Plebe System

Plebe System

Middle School cadets in formation before being recognized as full members of the Corps of Cadets.

Middle School cadets in formation before being recognized as full members of the Corps of Cadets.


All entering cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy & College are called “Plebes” until they complete a period of training known as the Plebe System.  This initial phase encompasses incoming cadet reception, processing, training and the first six weeks of school until Recognition Day. It is a period of adjustment during which an entering cadet learns to place the concept of duty above personal desires.  The Plebe System will test your child mentally, physically and morally. It is demanding. But remember, it is a proven system. Thousands of Valley Forge cadets have succeeded.  Most importantly, know that Valley Forge wants your child to succeed.  Plebes who fail to meet all requirements will not be recognized and will remain under the Plebe System after Recognition Day.


The goals of the Plebe System are to:

  • Prepare incoming cadets for success in all programs – Academic Excellence, Character Development, Personal Motivation, Physical Development, and Leadership – the Five Cornerstones.
  • Introduce cadets to the daily operations, rules and regulations of Valley Forge–tasks, conditions, standards.
  • Introduce cadets to the traditions and customs of Valley Forge.
  • Instill teamwork, loyalty, responsibility, self-discipline in a standards based, values focused system.
  • Begin to set the foundation for a cadet’s development as a future ethically minded citizen-leader of character.
  • Inspire cadets to strive for excellence in all they do.
  • Provide a powerful and inspirational leadership experience for the Cadet Chain of Command and all upper-class cadets.

Cap Shield

One of a Plebe’s highest priorities during this busy period is to earn the Cap Shield. To qualify for the Cap Shield and to be eligible for recognition, Plebes must memorize several items verbatim and complete prescribed practical exercises.

The Cap Shield requirements Plebes must memorize are:

The Mission   The Cadet Prayer The Cadet Resolution
The Honor Pledge The Anti-Drug Pledge The Alma Mater

In addition to the memorization requirements, Plebes must successfully complete the following Cap Shield practical exercises:

  • Demonstrate the Position of Attention
  • Demonstrate the Hand Salute
  • Perform Military Drill
  • Identify Rank Insignia of the Army, Cadet Officers, and Noncommissioned Officers
  • Answer Questions about the History, Traditions and Distinguished Graduates of VFMA&C
  • Identify Key Buildings and Sites on Campus


During the six-week indoctrination period know as the Plebe System,  Plebes are not authorized leave.  They may not possess cell phones, nor use campus telephones. Plebes may use computers for academic purposes during Evening Study Hall, which is conducted Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 PM for all cadets. College cadets have additional designated quiet hour/study hall from 10:00 to 11:00 PM.  Plebes are allowed to use a computer for academic purposes outside Evening Study Hall, however, they must obtain permission from their TAC Officer to do so.  Computers will not be used for e-mail or instant messaging during the Plebe System. Plebes are encouraged to write letters home and may receive letters from family and friends.  Upon earning their Cap Shield, which can be accomplished prior to Recognition Day, Plebes are authorized to make one telephone call to their parents and may then begin using the Boodle Shop (cadet snack bar) during their free time.