Know what it means to be a member of the famed “Continental Line”.

Steeped in tradition, student life at VFMC centers on the challenging rigors of life in the Corps of Cadets. The common experience of living closely together in a highly disciplined and challenging environment creates a unit esprit and camaraderie that remains with the student long after graduation from VFMC.

Corps of Cadets

A Cadet-Led System Administered Through the Military Structure

The Corps of Cadets is fundamentally a cadet-led system administered through the military structure. Under the supervision of the Commandant of Cadets and the Company TAC Officers, the cadets are responsible for the administration of the Corps and the implementation of the rules and regulations that govern the cadets’ daily lives. This delegation of authority directly descends from the Commandant and TAC Officers through the Chain of Command. Opportunities to learn and practice leadership are provided through leadership and staff appointments in the Chain of Command. Membership in the famed “Continental Line” is characterized by a commitment to excellence and a daily life that is precise, structured, and demanding. With these appointments into the Chain of Command, cadets gain confidence and are given an increasing amount of responsibility, fostering poise as leaders.

When students enter VFMC, they must accept the values and standards of “The Forge” as their own if they are to succeed. For the Corps of Cadets these values and standards are reflected in three basic declarations: the Mission Statement, the Cadet Resolution and the Honor Code. The majority of College students live in college companies, with the exception of those students who are members of the VFMAC Band. The companies live together, eat meals together in the Regimental Mess, and wear the unique uniform that identifies them as a Valley Forge Military College students.

The Cadet organization is the ideal vehicle by which each student can develop leadership and management skills. Cadet training teaches students to think clearly, to keep their minds alert and active, and to form habits of neatness and correctness. It prepares them for greater responsibilities by teaching respect and obedience to authority and by developing habits of self-discipline.

Cadet Life

The goal of the Cadet Life Program is to assist the cadet in developing the social and life skills that will help them throughout their lives. VFMC offers character, religious, social, and physical programs to assist the cadet’s development as a whole person. In addition to their regular academic schedules, cadets are offered numerous clubs, activities, and honor societies, providing further opportunities to develop and pursue personal interests. Learn more about the expectations VFMAC has for you as cadets below.

Commandant’s Department

Commanded by the Commandant of Cadets and organized to supervise the Corps of Cadets as an organization and each cadet as an individual.

See the Commandant’s Department Contacts By Barracks.

The Commandant of Cadets

The Commandant of Cadets is specifically charged with the reception, equipping, character and general well-being of the Corps and of its discipline, social training, housing, close order drill instruction, ceremonies, internal security and organization.

The Commandant’s Department is assisted by TAC Officers assigned to each company, whose responsibility is the actual operation, training, discipline and overall supervision of the cadets assigned to his organization.

At the heart of the Military Model is the TAC Officer. The TAC Officer is the common thread that can be traced through all the functions, goals and objectives that effect cadets at Valley Forge. TAC Officers are responsible for tying together the Five Cornerstones throughout a cadet’s experience setting the conditions to achieve the ultimate outcome:  an ethically-minded, citizen-leader of character. The Unit TAC Officer is akin to a Company Commander in a Military Unit and is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do; but above all, the TAC is there to Teach, Advise and Council/Coach.

Cadet Leadership

The Valley Forge Military Academy & College Corps of Cadets is considered to be a cadet run Corps, with adult oversight.

The cadet leaders are trained extensively before the arrival of new cadets and returning veteran cadets, to be responsible for the discipline, accountability, training, morale, appearance and general efficiency of the Corps. The conduct of plebe training and the fair treatment of all cadets are their responsibility.

New Cadet Orientation

New Student Orientation is a key component of the First Year Experience at Valley Forge Military College and is a collaborative effort designed to in-process, introduce, and welcome new students and their families to the Valley Forge community. The ultimate goal of NSO is to facilitate a successful transition to the first year of college, improving academic and tactical success and student retention.


  • Introduce and welcome students and their families into the intellectual, tactical, and institutional communities
  • Teach cadets to embrace the uniqueness of VFMC
  • Foster a better understanding of academic and tactical programs
  • Help students and families identify behaviors, resources, and support that lead to success at VFMC
  • Create an understanding of what student life has to offer college cadets: student leadership, clubs, band, sports, activities, etc.
  • Cultivate a sense of community between new and returning students, faculty, and staff

Plebe System

All entering cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy & College are called “Plebes” until they complete a period of training known as the Plebe System.

The Plebe System encompasses incoming cadet training until Recognition Day (Joining the ranks of the Corps of Cadets). The Plebe System is developmental, incremental, and progressive in nature and cadets will build on the skills learned during two phases in the fall and one phase at mid-year in order to successfully complete the training. It is a period of adjustment during which a new cadet learns to place the concept of duty and being a member of a cohesive team above personal desires. The Plebe System will test each cadet mentally, physically, and morally in a positive and encouraging environment.

Plebe System Goals

The goals of the Plebe System are to:

  • Prepare incoming cadets for success in the Five Cornerstones programs – Academic Excellence, Character Development, Personal Motivation, Physical Development, and Leadership – the Five Cornerstones.
  • Teach cadets to be loyal and effective followers as part of the leadership development experience.
  • Introduce cadets to the daily operations, rules and regulations of Valley Forge–tasks, conditions, standards.
  • Instruct and train each New Cadet in the standards and conduct expected of a member of the Valley Forge Corps of Cadets.
  • Introduce cadets to the customs and traditions of Valley Forge.
  • Instill confidence, teamwork, loyalty, honor, respect, responsibility, selflessness, and 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 through positive leading by example.
Plebes 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
Plebes Communication Commitment

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.

Valley Forge Military Academy and College