weekend so I’ll have to miss the excitement. I look forward to seeing everyone’s photos. Next year I’ll have my own college freshman, just not a knob at The Citadel.

L-R Provost, Dr. Connie Book, Dorie Griggs, Mrs. Donna Rosa, General John Rosa

Congratulations to the 2013 Summerall Guards!

2011 Summerall Guard photo by Stanley LearyMy Facebook feed is lighting up with congratulatory notes for the new members of the 2013 Summerall Guards. Cuts Day was yesterday when the 2013 BVA’s were put through their paces. The school usually posts the full list right before Corps Day.

Be sure to make your hotel reservations now for the weekend of March 16-18. The rifle exchange usually happens Saturday morning. Last year the outgoing 2011 Summerall Guards did not do the whole Citadel series before passing their rifles to the 2012 BVA’s, now the 2012 Summerall Guards.

2011 Summerall Guards prepare to pass their rifles. photo by Stanley Leary

Prior to March 17 be sure to ask your son whether he will be closer to the stands or the chapel side of the field as they march out. That way you will know what side of the field to stand on to take photos. Be sure to meet as many other Summerall Parents as you can so you can share photos and video. Fortunately many of the families post their videos to YouTube.

2012 Bond Volunteer Aspirants march onto the parade field. photo by Stanley Leary.

They host a BBQ lunch that afternoon. You can purchase your Summerall Guards Parent t-shirt at the luncheon. It is a fundraiser for the Summerall Guards to help pay their expenses.

Their first big performance is the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC.

Congratulations to the 2013 Summerall Guards!

The 2012 BVA's prepare to receive their rifles and become the 2012 Summerall Guards. photo by Stanley Leary

BVA's and Summerall Guards: Cuts Day, Mardi Gras and Corps Day

The 2011 Summerall Guards run with the 2012 BVA's the Friday night of Corps Day Weekend. photo by Stanley Leary

Well, February is here. At The Citadel that means the Bond Volunteer Aspirants (BVA’s) are moving close to Cuts Day. I checked the training schedules the other day to find that Cuts Day for the 2013 BVA’s is Feb. 6. *NOTE: since this posting a parent has told me Cuts Day is delayed until Feb. 14. if you have other information, please post it to the comments section below.

While the BVA’s look forward to Cuts Day as the end of their training period, the current Summerall Guards are moving closer to their trip to New Orleans, LA and Mardi Gras. The time has flown by since my son was a junior and BVA. We waited anxiously to hear if he had made the Summerall Guards. I combed the internet for photos of their first big appearance after Corps Day at the Azalea Festival.

I’ve written about our journey before but this time of year the memories come flooding back. I’ll include a few tips here for parents of both the BVA’s and Summerall Guards.

Be sure to ask or email your BVA and have a plan for how they will inform you if they have made it. I logged onto Facebook the night we thought my son would find out and began to see congratulatory messages being sent to some cadets. My son went tot he gym to work out that night and we received a call from him on his way back to the barracks. Once they find out they have made it, practice for their first appearance on Corps Day begins.

The 2011 Summerall Guards wait for the 2013 BVA's to march onto the field to take their rifles. photo by Stanley Leary.

The Mardi Gras schedule is usually known sometime in January. This year the Summerall Guards posted the schedule to their Facebook group page.  I’ll include the schedule here in case you aren’t on Facebook.

2012 Summerall Guards Mardi Gras parade Schedule:
17 Feb 1830 hrs Le Krewe d”Etat
18 Feb UNK time Krewe of Endymion
19 Feb 1200 hrs Krewe of Thoth
21 Feb 1000 hrs King Rex Parade

The Times Picayune posts news, photos, videos and more on their website. I watched one parade via their web cam last year.

Corps Day Weekend 2012 is March 16 – 18. On Saturday the current Summerall Guards will march onto the parade field first. The schedule is posted to the main website about a month ahead of time. Last year the 2011 Summerall Guards did not do the entire series. They marched out did an abbreviated series then prepared to greet the BVA’s. The BVA’s march onto the field and in a very moving ceremony they take their rifles from the preceding class of Guards.

One tip: find out from your cadet if when they march out they are on the side closest to the barracks or closer to the Summerall Chapel. This will help you know where to stand to watch. My son was in the barracks side 5 rows back on the end. We stood in front of the reviewing stands right on the rope. As with the parades it is really hard to tell the cadets apart. Knowing their position will help you get great photos. While the new class goes through their performance of the series the out going Guards kneel to one side and watch. When it is over the new guards receive their patch from one of the out going Guards. They usually have a fundraising BBQ lunch. At the lunch you’ll have the opportunity to purchase the Summerall Guards Parent and Supporter t-shirts. The 2012 Summerall Guards set up a web site to sell the t-shirts and receive donations. I’m not sure that will be continued with the next class.

The 2012 BVA's march onto the parade field to receive their rifles. photo by Stanley Leary

The first big performance of the new Summerall Guards is the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC. I found photos through the official website and the local newspaper. The festival now has their own Facebook page too. The Summerall Guards act as escorts for the young ladies (high school aged) who are called Belles and serve as guides for the tour and festival. I don’t know many families that attend this festival. If you live close by and can post photos for the other families I’m sure everyone will appreciate it.

A quick search on YouTube will turn up scores of videos posted of the Summerall Guards over the years. I’ve noticed the number of videos increase each year. Be sure to introduce yourself tot he other families of the current guards. You can share photos and videos with each other. A great way to commemorate your cadet becoming a Summerall Guard is to purchase a nutcracker made by Carolina Cadets. She usually sells ornaments at a table during Parents Weekend and other major weekends. I ordered mine online.

Best wishes to all the 2013 Bond Volunteer Aspirants and their families!

A special thanks to my husband, photographer, Stanley Leary, for the photos. You can see all his photos of Corps Day 2011 here. To see what the ceremony looked like March of 2010 see this clip. THe passing of the rifles is at about the 6:50 mark. A video of the March 2011 is here.

2011 Summerall Guards photo by Stanley Leary

The 2012 Summerall Guards perform the CItadel series for the first time. photo by Stanley Leary

The 2011 Summerall Guard watch as the 2012 Summerall Guard perform the Citadel series for the first time.
Family and friends greet the 2011 and 2012 Summerall Guards after the ceremony. photo by Stanley Leary

Information for Parents about the BVA's and Summerall Guards

The 2011 Summerall Guards take a run with the 2012 Bond Volunteers the night before they pass their by Stanley Leary

I was looking over the site stats for the blog Off the Base.  It is fun to notice the articles that are found because people are using Google to find out information.  The beginning of the school year the entries about knobs and Matriculation Day are the most frequently searched.  Second to that is BVA’s and Summerall Guards.

Junior year is when cadets who want to be Summerall Guards volunteer to go through intense training.  They are called Bond Volunteer Aspirants. In many ways it is like knob year, only this time it is worse.  The juniors represent some of the top leadership in the Corps of Cadets. They have a heavy load of classes and duties that their advance rank brings with it.. They volunteer to go through intense physical and mental challenges. The “fun” begins first semester, but the really intense period occurs after the break at Christmas.

I mentioned in an earlier entry how anxiety producing this junior year is for parents. It is widely known on campus that the BVA training is tough. Very little information is available to parents who are anxious.

The best advice I can give parents of the BVA’s, let your cadet contact you. Do not expect to hear from them as often as you did the years before. Send them encouraging emails, and care packages. Try to understand they need all their focus to squeeze in tine time study train and get their jobs as officers completed. The waiting is the hardest part.  Remember, just support your cadet.  They will let you know if/when they need help getting the various required items like the high top Chuck Taylor shoes and fatigue pants.

The 2012 Summerall Guards take the field on Corps Day, March 2011. photo by Stanley Leary

You can find background information online.  I’ll include a few tips and web links to help.

The Summerall Guard Parent and Sponsor t-shirts are sold by the Summerall Guards as a fund-raiser.  Be sure to buy yours from the new Summerall Guards on Corps Day.  They are usually sold at the BBQ lunch that is held as a fund-raiser.

A good explanation of the Bond Volunteer Aspirant training can be found here:

Three different web sites for the Summerall Guards:

Merchandise can be purchased here. Log in required

The School web site link:

Videos of the BVA training:

Take Your Rifles, by Chris Florio  (one of my favorites)

The Citadel Summerall Guards 2010

Summerall Guard Commercial

2012  Summerall Guards

Nelson Lalli, a member of the 2011 Summerall Guards presents Brett Collin of the 2012 Summerall Guards with his official patch. photo by Stanley Leary

2011 Summerall Guards, photos and video by Stanley Leary

Unedited version of 2011 Summerall Guards from Corps Day 2010, photos and video by Stanley Leary

2011 Summerall Guard photos by Stanley Leary

Corps Day 2011, photos by Stanley Leary