Declawed Tigers

We all fall victim to the old-aged ethos of The Citadel of “Old Corps”, similar to an aspect of the “Good Old Days”. “Back in my day, it was like this…that…or the other.” This applies to a plethora of things, extending into corps life, mess hall procedures, classes, air-conditioning, etcetera. Having finished knob year and began as a sophomore, I can’t help but somewhat feel this aspect and see it grow in my classmates. I see their disgust and feel their resentment when they see a knob lack fear in their eyes, or when they turn and burn the stairs at no chance of punishment. The black garrison is tarnished and the white gloves dirty, stripped of their pristine condition. The tiger has lost it claws, with the threat of TACS and rulebooks being a larger fear to someone than a cadre member ever was:

“Why should I fear this cadre corporal? Hell, if I feel like it, I can just report him for close to anything and, with today’s system, it’ll turn into an Honor Violation and they’ll be kicked out faster than they can even comprehend what’s happening.”

In some ways, Knob Year was better than sophomore year. In others, no, of course not. Sure, I do not have to brace, pop off, or eat square, but at least I was protected by the book. Now, if I so much as blink at a knob who’s feelin’ a bit brave, I’ll be stripped of my rank, slapped with tours, and ostracized for being a “Haze Daddy.” Honestly, if that’s what it takes to train ‘22, fine. If pushing ‘22 to their limits so they can carry on our “bastion of antiquity” costs me my rank and my weekends, fine. I’m willing to make that sacrifice. You declaw the Corp of Cadets for the sake of a mirage and instead of preparing ‘22 for the real world, for the military, you make them feel, and reinforce the fact, that we are just in fact toy soldiers who march around with fake rifles and scream for no reason. The Cadet Creed says:

“ Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically tough, and morally straight, and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. Gallantly will I show the world that I am a well-trained cadet. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. And under no circumstances will I ever bring discredit to The Citadel and the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.”

Are we really upholding this, Jenkins? Are we ensuring the world has well-trained cadets, are we setting the example, and are we really enforcing any aspects of morality or physicality? We do not apply pressure, so we will not produce diamonds. To make a diamond takes time and heat, both of which we are quickly running out of. We do not set an example, instead, we make each and every following class weaker and watch other schools rising to become the example that we are losing our grip on.

I will never say I had a “real knob year”, but I will say this; My cadre was not declawed and I am better for it. The pushing for mistakes, the constant pressure, it all improved me.  We fail our cadet creed, we fail our alumni, and we fail ourselves. I ask you this, if we continue on this path, will their gold shine as bright as ours? Will we shine as bright as those before us in our graduation pictures? Will our ring weigh the same? You tell me.

-Anonymous Cadet Corporal

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13 thoughts on “Declawed Tigers

  1. I love my school . But it hurts my heart so . To see the cidadel following in the footsteps of the rest of these divided states . I was hopeing the citadel I love so much to stay under the radar of the rest of the world and stay strong . But unfortunately it is not capable of doing that. The world is changing for the worst . And unfortunately the citadel has chosen to change with the rest of them .. son you have not been de-clawed you were de-clawed when the citadel decided it did not care to fight to be the magnificent school it was in the day . I agree not every one has what it takes to slide on the gold circle and that was what made that place special in my heart . Please don’t give up or change you are a special American to have accomplished what you have and don’t let them take that from you stand tall as I’m sure you do . Most have not stood where you stand and most could not . My school has given up on you and all who came before you . My heart bleeds

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  2. Eh. Nowadays I would be willing to hire a Clemson graduate over a Citadel grad. The grit was taken from cadets. Might as well pick the guy with the better academic pedigree.

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  3. The pressure that knobs undergo during freshman year make them better people in the future, ready to face adversity. If you can face your knob year, you can face anything. The band of gold should only be for the best, those who struggled and overcame their difficulties, and stand all the higher for it.

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  4. Rom 91 all you that don’t see a problem with this where a shit knob who called mommy every night because you had to brace and knock off and you still call mommy when you get in a situation that you can’t Handle.. or you could have been a good knob and learned to take care of it yourself like the citadel was trying to teach you when things get hard you deal with them .. not cry to mommy I don’t want no mommas boy behind me with an ak in battle CUS I’m dead from you .you f-ing mommy’s boy a.Iwant a man .a citadel cadet .. MY life might be in your hands .. not a cry baby knob fuck the pusification of Americans is not suppose to include the citadel the last defense when all else fails … put your life in that spot. And tell me we were to hard on you !!!!!!!

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  5. Too bad that cadre Corporal doesn’t realize that faithfully following a set of rules is part of discipline and integrity, that “setting an example for others” applies directly to cadre, and that purposefully failing in those tasks will “bring discredit to The Citadel.”

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  6. “The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”

    (Major General John M. Schofield in an address to the Corps of Cadets, August 11, 1879.)

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  7. You say this as fear is the only way to lead. What happens when you get into the real world and you can’t force your employees to brace or preform sweat parties? I hate see the traditions of our school tarnished too but crying because you’re unable to “haze” cadets in the name of leadership makes you nothing more than a boss instead of a leader.

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  8. I was a part of that “hands on” system, and I love our school and our classmates with strong affection as a result. But, I assure you that I was less prepared for true leadership, since I had simply been provided, mostly, with examples of what was not good leadership. Continue to ponder what are truly the best ways to train principled leaders, and you will find your right answer. Our school remains strong. Palmer ‘68

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  9. Amen, Brother Hamrick! It is frustrating enough to hear the exaggerated outrage of various “alumni” hidden by social media. We don’t need a Sophmore already lamenting what they perceive to be the death of the 4th class system. The Ciradel will always be a great institution and one he will be proud to be a part of for years to come.

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  10. As a current cadre member myself, I believe You can make the system as hard as you want, but you have to know the rules and boundaries and walk that fine line. The school is changing not to make it easier, but to survive in a world that is softening as a whole, this change doesn’t make us a lesser Citadel man or woman. Just because we didn’t receive a hands on approach doesn’t make the system we received any lesser. I will agree however with the fact that sometimes tacs do over step and will happily pull cadets off cadre if they don’t like what they see. TAC: Teach, Advise, and Coach, at no point in time do I believe Micro manage was thrown into that acronym. I see this as the real problem, not the “declawing” of cadre.

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  11. All of our rings weigh the same. Your ring will have great personal meaning to you, not just because you are the one that earned it, but because of all those that earned theirs before. You’ll think of your knob year, the First Sargeant, Company Comander, and countless others, some you only heard stories about- and their wearing of the same ring gives a far greater meaning and pride to your own. Don’t worry so much about the system changes, and declawing of your cadre. We all know, The Citadel was founded in 1842, and immediately started going to hell right after. Just try and strive to be a good leader, and a good human being that makes your knobs and those that come after proud that they get to wear the same ring that you do.

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    1. Jeff Ashby Hotel 79 . It’s not the same ring or the same program. Not even close. The stress levels imparted were never to be for teaching leaders . It was to set the forge which we all were formed in. I have the chance to go for homecoming this year and find it reassuring to know that the guys who regulated my entrance into the corps can now be thanked by me for their due diligence .

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