Valley Forge Military Academy and College

Valley Forge Military Academy
& College
Motto Courage • Honor • Conquer
Type Independent Boarding (Grades 7-12, PG) Military Junior College
Established 1928
Students ~602 Cadets
Location Wayne, Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Campus Suburban

Buff and Blue

Nickname Cadets
Mascot Trojans
Affiliations Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States, The Association of Boarding Schools, The National Association of Independent Schools and Secondary School Admission Test Board

Valley Forge Military Academy & College (usually shortened as VFMA&C or VFMAC) is an American preparatory boarding school (grades 7-12) and coeducational (as of Fall 2006) junior college and military junior college located in Wayne, Pennsylvania and follows in the traditional military school format. Though military in tradition and form, Valley Forge Military Academy (the high school portion of VFMA&C) is a college preparatory boarding institution specializing on student leadership. VFMA&C's administration is composed almost entirely of current or retired military and the Board of Trustees are almost entirely alumni. Some graduates pursue careers in armed services, and VFMA&C has one Rhodes Scholar. VFMA&C and the Duke of York's Royal Military School, United Kingdom have become sister institutions. VFMAC has strong ties with various Royal Families and organizations.

The Valley Forge Corps of Cadets, which is entirely student run, is the only American military organization that maintains British drill and ceremonies. All cadets must pass a board and earn a "Capshield" to be a member of the Corps of Cadets. It is the only Corps of Cadets in the United States to still have a traditional mounted battalion of one cavalry troop and one artillery battery.

Valley Forge Military College, "The Military College of Pennsylvania," is unique as it is the only private junior military college in the United States where the entire college student body is military cadets from the US and international cadets. All students are members of the Corps of Cadets. The Academy & College was fully residential, but in recent years the academy also offers a day student program. VFMC is the only military college that caters to all branches of the US military through the ROTC and the "Prepster" program for all 5 US Federal Service Academies.. Despite an emphasis on character development, VFMAC has had its share of scandals. In 2011, a female cadet accused a fellow cadet of sexual assault. There have been other accusations of sexual assault campus that the administration never handled and in some cases actively defended the perpetrators.


Valley Forge Military Academy was founded in 1928 by Lieutenant General Milton G. Baker, Pennsylvania Guard (Retired).[1] For the first five months of its existence, the school was located in Devon, Pennsylvania, on the south side of Berkley Road, between Dorset and Waterloo roads, which is several miles away from the campus's current location.[2] After a fire during the night of January 17–18, 1929 destroyed the original single-building campus, the former Devon Park Hotel, the Academy was moved to its present site in Wayne, Pennsylvania, the former Saint Luke's School.[3] The highest decoration in the institution, the Order of Anthony Wayne, was made in tribute to the heroism of the first Corps of Cadets on the night that the first campus burned down.

Originally, General Baker devised an American Revolutionary War motif for the school. The school colors are Buff and Blue, the colors of the uniforms of the Continental Army. The buildings in the Wayne campus were named for Revolutionary War leaders, while the uniforms, crest, Alma Mater, and rank structure were patterned from those of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

During the 1935-36 school year Baker expanded the Academy to include a two-year college program, with the first College cadets joining the Corps that year. Subsequently, the school was known as Valley Forge Military Academy and Junior College. Today, it is known as "Valley Forge Military Academy & College".

In the late 1940s to 1950s Baker, an Anglophile, began changing the concept and modeled many of the school's drills, customs, and ceremonies after a British motif. The Full Dress Uniforms are modeled from those of the British Army, while others are ostensibly West Point and British hybrids.

The Corps expanded to include artillery (and formerly machine guns) in the late 1930s. The school was granted military junior college status by the Department of Defense in the sometime between the 1940s and the 1960s.

Baker retired as Superintendent in 1971, and died at his home on July 31, 1976 at the age of 80.[1] The 1981 film Taps was filmed at the school.


Title changed to President in 1992

Student body

The school has, as of 2011 about 500 students,[7] representing 38 of 50 states and 25 countries worldwide. The college had the largest enrollment ever at the start of the 2009–2010 academic year: 334 cadets. By 2014, the school had grown to more than 650 cadets.

The Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program (ECP), one of only five offered in the United States, and the only program in the Northeast, has experienced a 48% increase in enrollment, from 50 to 74 cadets. These ECP Cadets will earn their commission as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army after only two years at VFMC.

In 2008–2009 the college enrolled a total of 10 women; the next year, 37 new and returning women were at the college, an increase of 270%.

The Service Academy Prep Program at VFMC saw an increase of 188% over the 2008–2009 Prepsters, with a total of 46 Prepsters in the 2009–2010 program. Valley Forge Military College has the largest number of West Point Prepsters out of all the West Point approved Prepster programs in the country, with 18 currently enrolled.

Organization of the Corps of Cadets, Regalia and symbols, and History of the corps

The organization of the Corps, similar to the rest of the US military junior colleges, is very different that it is organized as a full regiment of three battalions, two infantry and one mounted. Another difference is in the rank system used, a hybrid of US and British military ranks, and also in the insignia being utilized.

Introduction and History of the Corps of Cadets as well as the rank structure and insignia

The cadets are, from 2014 onward, grouped into three battalions, the Mounted and the two Infantry battalions. The companies that form the now two Infantry Battalions are A, B, C and F (Academy), and G, H and I (College) while the Mounted Battalion consists of "D" Troop, "E" Battery, VFMAC Field Music (formerly also the Drum and Bugle Corps), and the VFMAC Regimental Band. Formerly, most College Cadets in the infantry battalion were assigned to "F" Company, but have been divided into "G", "H" and "I" Companies today. "I" Company had been named "I" Troop for all college cadets wishing to participate in equitation, and was once known as "I" Battery for college cadets participating in artillery, but it has now been moved to the collegiate infantry battalion as I Company today. Presently, Cadets of the Sixth, Fifth, and Fourth Classes (Grades 7, 8 and 9) are assigned to "C" Company; formerly, Cadets of the Middle School (Grades 7 and 8) were assigned to "E" Battery. During the years of highest enrollment, in the 1960s and 1970s, Cadets of the Middle School were assigned to "H" Company. During the 2009–2010 academic year, given rapid expansion in enrollment, College Cadets have since been assigned to "H" Company. F Company, which formerly had the College cadets, was reformed in 2014 as part of the Academy.

Initially, the Corps of Cadets was organized, in the same manner as West Point, as a Squadron/Battalion of Infantry Companies with a Cavalry Troop, under a Cadet Major, who wore five gold chevrons with an oak leaf. Cadet Captains wore four chevrons; Cadet Lieutenants wore three chevrons, Sergeants and Corporals three and two, respectively. Rank insignia then mirrored the USMA. Artillery made their debut in the Corps (as E Battery) in 1939, formerly in the machine gun role. Later, the Corps was reorganized to three battalions: two infantry battalions and a mounted battalion (squadron) of one to two troops and one to two artillery batteries, thus becoming a full regiment or brigade in the process. The Corps was then headed by a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. The corps and the rank system has since evolved. It is headed by a Cadet Colonel today. Cadet officers wear gold rank stars or "pips." Pips are similar in design to the "Order of the Bath" rank stars worn by the British Army and the Royal Marines, except the three crowns have been replaced with an image of George Washington kneeling in the snow, from the painting "The Prayer at Valley Forge" by Henry Brueckner, and the motto "Tria Juncta In Uno" replaced with "Valley Forge Military Academy," as represented in the institutional coat of arms. (Before the design of the school "pips," Cadet Officers wore the British "pips" design with the crowns.) The rank system is also adapted from those in the British Army, Royal Marines, the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps (only in the Cadet Lance Corporal enlisted rank).

During the 1950s to early 1960s the officer rank structure of the Corps of Cadets, VFMAC was:

Other ranks wore the chevrons on the sleeve and were ranked accordingly with a mix of British and US army and marine enlisted ranks. (The officer ranks used above were briefly reinstated in 2014-2016.)

The officer rank system was increased and improved in the 1960s with the introduction of additional Cadet Captain ranks (from Cadet Captain to Cadet 1st Cpt.) thus the officer ranks used right until 2014 (and reinstated 2016 but with improved insignia) are from that era, thus:

On the Full Dress Uniforms, Cadet Officers wear rank insignia as on the "School Uniform", except that the Cadet 1st Captain wears braided shoulder knots with a full dress aiguillette in recognition of his role as the Corps Cadet Regimental Commander. Cadet Sergeants, Corporals and Lance Corporals wear chevrons on the sleeve: red chevrons on grey for the infantry battalions; red chevrons on black for the mounted battalion. All cadet officers' shoulder boards are dark blue save for the artillery unit which from 2012 now wears red shoulder boards after a long absence of their use. The full dress headdress is the Academy Capshield with the VFMAC institutional arms on it, worn on all full dress uniforms since 1980 replacing a similar shako styled cap with the arms. The institutional full dress is gray blue with black pants (for the Academy) and from 2009, all black polo and pants for the College.

On chapel services peaked caps with the arms are used with the full dress (formerly these were on the first full dress blue uniforms) while the school service uniform and the BDU includes the side cap and the colored berets (formerly the patrol caps, now sometimes worn), blue for the academy branch and red for the college branch, with green berets worn on certain occasions by the Academy cadets, similar to US Army Green Berets and Royal Marine Commandos. Recently, baseball caps are beginning to be worn during practice drills.

Academically, the school is organized into six classes, plus College Freshmen and College Sophomores. The Academy classes are as follows: First Class: Seniors (12th Grade); Second Class: Juniors (11th Grade); Third Class: Sophomores (10th Grade); Fourth Class: Freshman (9th Grade); Fifth Class: 8th Grade; and Sixth Class: 7th Grade. Thus, the system is somewhat "inverted" from the "Form" system in use at some schools, and more closely parallels that of West Point and the other FSAs.

Faculty and Staff Officers generally wear military uniforms, and generally wear United States Army officer rank insignia save for those who are a part of the United States Air Force, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard and wear their respective rank insignia. Those with Academy Commissions wear the letters "VF" in place of the "U.S." insignia, and school crests as branch insignia and unit crest. Reserve, National Guard, and Retired Officers and NCO's, serving in their respective ranks, wear the rank and accouterments of their respective service arm.

VFMA&C also employs several British ex-Military personnel, most of whom wear the uniform and rank of their respective British service. The faculty currently includes Royal Navy, Royal Marines Commandos and Royal Marines Band Service personnel especially in the academy's regimental band, and also as staff and tactical officers.

Full set of ranks used by the VFMAC Corps of Cadets

This is the full list of ranks used by the Corps of Cadets of the VFMAC. Former, unused and honorary ranks are in italics.

Cadet Enlisted and NCO's

Cadet Officers

Component units of the Corps of Cadets

Former units and assignments indicated in italics.


VFMAC is a popular school for various Royal Families and graduated King Simeon II of Bulgaria. The school serves as Honor Guard to the British Royal Family on State Visits to Philadelphia. Selected cadets also participate in the annual The Versailles Foundation Inc. / Claude Monet-Giverny Dinner.

British military traditions in VFMAC

British style drill was practiced at VFMAC until early 2014. Many Tactical Officers and staff including Command Sergeant Majors, Bandmasters and Commandants have been serving and retired members of the British Armed Forces. Events such as the Military Tattoo, Regimental Dining In and Vespers reflects British traditions. Even the Regimental Band reflects this practice in recent years, having been now patterned in the style of the Royal Marines Band Service.

The British Officers Club of Philadelphia is based out of the VFMAC.

The Academy Coat of Arms

LTG Baker, the founder, designed the coat of arms in 1928. "It consists of a emblem borne on a shield and surmounted by a crest. The shield is of red and white vertical stripes with a blue field containing thirteen stars, one for each of the original states. the crest comprises an eagle with wings displayed and a scroll bearing the motto 'Courage, Honor, Conquer.' The emblem consists of a representation of General George Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow at Valley Forge, over crossed cavalry sabres and surrounded with a circular margin bearing the words 'Valley Forge Military Academy.'" — "The Guidon" Valley Forge Military Academy & College

Academics and student life

The College is headed in the interim by COL Nan Hood. The current Dean of the Academy is Sandra Young, VFMA&C The Commandant of Cadets is COL William Gallagher, USA(Retired).[8]

Similar to most other American boarding schools, academics at the Academy & College are demanding and highly competitive, and there is a mandatory two-hour "study hall" period from 7:30pm to 9:30pm each night in the students' barracks buildings.

The school day generally begins with "First Call" followed by "Reveille," at which time all cadets arise and prepare for formation. Calls are played by buglers. "First Mess" or breakfast is followed by cleaning details and room preparation. "School Call" is followed by academic classes until lunch, or "Second Mess." After Second Mess, cadets attend academic classes until mid afternoon. After classes, cadets participate in athletics and extracurricular activities. Cadets may also receive extra instruction during this time. At one time, there were daily formal "Guard Mount" and "Retreat" formations. Owing to the increased tempo of cadet life, and requirements of athletics and co-curricular activities needed to have cadets competitively vie for college admission, highly formal Retreat formations are no longer routinely held. After "Third Mess" or the evening meal, cadets return to their barracks for study hall. Study Hall, supervised by faculty officers in rotation, is mandatory for most cadets from Sunday through Thursday. After "Recall" from Study Hall comes the Break, at which time cadets use the telephone, shine shoes, and prepare for the next day. The Break is ended by "Call to Quarters" "Tattoo" and "Taps." At Taps, all cadets, except those granted "Late Lights" to study and cadets of the College, are required to be in bed.

On selected weekends, Cadets are permitted leave at home. Cadets who achieve, academically and in personal efficiency and leadership, are permitted additional leaves and local leaves into Wayne and to the King of Prussia Mall.

New Cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy & College endure a six-week adjustment period, known as "plebe training," upon entering the institution. During this period, students are trained in the customs and traditions of the school, a modified version British military drill, and ceremonies, and are given an opportunity to acclimate to the overall campus environment. The conclusion of this period occurs when the students complete the traditional requirement of earning their "Capshield," the brass crest that adorns the uniform cap. Plebe system is noted for its rigor and intensity.[9]

Valley Forge Military Academy & College offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities to students, including: equestrian, track, riflery, rifle drill, concert band and orchestra, herald fanfare trumpets, choir, football, basketball, rugby union, golf, and ski.

Character Education and Chapel

The Alumni Memorial Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion

All cadets attend religious services at The Alumni Memorial Chapel of St. Cornelius the Centurion on Sunday morning as a part of the Character Education program. The service, which was developed by General Baker, is rooted in the Episcopal or Anglican "Book of Common Prayer" and is Christian in nature. It is, however, non-sectarian in practice, as the address, which focuses on character and leadership, is given by distinguished military, civil, and academic leaders. Brigadier General Alfred A. Sanelli, Class of 1939, B.A., M.A., Pennsylvania Guard (Retired) [Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army (Retired)] (1921–2005), was the long-serving Chaplain and Director of Character Education, after serving as Dean of the Academy, Dean of the College, Professor of Military Science, and in other staff positions over many years. He was succeeded as Chaplain by Colonel John E. Steele, Jr., Valley Forge Military Academy & College. Effective June 22, 2010 CAPT Gerald Hale, USCG (Ret.) was named the Chaplain and Director of Character Development.

The Chapel contains a 1961 M.P. Moller Pipe Organ donated by the Richard King Mellon family. The organ was dedicated in May 1965, by the Alumni, to Constance Prosser Mellon, wife of Lieutenant General R.K. Mellon.


The singing of school songs are a tradition at VFMAC. The main songs, among others, are "VFMAC Alma Mater" and "the Line of Gray" and "Spirit of the Forge" and the "Army Song." Typically, only the first and last verses of the Alma Mater are sung.

The Valley Forge Military Academy Regimental Band

VFMA Regimental Band on Parade, circa 1970

The Valley Forge Military Academy & College Regimental Band is world famous and has traveled to Europe many times in recent years to perform. The band will again be the lead group in the 2011 Lord Mayor's New Year's Day Parade in London.[10]

Additionally, some students in the school's band perform regularly on and off-campus on the school's Coronation Heraldic Fanfare Trumpets. The Herald Fanfare Trumpets were brought to Valley Forge in 1953 by Colonel D. Keith Feltham, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, L.R.A.M., A.R.C.M. who served as Bandmaster and Director of Music from September 1949 to June 1976.[11] (Bandmaster Dudley Keith Feltham served as Bandmaster of the 1st Battalion, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry from 1938 to 1949.[12] Colonel Feltham also introduced the British “Slow March” in approximately 1961.) The unique complement of trumpets are regularly used to perform at the Academy's weekly chapel services, and are frequently booked for off-campus events, both domestic and abroad. Today the collection consists of the full complement of voices, which consists of six B-flat soprano trumpets, six B-flat tenor trumpets, two G-bass trumpets, and two E-flat soprano trumpets. The original eight heraldic fanfare trumpets have been used on numerous ceremonial occasions associated with royalty: at Westminster Abbey to herald the Coronation of King George VI in 1937, at St. Paul's Cathedral to herald the Royal Silver Wedding Ceremony, at the wedding of then-Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, and at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

In January 1970, the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy, and the Valley Forge Military Academy Band under the leadership of Colonel D. Keith Feltham, performed the "1812 Overture" (full title: Festival Overture "The Year 1812", op. 49); by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky live at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. The concert was attended by then United States President Richard M. Nixon. After the rousing performance, Ormandy heralded the cadets as the "Philadelphia Orchestra of Military Bands" and was inspired to produce an updated recording of the overture. In the fall of 1970, the VFMA recorded their tracks of the production in Columbia Studios in New York City. In addition to the VFMA Band, the recording prominently featured the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, directed by Richard P. Condie.[13][14]

The current Bandmaster is Warrant Officer (II) Phil Evans, Royal Marines Band Service (Retired).[15]

VFMAC Field Music

Established in 1956, VFMAC Field Music is a separate unit of the Corps of Cadets and has its own officers and share the same barracks and tactical officer. It continues the long heritage of US military field music through the years of the nation's existence and so too of its armed forces. It also has a Drum and Bugle Corps legacy (through the use of brass instruments) and starting from AY 2011-2012 it also has a fife player in its rosters. Aside from its regular participation in school events, parades and on and off campus formations and other events, it has a storied history of appearances in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and has been assigned the honor of being the City of Philadelphia's honor guard for distinguished visitors to the city.

Academic and military preparatory programs

Valley Forge Military Academy Academic Programs

Shannon Hall during the Fall season.

Three distinct but connected groups comprise its academic programs: the Middle School (7th and 8th grades); the Buff & Blue Experience (9th and 10th grades); and the Pre-College experience (11th and 12th grades). In addition, cadets may elect to complete one post-graduate year at Valley Forge.

The Middle School is a small corps of young men. Three exclusive Middle School teachers present a full scope of academic disciplines, with core courses in Mathematics, Language Arts, Literature, Civics, Social Studies, General Sciences, Physical Education, and Character Education. Classes are divided separately between grades, but the Middle School interacts frequently as a group. To supplement classroom learning, Middle School cadets take frequent field trips to off-campus sites, such as Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Brandywine River Museum, and cultural experiences at the opera and museums. Teachers provide regular support in evening study hall and communicate to parents through bi-weekly emails.

The Buff & Blue Experience provides structure and independence for freshman and sophomore cadets. Teachers engage in team-teaching, class events, and interdisciplinary research projects in the ninth and tenth grades. Mathematics courses at all levels are available, and students generally take Literary Genres and American Literature, Ancient and Modern World History, Physical Science and Chemistry, and a variety of electives and languages. Study Skills instruction is provided in 9th grade, and 10th graders concentrate on PSAT and SAT preparation. These grades are housed together in the barracks and receive interdisciplinary support from members of their teaching teams. Parent communication is provided bi-weekly, and additional support measures are put in place as needed. Buff & Blue cadets often gain tactical leadership responsibilities, are widely involved in campus activities, and gain increasing personal independence as appropriate.

In the Pre-College Experience, team-teaching dissolves due to the Advanced Placement, elective, and college classes qualified cadets enroll in. Juniors and Seniors take upper level courses in all subjects, with advanced electives available in Art and Music. Seniors in good standing may take courses at Valley Forge Military College as their ability demonstrates, and these credits count toward both high school graduation requirements and college transfer credits. Cadets who show proficiency in college courses greatly distinguish themselves in the college admission process. Guidance counselors work regularly with junior and senior cadets to guide them in college selection, assist them in the application process, and prepare them for the transition to college life. Junior and senior cadets hold the highest positions in tactical leadership and guide many campus clubs and activities. Study hall support and parent communication are strong at this level also. A capstone public speaking presentation is required of all seniors.

A Post-Graduate year is available to students who have completed high school, but wish to perfect their grades and resume for the college admissions process. They may enroll in the academy and take classes in electives and core subjects as they choose. Guidance counselors also assist them in selecting and applying to the colleges of their choice.[16]

Valley Forge Military College Degree Programs

The Academic Program at VFMC leads to an Associate of Arts, an Associate of Science, or an Associate in Business Administration degree. The strong core curriculum, developed on the basis of careful analysis of the general education requirements of competitive colleges and universities, is the heart of the degree programs. Together with the courses require in the academic fields of study, the core programs provide the foundation for successful transfer to a four-year college and long-term academic success.

There are five degree programs at the college. They are Justice and Security Studies, Liberal Arts, Health and Biological Sciences, Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Business Administration.

Valley Forge Military College and Misericordia University signed a formal articulation agreement that will enable nursing students to matriculate to the university to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.SN.) degree beginning in the 2011–12 academic year.

Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps and Early Commissioning Program

VFMC offers the Army ROTC Early Commissioning Program (ECP). Successful completion of this two-year program results in a cadet earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army upon graduating as a sophomore from VFMC.[17] Graduates who are commissioned serve in the Reserve Components (Army Reserve or Army National Guard) while completing their bachelor's degrees. Those who desire active service may compete for a position and serve in the Active Component of the Army after earning their bachelor's degree. Those selected enter active duty as a First Lieutenant, with earned longevity. Those who desire to remain in the Reserve Components after completing their bachelor's degree still have two years of leadership experience and, in addition to a full-time career in the private sector, and will have continued leadership opportunities in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard. ECP Lieutenants are obligated to serve for a total of eight years upon commissioning: the initial two years are served in the Reserve Components (Army Reserve or Army National Guard), and the additional six years are served in either the Reserve Components or the Active Component, dependent upon the needs of the Army.

Early Commissioning Program eligibility

Basic ECP eligibility and entrance requirements include a minimum cumulative high school GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale (2.5 for scholarship); a minimum SAT score of 850 (Math and Verbal sections only) or ACT score of 17 (920 / 19 for scholarship); pass a Department of Defense Medical Examination (arranged by Army ROTC); pass the Army height/weight and physical fitness standards; have U.S. citizenship (original naturalization document issued by INS or state issued birth certificate); and be between 17 and 27 years of age and of good moral character.

Cadets may also take the first two years of Army ROTC while attending VFMC. VFMA does not offer the Junior ROTC program.

Valley Forge Military College Service Academy Preparatory Program

The Valley Forge Military College Service Academy Preparation Program (SAP) has as its mission the preparation of qualified college and academy cadets, who have achieved excellence both academically and tactically, for nomination to one of the five federal service academies. These young men and women work together and support each other with the goal of gaining admission to the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. VFMC’s SAP Program is guided by each academy's particular need. It works closely with each of the federal academies. The hallmark of the program is a personalized curriculum to ensure each cadet is fully prepared for the rigorous academic, physical fitness, moral-ethical issues, and leadership challenges.


The entire student body participates in an organized sport either in the intramural, club or varsity levels. VFMA is a member of the PIAA and competes in 13 inter-school sports teams and VFMC is a member of the NJCAA, Region 19, with 11 men's and women's sports.

Valley Forge Military Academy and College in film

Much of the movie Taps (1981), starring George C. Scott and Timothy Hutton, was filmed on the academy's campus. Many of its young stars, including Hutton, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise, participated in a 45-day period of orientation with the students of the academy to learn to drill properly as cadets.[18] While most of the actors enjoyed and excelled at their orientation, Cruise opted to leave the training for the comforts of a nearby hotel until filming began, reportedly to isolate himself and "get into the mindset" of his psychopathic character, Cadet Captain David Shawn.[18] Although Taps was presented as depicting core values, including honor and loyalty, in a positive light, after the filming, LTG Pearson realized that there was an anti-military tone within the plot of the movie. A note in the credits says the events in the film are not meant to reflect "the educational philosophy or teachings" of then-Valley Forge Military Academy and Junior College.[19]

Notable alumni








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  9. "VFMA&C Plebe System Demystified". YouTube. September 3, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
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  18. 1 2 "The #1 Tom Cruise Resource » Taps". December 26, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2010.
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