Glossary of Terms

Over time Military Schools developed their own language.  Valley Forge is no different.

This language is both a reflection of traditions and short cuts to communication within the Corps, among cadets and members of the staff and faculty.  Listed below are some of the more common and the currently accepted definitions.

1st Class    12th grade.  A high school senior in the Academy.

1st Mess    First meal of the day or breakfast.

2nd Class   11th grade.   A high school junior in the Academy.

2nd Mess   Second meal of the day or noon meal or lunch.

3rd Class   10th grade.  A high school sophomore in the Academy.

3rd Mess   Third meal of the day or evening meal or dinner or supper.

4th Class   9th grade.  A high school freshman in the Academy.

5th Class   An 8th grade cadet in the Middle School.

6th Class   A 7th grade cadet in the Middle School.


The initials stand for Academy Board.  The Academy Board is the highest Disciplinary Board at Valley Forge consisting of the Headmaster of the Academy and College President and other senior officers appointed by the President.  The Academy Board reviews cases in which a cadet’s conduct is challenged to the extent that the desirability of remaining in the Corps of cadets is questionable.  These offenses may be punishable by dismissal.


The Academy is composed of cadets in the Academy (grades 9-12, PG) and Middle School (grades 7-8).

Academy Middle School

5th and  6th Classmen; 7th and 8th Grades.


4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st Classmen, and Post Graduates or 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grades, and Post Graduates.


The initials stand for the Academic Probation List.  Academy cadets are placed on the Academic Probation List for failing two or more subjects.  The intent is to remove the cadets from other activities so that the cadet can devote full time to studies.  This list may also include cadets who have not demonstrated effort, cooperation or proper work habits.


Is the military term for dormitory and is the location of a cadet’s room and the TAC Officer’s office.


Every military organization has a chain-of-command and it defines who works for whom.  The cadet Chain-of-Command starts with the Regimental Commander and proceeds through the Battalion Commander, the Company Commander, the Platoon Leader, the Platoon Sergeant, the Squad Leader, and the individual cadet.


The initials for the Commanding Officer.  Every Cadet Company Commander is referred to as the “CO.”

College Hill

The campus location of the College administration building and classroom buildings.


Is the Commandant of Cadets or the same as the Dean of Students at civilian schools.  He supervises the quality of life and discipline within the Corps and is assisted by TAC Officers.


The Corps of Cadets is organized into ten Companies (A Company, B Company, C Company, G Company, H Company, I Company, Band, D Troop, E Battery and Field Music.  Each company is commanded by a Cadet Company Commander and assisted by a Cadet First Sergeant.


The initials stand for the Conduct Probation List.  This is the highest form of behavioral probation at Valley Forge.  It includes those cadets who manifest a disregard for authority and are retained in the Corps only in a probationary status.  Violation of the terms of probation imposed by the Conduct Probation List may be basis for immediate dismissal.  Cadets on CPL lose leave privileges and are prohibited form participating in athletic and social functions.


The initials stand for Charge of Quarters.  The Charge of Quarters is charged with standing watch over the barracks and relays messages and assists in the maintenance of order and security.  Duty is rotated among cadets.


The term “crack-it-in” refers to the bringing the heel of the foot down hard when assuming the position of attention or when executing other marching maneuvers.


Is a cadet exhortation to remind and direct the cadets to plant their heels firmly when marching and not to bounce as they march.


A drill is defined as one hour of supervised marching, special physical training or work.  Cadets may be assigned drill for committing a serious violation of Academy regulations or may earn them by accumulating an excessive number of Restricted Privileges or Company Restrictions.


Means “extra instruction” for academic subjects.

Excuse Squad

Cadets who are excused from performing certain physical tasks such as marching due to injury or illness are placed on the excuse squad under the supervision of the Cadet Health Center staff.

Form 5

See Sticks.

Guard Duty

Guard duty is an obligation of every cadet and is one of the most important military duties assigned to a cadet.  The Daily Guard consists of the Regimental Duty Officer, Battalion Duty Officers and Bugler.


The Cadet Regulation Book.

High Speed or Strack

This is a term used to describe a very sharp cadet or used to describe an action accomplished to a high standard.  For example, he is a strack cadet or the shine on his shoes is “high speed.”


Military term for bathroom and shower room.

Main Area

The asphalt area in front of Wheeler Hall and Lee Hall.  It is the place where the noon meal formation is held, where tours are marched, and where most critical corps-wide formations are executed.

Mess Hall

The name given to the dining hall.  Also referred to the Regimental Mess.

New Cadet

A cadet is considered a “New Cadet” from Recognition Day through the remainder of the semester for College students and the remainder of the school year for Academy cadets.


The initials stand for Officer of the Day.  The Officer of the Day is part of the daily cadet guard detail and is charged with the instruction, inspection and proper performance of every member of the guard.

Old Cadet

An Old Cadet is a College cadet in his/her second semester of attendance at Valley Forge or an Academy cadet in his second or subsequent years of attendance.

Old Cadet’s Walk

The paved walkway leading from the Baker Memorial Library to the Main Area.  Only Old Cadets are permitted to use this walkway; Plebes and New Cadets are not.


When “one-bell” is sounded in the Mess Hall, cadets come to the position of attention.  Cadets standing will stop where they are and remain at attention; cadets seated at tables will stop eating and sit at attention.


Postgraduate – A cadet that is a 5th year senior in the Academy and attends classes at the Academy and the College.

Pips:  Is the nickname for the Cadet Officer Ranks and comes from the British tradition or because the rank when worn on the collar looks like a “pip.”


The term “Plebe” designates a “New Cadet” at a military academy.  A cadet’s Plebe period is a time of learning and preparation for the day as an Old Cadet assumes a leadership position in the Corps of Cadets.  The Plebe system begins shortly after arrival and continues until Recognition Day.  The Plebe system encompasses New Cadet reception, processing and training and lasts about six weeks.


A group of three or four squads commanded by a Platoon Leader and assisted by a Platoon Sergeant.

Press Shop

The place where cadets take their uniforms to be tailored, dry-cleaned and pressed.


Is the shortened name for Provost Marshal/military police.  Cadet Provost assist in control of movement and police of cadet appearance standards when not otherwise under control of the Cadet Chain-of-Command.


The initials stand for physical training.  Physical training consists of calisthenics, conditioning exercises, running, and weight training.


The initials stand for Regimental Disciplinary Board.  The Regimental Disciplinary Board is composed of faculty officers appointed by the President and cadet officers appointed by the Commandant of Cadets to hear offenses of a less serious nature than by the Academy Board.  The Regimental Disciplinary Board assesses tours, demerits, loss of rank or placement on probation.


The initials stand for Regimental Duty Officer.  The RDO is a Cadet Captain appointed to assist the Commandant, Regimental Commander and Officer-in-Charge (Campus Security Officer) and is the senior cadet on duty during leave periods.  The Regimental Duty Officer has direct responsibility for conducting daily guard mount, the efficient conduct of all Corps tour formations and optional meals in the mess hall.


Recognition of a Plebe officially marks the end of the Plebe System.  A cadet is then considered to be a member of the Corps of Cadets.  Before a Plebe may be recognized as a member of the Corps of Cadets and be entitled to wear the school Cap Shield, the Plebe must memorize and demonstrate a series of requirements.

Restricted Privileges (RPs)

Given for major infractions.  Punishment is assigned by a Disciplinary Board or by the TAC Officer.  Cadets are restricted to campus for the weekend and assigned military duties designed to correct behavior. The Regimental Commander and his staff supervise cadets who have had their privileges restricted.


Cadets who are placed on restriction must remain on campus during the period of their restriction and will be required to answer periodic roll calls to account for their whereabouts.

Sergeant Major

The Senior Noncommissioned in the Corps of Cadets and in each battalion.

Sick Call

The Health Center treats cadets with routine illness or minor injuries at sick call.


A squad is a collection of 8 to 10 cadets lead by a Squad Leader.  A squad is the smallest sized unit within the Corps of Cadets.  Three or four squads combine to form a platoon.


Valley Forge rewards academic achievement in a variety of ways.  The most visible and traditional awards are academic stars.  Gold stars, silver stars and red stars are awarded based on achieving specific academic averages.  All star students earn special privileges as outlined in The Guidon.


An informal command given to cadets who are not standing at the proper position of attention while in formation.  It requires a cadet to stop extraneous movement and stay in proper position.


Slang for Delinquency Report., commonly called “sticks” or “Form 5.”  Sticks will be entered against cadets for breach of discipline or a violation of rules and regulations.  Only staff or faculty officers and cadet officers may place a cadet on report.  All delinquency reports are forwarded to the cadet’s TAC Officer for adjudication. The TAC Officer may reprimand, assign demerits or refer the cadet to a formal Disciplinary Board.


TAC (Teach/Advise/Counsel) Officer.   The adult on the staff responsible for the overall supervision of a cadet’s daily activity.  The TAC Officer is the primary point of contact for parents regarding a cadet’s overall performance.  There is usually a Day TAC Officer (primary) and Night TAC Officer (assistant) per unit or barracks.

The Break

Is the time period from the end of study hall until taps (9:30 PM  to 10:00 PM) when cadets may take a break from studying and attend to personal matters before taps/lights out.


Cadets are permitted to depart the Mess Hall when two-bells are sounded.

Upper Fields

The athletic fields around the Athletic Fieldhouse where both varsity and intramural sports teams conduct their practices and play their contests.

Valley Forge Military Academy and College