Cadet Life

Commandants Department

The Corps is marching into Wayne for the Veterans Day Memorial.

#couragehonorconquer #veteransday

On Saturday, most of our Plebes were recognized as Cadets in the 94th Corps of Cadets. These two months of hard work have paid off!

Families (especially little siblings) were happy to be reunited with their Cadets.


We celebrated the groundbreaking of a new athletic complex this week.

The complex includes a new synthetic turf field and accompanying track and field resources.

“This is only the first step of our strategic plan and vision,” Colonel Helgeson said. “We are grateful for the partnership with Eastern University and are thrilled that we will be able to offer first-class facilities to our cadet-athletes.

“Once this project is completed, we will immediately look to begin phase two of our sports complex upgrades, which will provide VFMAC and the surrounding community with much-needed sports and recreational fields and facilities.”

#couragehonorconquer #waynepa


Mr Zane Hadzick, a Senior Emergency Management Specialist is speaking this morning to Mr Smallwood's Leadership Class.

He spoke about real world leadership experiences and how to lead yourself to better lead others.


Thanks @vfmcollege

Mason Beausoleil '21C is attending the University of Mississippi after graduating from VFMC last year. At a recent record setting game he was a part of the excitement as a Cannon Crew member for Army ROTC. Mason is continuing his Criminal Justice studies at UM.

Hotty Toddy and Go Rebs!


The Chinese Club and part of their VFMAC Family.


@vfmacademy @vfmac_regimental_band

It is a beautiful day for the Radnor Fall Fest. The talent of our Regimental Band is making it even better.


It's Friday afternoon and the Corps of Cadets is on the Parade Field. They are practicing for our upcoming Founders Day Parade. ...


VFMA was honored to participate in this weekends Delaware County Veterans Memorial Flag Raising Ceremony.

Photo Credit: Captain Chris Onesti


Our Regimental Commander, Cadet First Captain Coley Bagwell was presented with General Gustave Perna's sabre.

General Perna, a VFMC Alumnus, is the highest ranking officer ever commissioned by the Early Commissioning Program at any school.


TAC Officers (Teach Advise Counsel) 

The Tactical Department is commanded by the Commandant of Cadets and organized to supervise the Corps of Cadets as an organization and each cadet as an individual. The Commandant of Cadets is specifically charged with the reception, equipping, character and general well­being of the Corps and of its discipline, social training, housing, close order drill instruction, ceremonies, internal security and organization. The Commandant of Cadets is assisted by a Deputy Commandant of Cadets for Logistics and by Tactical Officers (TACs), one assigned to each company, whose responsibility is the actual operation, training, discipline and overall supervision of the cadets assigned to his organization. Each Tactical Officer has their office in the quarters occupied by their organization and is available to cadets at all times. Each cadet should discuss their problems with the Tactical Officer first. Most of them can be solved in the TAC’s office. The remainder, which of necessity may require action by other Departments, should also be discussed first with the Tactical Officer because they equipped to give you every deserved help and advice.

Health Center

 The VFMAC Health Center is a 12-bed infirmary located in Rose Hall on the Valley Forge Campus. There is a 26-bed isolation unit located on the second floor of Rose Hall.  Our medical team consists of our medical director/school physician who will see cadets daily by appointment, 2 full time R.N.s, 2 pool R.N.s, 1 medical assistant and driver. The Health Center is open from 6 am to 10 pm, daily.  However, should overnight care be needed, staff is available for overnight support. Medical care is provided 7 days a week to all Cadets. The Health Center works collaboratively with all departments on campus and within the community to provide personalized care to each Cadet.

We encourage all Cadets to remain in class and provide an “open sick call” after class for anyone who wishes to be seen. Nurses will provide the parent/guardian with updates should there be an admission in to the Health Center, hospital transport, or any issue of concern. 

All Academy Cadet medication is stored in the Health Center and dispensed by the nurses throughout the day at assigned times. The Health Center staff provide mandated school screenings, vaccinations, blood work (our lab is State Certified), wellness, urgent care and ongoing case management. The Health Center staff will assist with insurance coverage, appointment scheduling and transporting to local appointments.  Parents may assist with transportation; however, we ask that arrangements are made in advance with the Health Center.

Our goal is to provide exceptional care so that each cadet may participate to their maximum potential in the “Cadet Experience”.  It is also our goal to work collaboratively with parents to develop a trusting relationship while providing “peace of mind”.   

Activities Department

Education is more than just going to classes and studying from textbooks. We should derive something of value from each experience in life. You will find many co-curricular activities at Valley Forge. From them you are free to select those that most interest you or those which you feel will help you develop your abilities along many lines. Cadet activities are based off the current needs of our Corps of Cadets but offerings include: Rifle Club, Drill Team, Power Lifting, E Sports and competitive intramurals. The Director of Cadet Activities will also organize both on and off campus events. Examples of these are river tubing, fright fest events, paintball, baseball games and amusement parks. Cadet Activities will also have a facility schedule showing open times for use of the campus weight rooms, basketball gym, swimming pool and mall shuttle.


Lintons Food Service Management: Click this link to view the Menu & Nutrition Information for our on-campus food service provider, Lintons Food Service Management.

Hazing Policy


[P.S.] § 5353. Hazing prohibited. Any person who causes or participates in hazing commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

[P.S.] § 5354. Enforcement by institution. (A) ANTIHAZING POLICY—Each institution shall adopt a written anti-hazing policy and, pursuant to that policy, shall adopt rules prohibiting students or other persons associated with any  organization operating under the sanction of or recognized as an organization by the institution from engaging in any activity which can be described as hazing.

  1. Hazing
    1. Hazing is not tolerated under any circumstances. Abuses in the name of “school tradition” are not tolerated at Valley Forge. Violation of this rule can result in dismissal.
    2. Hazing is any unauthorized assumption of authority by a cadet that causes another cadet to suffer any cruelty, indignity,  humiliation, oppression, or the devastation or abridgment of any right.
    3. Hazing is not limited to physical contact or activity. Hazing may occur in the form of forcing unauthorized and excessive physical activity, verbal abuse, or mental harassment.
  2. Bullying: “A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.” This definition includes three important components:
    1. Bullying is unwanted aggressive behavior that is intentional.
    2. It involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength.
    3. The behavior is often repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time.
    4. The following are examples of Hazing and / or Bullying:
      1. Physical: Some examples of this are punching, pulling, twisting, or restraining a cadet; hitting a cadet with an object; slapping; rapping a cadet on the head with a ring; forcing a cadet to drink a mixture not suitable for drinking; forcing a cadet to eat food not suitable for eating; pushing rank pins into chest or shoulders; and any other actions that cause humiliation, discomfort or possible injury.
      2. Verbal: No cadet has the authority to address another cadet in a degrading or demeaning manner. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of profanity or vulgar language; written or verbal comments about a cadet’s family members, religion, race, or ethnic heritage, threats, and derogatory comments directed at another cadet.
      3. Mental: This includes, but is not limited to: threatening a cadet with physical harm, threatening a cadet through the Honor System, or placing a cadet in embarrassing or humiliating situations that violate personal dignity and show lack of respect for the individual.
  3. Violation of the Hazing and Bullying Policy may also concurrently be a violation of the nondiscrimination or harassment policies. Cadets should always conduct themselves in a professional manner and demonstrate positive leadership traits and consideration for others. Any cadet who observes or suspects any type of hazing or abuse will take immediate action to stop the hazing or abuse and report the abuse to his or her TAC Officer.
  4. May Result in Legal Action.
Tracy Hartley – Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol), USMC

2LT Stauffenberg is a Northeast Philly native, as well as a 2016 graduate of the Valley Forge Military College. He has been part of the Valley Forge team in many different capacities for several years, assisting Cadet Activities as a summer camp counselor, and paintball instructor. Most recently, he had been serving as a Campus Security Officer (CSO) and now he is now a part of the TAC team. He has worked continuously as a community Volunteer for approximately nine years and has also worked with youth in a multitude of programs for just as long.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3) Manuel Jimenez – Lead TAC

CWO3 Jimenez was raised in Long Island New York and graduated high school in San Antonio, Texas. Upon graduating high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) before being selected and appointed as a Warrant Officer in 2010. CWO3 Jimenez completed several overseas wartime deployments on land and at sea including Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Japan, the Mediterranean and more. While on active duty, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Ashford University and his Master’s degree in Leadership Studies from Marshall University. CWO3 Jimenez retired from active duty in 2018 and moved back to Long Island with his wife and two children. He joined us here at Valley Forge as a TAC Officer in January of 2021.

Vince DeMarro – Bandmaster

Mr DeMarro served a tour in the US Marines as a Field Musician and the Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge of the band unit supply at both the 2nd Marine Division Band and Fleet Marine Forces – Pacific (FMFPAC) Band. Mr DeMarro holds a Master’s in Music Education from West Chester University, a BS in Music Ed with a Minor in Music History. Mr DeMarro has been teaching music for 30 years and has been on staff at VF for four years.

Paul Dougherty – Colonel (COL), U.S. Army (Ret.)

Paul Dougherty enlisted in the Army in 1979. He then attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1984. He served in West Germany at the end of the Cold War and then transferred to the Army Reserve. After graduating from Villanova University with an M.B.A., he worked as an accountant with a number of health care organizations. Paul joined the Devereux Foundation and worked with special needs students during a 23-year career as a program supervisor and operations manager as well as becoming a teacher with PA certifications in Special Education and Social Studies. He earned an M.A. in Education from Immaculata University. As an Army Reserve Officer he deployed twice to Bosnia and served three tours in Iraq as well as earning a Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College in Carlisle PA. Paul retired as an educator with the Chester County Intermediate Unit in Coatesville PA prior to becoming a TAC Officer at the VFMAC.

Richard Baker – Colonel (COL), VFMAC

Colonel Richard J. Baker, VFMAC, served on active USMC duty in Kentucky recruiting, disbursing and financial management in Quantico, VA, and in Okinawa, Japan. In the Marine reserves, he was the Training, Executive, and Commanding officer for a Fort Wayne, IN communications unit, an Evansville, IN infantry unit, and when recalled to active duty for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he was the Headquarters and Service (H&S) Company Commander for the mobilization unit at Camp Lejune, NC. He earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.), and has four masters’ degrees: M.A. in Management and Supervision, M.Ed. in Education, M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and M.Ed. in Spanish. He is certified to teach Health and P.E., English as a second language, Spanish, and as a K-12 Administrative Principal in PA. Active professionally, Dr. Baker attends executive board meetings for PennTESOL-East, MLAPV, and is the current President of the Philadelphia Area Spanish Educators (PASE). At VFMA, he teaches Spanish for the Academy, works as a Tactical Officer in the Commandant’s Department, and this spring will also teach Spanish at VFMC. Colonel Baker previously taught and coached the college Basketball, Cross Country, and Marathon teams, was Director of the English Language Institute at VF for fifteen years, went away to teach in public school for a while, but is now happy to be back, or in his own words, “it feels like ‘home’ here at VF, I missed it.”

James F. Kelley – Second Lieutenant (2LT), Vermont National Guard

After graduating high school he knew he wanted a different college experience and in 2011 he entered his Rook (plebe) year at Norwich University (Military College of Vermont) graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Upon graduating he enlisted in the Vermont Army National Guard in 2016 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant after completing Officer Candidate School in 2018. Since then he has served as a platoon leader with A Company, 186th Brigade Support Battalion, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain). In the civilian world he most recently worked as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Norwich University. Fun fact: He had lived most of his life on a college campus, more specifically a military college campus having lived at West Point for 8 years, Northfield, VT for 18 years and now Valley Forge.

Christopher Onesti – Captain (CPT), VFMAC

CPT Onesti, a 2002 graduate of Rowan College, holds an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts. CPT Onesti has been a TAC officer at VFMAC since 2018. In that time, he has served in both the academy and college. Currently, he is the company advisor of E Battery, as well as the Commander of the Civil Air Patrol’s (C.A.P.) Delaware County Composite Squadron 1007, the largest C.A.P. Squadron in Pennsylvania. He has been a leader of cadet programs in the C.A.P. since 1997. CPT Onesti also serves as a VF Rifle Club firearms instructor and range safety officer. After a career in law-enforcement as a police officer at Ocean City Police (NJ) and the New Jersey Transit Police Department, he retired in 2008.

Shannon Meehan – Captain (CPT), U.S. Army (Ret.)

Captain Shannon P. Meehan was a leader of a tank platoon for the 1st Cavalry Division of the U.S. Army. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute with distinction, having also studied at Oxford University, and earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and an Army Commendation for Valor in Combat, as well as other military honors while serving in Iraq. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontlines in Iraq.
Now medically retired from service, Shannon has earned a Master of Arts in Education from Villanova University and has become an advocate for veterans, particularly those suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder – injuries specific to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Shannon is a PA state-certified teacher, and he has taught English at several high schools across the state.

Ramon C. Rustin

He was born and raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Graduated in 1975 from Bishop Shanahan High School. Ramon worked directly out of high school in a factory located in Lionville, PA. In March of 1980, he was hired as a Correctional Officer at the Chester County Prison, located in West Chester, PA. Progressed through the ranks up to the rank of Deputy Warden of Security at the Prison. While working full time in corrections, Ramon earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University. During that time, he also worked at Valley Forge Military Academy and College as an Officer in Charge (Security) from 1996 until 2004 under the Commandant’s department. He retired from Chester County and VFMAC in October of 2004 to accept the position as Warden of the Allegheny County Jail, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Warden Rustin directed that correctional facility for 6 years, with an inmate population of 2,800 inmates and a staff of 600 uniform and civilian personnel. In 2011, he accepted the job as Chief of Corrections at the Metropolitan Detention Center, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Chief Rustin resigned that position in 2014 with an idea to retire fully from a 34 year career in Corrections and move back to West Chester. Thankfully, Mr. Rustin had a change of heart about retirement and contacted Valley Forge Military Academy. We hired him back in April of 2018.

Zach Stauffenberg – Second Lieutenant (2LT), VFMAC

2LT Stauffenberg is a Northeast Philly native, as well as a 2016 graduate of the Valley Forge Military College. He has been part of the Valley Forge team in many different capacities for several years, assisting Cadet Activities as a summer camp counselor, and paintball instructor. Most recently, he had been serving as a Campus Security Officer (CSO) and now he is now a part of the TAC team. He has worked continuously as a community Volunteer for approximately nine years and has also worked with youth in a multitude of programs for just as long.

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