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United States Military Academy (U.S.)

West Point

Last modified: 2017-08-08 by rick wyatt
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[West Point Organizational Colors] image by Tom Gregg, 13 June 1997

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Organizational Colors

Organizational Flag, U.S. Military Academy (West Point). West Point, as distinct from the U.S. Corps of Cadets, has its own organizational flag in the same proportions as the Corps of Cadets' color (4:5). Black, gray and yellow are the USMA's traditional colors. The Greek helmet is also used as a collar (branch of service) insignia for wear by military personnel permanently assigned to the USMA, and it figures in the shoulder sleeve insignia, worn on the field uniform by cadets, and on all uniforms by personnel assigned to the Academy staff.
Tom Gregg, 18 June 1997

The Organizational Flag, U.S. Military Academy has the characteristics of an "office flag" or "display flag." It is never hoisted or carried in parades. The only colours that are ever carried on parade at West Point are the National Colours, the U.S. Corps of Cadets Colours, and for 2002, the USMA Bicentennial Commemorative Flag.
Jack James, 12 August 2002

Corps of Cadets

[West Point Cadet Colors]
image by Tom Gregg, 13 June 1997 and Karl Niedershuh, 28 September 2001

U.S. Army Organizational Color, U.S. Corps of Cadets (West Point). Two of the U.S. Army's color-bearing organizations, the U.S. Corps of Cadets (West Point) and the 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) have colors proportioned 4:5. All others are 3:4.

The color of the Corps of Cadets has a black, gray and yellow fringe and is always displayed with cord and tassels in the same colors. My image is based on the official illustration and description in AR 840-10 -- which unfortunately omits to mention the colors for the scroll and title. I have assumed that they conform to standard practice for U.S. Army colors, i.e. white scroll with inscription in the primary branch color and scroll outline in the secondary branch color. If anybody can confirm or correct this, I'd appreciate the information.
Tom Gregg, 27 July 1997

Assuming that current practice still conforms to the postcards I have from the West Point Museum (published in the '60s), it should be noted that the helm of Minerva on the arms and the eagle on the crest always respect the fly, and are therefore reversed on the side shown. In addition, the oak leaves are always on the fly side of the eagle, the laurel leaves on the hoist side. All scrolls should be red with gold edging and lettering, branch colors reflecting the Academy's original (1802) function as a training school for junior officers of the Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers. The scrolls are shaded to give the illusions of three dimensions, while the gold edging and lettering have dark outlines as well as realistic highlights. The order and position of the mottoes on these scrolls remains the same on both sides of the color.

The gray color of the field has varied considerably over the years, from a pale slate blue to a creamy off-white, but the favored hue in modern times appears to be several shades lighter than cadet gray. (The gray portions of the fringes and tassels do appear to be cadet gray.) The blue of the shield is a shade lighter than shown, and the sheaves of arrows held in the eagle's talons are gold.
Karl Niedershuh, 28 September 2001

As a point of interest, these colours have a completely unique, and very beautiful finial. It is a large silver spearhead (more narrow at the base and much taller than a standard U.S. Army finial) upon which is engraved the coat of arms of the Academy, as depicted on the colors. The National Colours carried by the Colour Guard have a similar finial engraved with the Arms of the United States.
Jack James, 12 August 2002


[West Point Cadet Troop Guidon] image by Tom Gregg, 26 May 1997

The U.S. Corps of Cadets (U.S. Army Military Academy, West Point) is organized into four regiments, each consisting of a number of companies. Each company has two guidons. The "dress" guidon displays the regimental number and the company letter above and below the initials "U.S.C.C."      The "field" guidon just has the regimental number. The colors are officially described as golden yellow and silver gray.

Preparatory School

[West Point Prep School Guidon] image by Tom Gregg, 29 May 1997

Sport pennant

The West Point sports pennant uses a mule, which has been used as the mascot of the U.S. Military Academy's athletic teams and Corps of Cadets for over 100 years. See for details.

Army teams are not nicknamed the Mules, but rather the Black Knights or (more traditionally) simply Cadets. But many colleges and universities use mascots that do not match the nicknames of the teams, for a variety of historic reasons. The Naval Academy's teams are simply called the Midshipmen, but the Navy mascot is a goat. The University of North Carolina is the Tar Heels, but the mascot is a ram. Auburn University is the Tigers, also called Plainsmen, but the mascot is a golden eagle. Texas A&M is the Aggies; the mascot is a border collie. Tennessee is the Volunteers; the mascot is a coonhound. And the band Steely Dan sang, "they call Alabama the Crimson Tide," but the mascot is an elephant. Depictions of these mascots frequently appear on flags waved or flown by fans of these teams.
Joe McMillan, 28 November 2001


[Seal of United States Military Academy] image located by Paul Bassinson, 9 January 2017