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Culver Military Academy

CMA Corps of Cadets

In keeping with the Academies’ mission “to educate students for leadership and responsible citizenship in society” and CMA’s mission “to educate, nurture, cultivate, train, and inspire cadets to become responsible citizens and servant leaders of character within the Culver Academies and beyond the Iron Gate,” Culver places a high premium on leadership training gained in the classroom, in living units, and in extra-curricular activities. This section describes how leadership in the CMA Corps of Cadets plays a key role in this training.

The Values of a Military System:

Culver believes that a military system is a particularly effective way to develop the values, attitudes, and personal characteristics that have been fundamental to Culver’s mission since its inception in 1894. The purpose is not to prepare cadets for military service, but rather, it is to teach the meaning of commitment, responsibility, discipline, and hard work. Cadets must not only be ready to meet the added demands of cadet life, they also must be prepared to commit themselves to a challenging set of values: honor, duty, truth, and service.

Culver’s military system is not just shined shoes, parades, and inspections; it is a way of life. The military program at Culver was instituted by its founder, Henry Harrison Culver, as a way of imparting the values of service, duty, and excellence to its students and as a means of developing responsible citizens and leaders of character for society. The challenges of this lifestyle are best described in The Spirit of Culver by S.E. Kiser:

The hope to win, the zeal to dare, Contempt for what is base and mean; Pride in achievement that is fair, And high regard for what is clean: The strength that is in brotherhood, The courage that proclaims success; The will to strive for what is good, And, first and always, [excellence].

First Year

New cadets learn to take care of themselves, to follow, and to become productive and contributing members of their units. Culver traditions are a large part of the teaching.

Second Year

Cadets continue to learn to take care of themselves, and they are in official positions of leadership as they are assigned as team leaders to help the new cadets begin their journey through the Culver experience. Classroom teaching focuses on learning leadership skills. Residential life lessons reinforce taking care of oneself and preparation for increased leadership responsibilities during the second-class (junior) year.

Third Year

From the lessons learned in the classroom and residential life setting, cadets are prepared, and expected, to assume responsibility for others as NCO leaders and principal assistants to unit leaders.

Fourth Year

The culmination of Culver’s system sees first-classmen (seniors) taking responsibility for the military system. The lessons involve the realization and culmination of their development as servant leaders of character within the Academies.

The New Cadet System

The purpose of the New Cadet System (NCS) is to develop new cadets into disciplined, self-confident, and capable members of the Cadet Corps committed to the Cardinal and Culver virtues. The NCS focuses on teaching new cadets the skills and duties of a cadet, while helping him learn self-discipline; personal responsibility; justice; respect for himself, others, and proper authority; honor; selflessness; and teamwork. In seeking to accomplish this purpose, the New Cadet System also provides an opportunity for cadet leaders to exercise and improve their leadership skills.

The New Cadet System places new cadets in a position of special accountability to old cadets and requires certain actions of them not required of old cadets. The New Cadet System is applicable for all or part of the first year a cadet is at Culver regardless of his academic year entry. It consists of five phases, normally ending for each new cadet sometime in the spring, based upon his performance.

CMA Leadership (CMA Regulation 3–2)

Leadership in the Cadet Corps is based on a military system, which brings greater responsibility and a broader sphere of influence with each promotion. The purpose of the system is to provide leadership experience and to develop servant leaders of character in a progressive manner.

Branch Insignia and Eligibility for Promotion

A cadet becomes eligible for promotion once he has earned his Branch Insignia, which signifies full membership in the Corps of Cadets and his unit. The Branch Insignia is earned by passing a series of basic and specialty tests over information designed to orient the new cadet to Culver and to the particulars of his branch of the Corps, whether it be the Artillery (Battery A, B, C); Infantry (Company A, B, C); Troop (Troop A, B); or Band. It culminates in a Branch Insignia Board conducted by senior cadet leaders.

Leadership Periods

The school year is divided into two periods of the same length during which Cadet Officers serve in various positions. Cadet Non Commissioned Officers have the school year divided into three periods of roughly equal time to serve in various NCO positions.

Normally, cadets rotate from one position to another as the periods change. The purpose is to give as many eligible cadets as possible different types of leadership experiences during the course of the year.

Rank during the leadership periods is as follows:
Cadets earn rank by assignment to positions, or on merit, following a period of time and successful completion of positions. The following is a general list of positions, and ranks normally assigned. The ranks listed are based on class. The CMA Regulation 3-2 is the source document for all promotions.

Wearing of Cadet Rank and Acting Insignia

All wear the insignia of their current position and/or rank on the sleeves of their Dress A and their fatigue jacket, on the right-hand collar of their Duty A and B uniform, and on the epaulets (Officers) or lapels (NCOs) of their overcoats or raincoats.

Cadets will use the following collar insignia to denote their position and/or rank:

  • 3 diamonds — Senior Cadet Captain and Regimental Commander
  • 2 diamonds — Regimental Adjutant or Battalion Commander
  • 1 diamond — Unit Commander
  • 1 diamond (gold) — Platoon Leader or Unit Executive Officer
  • 3 Pips — members of the Regimental Staff
  • 2 Pips — member of the Battalion Staffs
  • 1 Pip (silver)member of the unit staff (gold) — special unit staff (Non leader billet)
  • CSM Chevron — Regimental SGM (specific type depends on which RSM position held)
  • SGM Chevron —Battalion or Squadron SGM
  • 1SG Chevron — Unit 1st Sergeants
  • E7 Chevron — Unit Operations Sergeants
  • SSGT Chevron — Staff Sergeants
Carrying of Swords and Sabers

Only Commissioned Officers may carry a saber. The following promoted NCOs may carry a sword while serving in the temporary sword bearing position: All Sergeant Majors, Unit 1st Sergeants, and Unit Operations Sergeants.

Wearing of Wraps

Except as noted below, the only cadets authorized to wrap are Officers and all sword- bearing Sergeants. Acting officers will wear the accouterments of their actual permanent rank. Acting sword-bearing sergeants will carry a sword, will wrap, and will wear a white sword sling.

Exceptions to this policy include the following:

  • Members of the Regimental Color Guard may wrap while functioning in that capacity.
  • Members of an Honor Organization may wrap while performing with their Honor Organization.
Minimum Requirements for Cadet Rank

To be eligible to hold rank above private, a cadet’s most recent grading period and term grades must be as indicated below:

  1. I & II - 2.70 GPA, no F’s III & IV - 2.40 GPA, no F’s
  2. All classes - Satisfactory citizenship without assignment to the citizenship ineligibility list

To be eligible for promotion to the rank of staff sergeant or above, or to the position of sword-bearing sergeant,
a cadet must have a term GPA of 2.7 or above (with no F’s) and maintain satisfactory citizenship without assignment to the citizenship ineligibility list for the most recent grading period and term. All recommendations for promotion that fail to meet these standards are subject to the discretion of the Commandant. Cadet officers will be temporarily reduced in rank to the grade of sergeant or below if their citizenship or GPA slips. Any cadet, regardless of rank will be reduced to the grade of private if his citizenship places them on the citizenship ineligibility list.


The CMA promotion process is intended to recognize cadets for outstanding performance and also to provide leadership opportunities for cadets within the Corps of Cadets. Promotion procedures and selection of cadets for promotion will be determined at the discretion of the Commandant of Cadets with input from the Leadership Selection Board. At least one cadet will serve on all Leadership Selection Boards at the battalion/squadron and regimental levels. All promotions are subject to review and are effective only by approval of the Commandant.

  1. Promotion for the ranks of Private through SSGT may be earned by cadets as individuals and occur in accordance with CMA procedures. These promotions are based on the assessments and recommendations for the cadet chain of command and adult leaders.
  2. Promotion to the ranks of Private through Staff Sergeant require that cadets meet the minimum GPA requirements and are designated as “Citizenship Eligible”, as well as participate in the Culver Fitness Test, and pass the Promotion Eligibility Test.
  3. Special eligibility requirements beyond the minimums exist for the ranks of Staff Sergeant through LT/CPT, recognizing the increased responsibility that comes with service at these ranks.
  4. Promotion to officer rank is a special procedure, as it represents the elevation of one to an exemplar status within the Corps and at Culver, and requires one to be appointed to the rank by the Head of Schools and the Commandant of Cadets. Because it is an appointment, there are special eligibility requirements beyond those required of Staff Sergeants and above to acquire and retain officer rank. To be promoted to officer rank and/or to retain officer rank, a cadet cannot have committed either a Type I offense or and Honor offense during his 1st class year. Additionally, he has to PASS the Culver Fitness Test and the Promotion Eligibility Test.
  5. A cadet holding officer rank who commits either a Type I or II offense or an Honor offense is required to resign his commission and is no longer eligible to hold officer rank.
  6. A 1st class cadet who is not an officer and who commits either a Type I offense or an Honor offense is no longer eligible for promotion to officer rank.
  7. In both cases, the highest rank that a cadet who commits either a Type I offense or an Honor offense during his 1st class year is eligible to hold is that of SSGT (subject to the Commandant’s discretion).
Reduction of Rank

Cadet rank may be reduced one or more grades/ranks for cause as determined and imposed at the discretion of the Commandant of Cadets. Reduction means immediate loss of current rank and privileges.
Loss of position may also occur. Reductions may be temporary or permanent. In the case of temporary reductions, the Commandant may restore the rank at his discretion. Permanent reductions move the cadet to the lower rank. He may earn future promotions in accordance with normal procedures. Reduction may occur as a result of the following:

  1. Failure to perform responsibilities and/or set appropriate examples as a leader.

  2. Unsatisfactory citizenship (as indicated above).

  3. An infraction which, in the opinion of the Commandant, would make it difficult for a cadet to lead effectively (Citizenship Warning always results in suspension).

  4. Failure to maintain academic standards as indicated above; a failing grade always results in rank reduction.

  5. A cadet found guilty of an honor violation is required to resign his commission.

Restoration of Rank

1. Cadets who have been reduced may be returned to all or part of their previously held rank as follows:
2. Temporary reductions: as determined by the Commandant.
3. Reductions for failure to maintain academic standards: mid-term grading period may on the recommendation of the counselor make a cadet eligible for restoration. The Commandant has final discretion.
4. Loss of rank due to a single offense: the citizenship requirement for rank may be waived at the discretion of the commandant with the advice of the CMA Promotion Board to allow restoration of a portion of the previously held rank four weeks following the completion of the corrective action. The restoration of rank is not automatic; it must be earned through actions and a positive attitude.


When a Cadet is in full uniform and covered, he will render the proper hand salute, accompanied by a the verbal greeting of the day to military personnel, in uniform or civilian attire, or “Good Morning/Good Evening, Sir/ Ma’am” to other adults, such as the Head of Schools and for all uniformed faculty members. The salute will be held until the salute has been returned, or acknowledged, if the recipient is in civilian attire. Cadets will not be required to salute non-military faculty members, but will greet them using Sir/Ma’am as appropriate.

When under arms, the same procedures are to be followed, except that the cadet will render the appropriate rifle salute or present arms when they have a drawn saber. When at double time, the cadet will come to quick time and use the appropriate salute, then continue on his way at double time.

When in a group and not in formation, the first cadet to recognize any uniformed faculty officer will call attention, and all cadets in the group will salute. When in a formation, the cadet in charge will ensure that the unit is at attention, and he will salute for the group.

The proper distance to salute is about six paces. When out of doors and not in formation, a cadet will salute the Head of Schools and all uniformed faculty members in his current state of locomotion, (i.e., stationary if standing still and continuing to walk if walking). When out of doors and not in formation, a cadet will stop and salute when the national colors are passing. He will render his salute six steps before and hold it six steps after the colors have passed him. The salute will be rendered during the “National Anthem” or when “To the Colors” is played. The basic rule for saluting is—when in doubt, salute.


When reporting to any faculty member or senior administrative official, a cadet knocks (if indoors), enters when told to do so (if indoors), salutes, and reports, “Sir (Ma’am), Cadet (rank) (name) reports.” A cadet will hold his salute until it is returned by the person to whom he is reporting. When departing, he will “Request permission to be dismissed” and salute. When permission is granted and the salute is returned, he drops his salute, does an about face and departs. NOTE: unless under arms, a cadet does not wear a cover indoors.

When a Faculty Member or Member of the Military Staff Enters a Room: When a faculty member/military staff enters a room, a cadet will stand at attention until the faculty member directs otherwise or leaves the room. In the event a number of cadets are present, the first cadet seeing the faculty member will call “Attention.”


Military courtesy should be closely adhered to by each cadet when he is using a telephone. When answering an official telephone, a cadet will respond politely by saying: “This is Cadet (name), Company A (or appropriate unit); may I help you?” When initiating a telephone call, each cadet should clearly state his name and unit prior to stating the purpose of the call.

CMA Honor Organizations

To be eligible for membership in an honor organization, a cadet must meet specific requirements. Rules and require- ments for Honor Organizations are covered by Standard Operating Procedure #8, which is separately published.

CMA Honor Council

The Honor Council administers the Honor Code within CMA and is one of the most important entities within CMA. It consists of one elected Honor Representative from each unit. The Honor Council is an integral part of CMA’s cadet-run Honor system, and the members of the Honor Council will hear all cases involving suspected honor offenses and make recommendations for their adjudication to the Commandant.

CMA Diversity Council

CGA and CMA have a joint Diversity Council which consists of a Diversity Representative from each dorm/unit. The Diversity Council meets to address school-wide issues in diversity. The role of each dorm/unit Diversity Rep- resentative is to promote respect and appreciation for diversity among students.

CMA Common Council

The Common Council serves as a link between the CGA and CMA leadership systems and the administration. Serving on the Common Council are each rotation’s Senior Prefect, CGA Council Chair, Diversity Chair
and Regimental Diversity Officer, and the Honor Council Chair. For CMA, the representatives are each rotation’s Regimental Commander, Cadet Club Chair, and Honor Council Chair. The CMA/CGA Aides to the Administration serve as Co-Chairs.