Beginning on R-Day, the entering cadet class is paired with an alumni class that is fifty years its senior. Over the next four years, the graduates will accompany their affiliated cadets at significant Academy events (e.g. Cow Affirmation Ceremony, Ring Weekend, Branch Night).
As cadets “Grip Hands” with those who preceded them a half-century earlier, the 50-year Affiliation Program has matured to become an indispensable element in not only the development of cadets but also in the strengthening of the Long Gray Line.
Please direct any questions about this program to the Office of Class Support, 845.446.1614 50YearAffiliation@wpaog.org
This event, the initial element of the Affiliation program, kicks off around 6:00am on R-Day at Ike’s Cafe in Eisenhower Hall. With a dozen members—graduates and spouses—of the Affiliation Class present the purpose of this event is to provide the family and friends of the incoming New Cadets a place to relax, enjoy refreshments, and interact with grads. Later that day, members of the Affiliation Class move to Trophy Point to join families to witness the swearing-in ceremony that formally initiates the new Class into the Academy.
After having many graduates join the cadet Class for the March Back from summer training a member of the newest Affiliation Class joins members from the other three Affiliation Classes to comprise the Reviewing Party for the Acceptance Day Parade. The focus of this event is to welcome the Plebe Class into the Corps of Cadets, and the Affiliation Class Reviewing Party serves to reinforce the connection between this incoming Class and those that preceded it.
Class Crest Unveiling Ceremony
During Plebe Parent Weekend, in early March, two members of the Affiliation Class along with their spouses, join the Plebe Class and their families in the Mess Hall to witness the unveiling of the Plebe class crest. The 50 Year Affiliates in attendance are thanked by the class president during his/her remarks.
Yearling Flag Ceremony
For the past several years, this event has occurred at the promotion ceremony of Cadet Field Training at Camp Buckner. The Affiliation Class presents the new Yearling Class with its set of Class Colors which consists of a beautiful Class Flag mounted on a brass-tipped staff. The presentation of the colors is preceded by announcements of unit and individual awards for Cadet Field Training. At the conclusion of this event, the members of the Affiliation Class in attendance (approximately a half-dozen) join the awardees and class officers in a small reception.
Cow Affirmation Ceremony
During this momentous occasion which occurs the evening prior to the first day of classes, members of the Affiliation Class present members of the Cow Class with a joint Class Coin symbolizing the commitment of both to the Profession of Arms. During the ceremony an especially noteworthy member of the Affiliation Class addresses the Cow Class in Eisenhower Hall right before the Commandant administers the Affirmation Oath.
During Ring Weekend, two members of the Affiliation Class, with spouses, participate with the First Class in the Ring Presentation Ceremony, the Commandant’s Reception, the Ring Banquet, and the Ring Hop. Their presence at these events strengthens their Class connection with the cadet Class.
Branch Notification Night
First Class Cadets learn the results of their Branch selection during a November ceremony at Eisenhower Hall and the Affiliation Class is once again present. During this significant event a distinguished member of the Affiliation Class speaks to the First Class Cadets about the potential impact of their Branch assignments. Once the Affiliation speaker and Commandant have made their remarks to the Firsties, the First Captain tells the cadets to “Open Envelopes,” at which time they rip open the envelopes containing the official notification of their respective Branches. This notification takes the form of a set of Branch insignia—“First Brass”—provided courtesy of the Affiliation Class.
Graduation – 2LT Bar Presentation
As a fitting way to culminate the Affiliation Program, four distinguished members of the Affiliation Class present members of the about-to-be graduated Class with their first set of 2LT bars. Engraved on the backs of the brass are the last two digits of the graduation years of the cadet and Affiliation Class symbolizing the ever-lasting connection between these two Classes which has been forged over the four-year Affiliation relationship. This event is all the more memorable since the presentation of the 2LT bars occurs on the stage as the cadets are leaving the dais after receiving their diplomas. Prior to the beginning of the graduation exercise the Adjutant recognizes the presenters and the 50 Year Affiliation Program in its entirety, demonstrating the importance attached to this program by cadets, the Academy, and the Long Gray Line.