United States Military Academy: 19 Cool Facts

The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, is the educational zone that has developed some of the greatest leaders our nation has ever known.

Fully accredited, students at the United States Military Academy can choose from over 40 academic majors that cover a wide variety of areas. Upon graduation, students earn their bars becoming officers in the U.S. military, or in the case of foreign students, in their country’s military.

In today’s post, I am going to provide you with 19 cool facts about the United States Military Academy. I have used a variety of resources in discovering these facts. You can find those links at the end of this post.

These facts are in no particular order. So follow along and learn more about the United States Military Academy.

1: Location

General George Washington immediately recognized the importance of holding this area approximately 50 miles North of New York City. West Point lies on the Hudson River, and it is the oldest Army post in the U.S. that has been under continuous operation.

The U.S.M.A. takes just a small portion of the 16,000 acres the United States Army controls at West Point, New York.

2: Nomination

Unlike many other universities, students at the United States Military Academy must be nominated by only approved sources to gain admission. Approved sources are:

  • Members of Congress

  • Resident Commissioners of U.S. Territories

  • The President of the United States

  • The Vice-President of the United States

3: On Campus

All students at the United States Military Academy must live on campus for their complete educational experience.

the united states military academy

4: Civil War Leadership

Personally, I find this fact amazing; the U.S. Civil War had a total of 294 graduates from West Point serving as officers for the Union. The Confederacy had a total of 151 of its officers that were graduates of the U.S. Military Academy.

5: Cost of Tuition

Many parents wonder how they will pay their child’s tuition fees when they attend college. If your child has West Point in their sight, you can lose some of that stress. The tuition cost to attend the United States Military Academy is $0. Should I spell that?? Zero.

6: High Graduate Percentage

West Point has one of the highest percentages of students who successfully complete the school. It is estimated that 78% of those who are accepted do graduate from the United States Military Academy.

7: School Song

The United States Military Academy school song is On, Brave Old Army Team.

8: Cadet Honor Code

Upon acceptance into the United States Military Academy, cadets agree to abide by the Cadet Honor Code. It reads:

A Cadet Will Not Lie, Cheat, Steal, or Tolerate Those Who Do.

9: Civil War Battles

There were 60 major battles in the Civil War. In every one of these, there was at least one United States Military Academy graduate commanding one side or the other, or both.

10: Popular Majors

The United States Military Academy offers a wide range of majors cadets can choose from. The most popular majors are:

  1. Engineering

  2. Social Sciences

  3. Foreign Languages

  4. Computer and Information Sciences

11: Recognized Graduates

Here are some more amazing figures. There have been:

  • 74 Medal of Honor Recipients

  • 3 Heisman Trophy Winners

  • 18 Astronauts

  • 70 Rhodes Scholars

who were graduates of the United States Military Academy.

12: Sport’s Requirements

Cadets are required to compete in 1 sport every season at the intramural, club or intercollegiate level.

13: First Black Cadet

The first African American cadet was accepted into West Point in 1870. James Webster Smith was treated terribly and was dismissed not graduating. The first black graduate was Henry Flipper in 1877.

14: Established

The United States Military Academy was established in controversy in 1802. This was done by President Thomas Jefferson. Some thought it would be only an institution for the wealthy and powerful.

15: Accredited

The United States Military Academy became a fully accredited school in 1925.

16: 1st Superintendent

President Jefferson appointed the 1st Superintendent of the U.S.M.A. He chose Jonathan Williams.

17: Females

The first female cadets accepted into the United States Military Academy were in the nation’s bicentennial…1976.

18: Admission Requirements

There are some admission requirements that may seem strict, but are needed. They include:

  • Must be between 17 and 23 years old

  • Must be unmarried

  • Have no legal obligations for child support

  • Must pass a Candidate Fitness Assessment and physical exam

Candidates can have previous college experience, but no credits will be transferred.

19: Famous United States Military Academy Graduates

The list I am about to give you is just a partial one. Many of the graduates may not be known immediately by name, but they have used their education, talents and abilities to create change and defend this great nation.

Here are some famous U.S.M.A. graduates:

  • Jefferson Davis – Class of 1828 – President of the Confederate States of America.

  • Robert E. Lee – Class of 1829 – Was Superintendent from 1852-1855. General in Chief of the Confederate Army.

  • George Meade – Class of 1835 – Commander of the Army of the Potomac.

  • William Sherman – Class of 1840 – Served as Commanding General of the Army, and has a tank named after him.

  • Ulysses Grant – Class of 1843 – Our 18th President and a Civil War great.

  • “Stonewall” Jackson – Class of 1846 – A great Commander for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

  • George Custer – Class of 1861 – We know him for his death at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

  • John Pershing – Class of 1886 – He is known for many feats, especially defeating the Germans in World War I.

  • Douglas MacArthur – Class of 1903 – He was General of the Army.

  • George Patton Jr. – Class of 1909 – Everyone knows the feats of the great General Patton.

  • Dwight Eisenhower – Class of 1915 – Our 34th President.

  • Alexander Haig Jr. – Class of 1947 – Secretary of State under President Reagan.

  • “Buzz” Aldrin – Class of 1951 – The 2nd man to walk on the moon.

Again, these are just a few. There are many famous individuals who attended and graduated from the United States Military Academy.

Final Thoughts

I hope you learned a few things in today’s post. Please share any added facts, or your story of attendance at West Point.

You can post any comments, questions or suggestions below.

Thank you.


  1. United States Military Academy on Wikipedia
  2. usma facts
  3. https://colleges.niche.com/united-states-military-academy-at-west-point/the-best–and–worst/

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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