Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department

Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department


(from "Through Their Eyes: What Really Happened in the World's Toughest Plebe System.)

The heat and humidity that had defined the summer and autumn switched to a frigid coastal smack in the face as winter's chill slammed into us no less forcefully than the system itself had almost four months earlier. In a matter of days we went from parboiling to freeze drying and the Ashley River's ever present grip crackled as it tightened around us. First we switched to thick cadet grey wool trousers with field jackets, but deep winter was impatient and in her vengeance she swept in and dropped the low country temperatures to the low thirties and high twenties. Soon we switched from field jackets to overcoats with mufflers. During the day we k**bs walked in the gutters and our breaths gave the impression of tiny steam engines as we chugged our way to class. At night when we marched to evening mess, the steam from the mechanical plant produced phantom mists that erupted from the old sidewalk grates and we momentarily disappeared into the ghostly clouds as if to join the departed graduates who had come before us, only to emerge when we reached the mess hall's steps.
(Various observations from folks after reading about The Citadel.)

Graduates of all years: Great! Brought back so many memories! Some good, some bad, but all unforgettable.

Parents of graduates: Oh my gosh. If I’d known what my cadet was going through I'd have had a nervous breakdown.

X-girlfriend: No (censored) wonder you were so (censored) screwed-up when we were dating.

High school classmates: Holy cow! You were going through that when we were at UGA?

Parents of upcoming cadets: This was such an eye-opener. I hope my cadet can take it.

Distant relatives: It was a military school?


Charlestonians: Unbelievably, that goes on right here in our town.

Neighbors: No offense but I'd die before I sent my kid there.

Drop-outs: That place ain't so hard.
(from Summer's End, Copyright © 2016)

When Cooper took charge for drill on that last day before the k**bs arrived, he marched the cadre platoon far to the other end of the parade ground and took them around its edges. With computerized precision, the platoon pivoted right, wheeled left, marched to the rear and flanked each way under his command like a well-oiled machine. As they headed back Ronnie noticed Cooper laughing and talking to the guys and generally coming out of command character. When they were fifteen feet from the senior, Cooper yelled, "PLATOON ... HALT!" Then he goose-stepped up to Ronnie, came to a clicked heel stop, snapped a razor salute with a huge grin and announced, "India cadre is ready, sir."

Ronnie returned Cooper’s salute without smiling. "Pretty sharp. What was that last thing you did?"

"Oh just a little high-stepping," Cooper grinned. "We used to do it in JROTC at my high school."

Ronnie nodded. "Uh-huh. That was sharp but don’t ever do it again if the Commandant is watching. In fact, stick to the FM 22-5 without adding anything ... no matter how sharp you think it is. N***s do that crap. Soviets do it. But we never goose step. That’s for tin pot dictators who need to prove something that they’re not sure of themselves. If they were really that good they wouldn’t need to parade like idiots. Don’t ever let me see you do that again. You read me?"

Cooper blushed deep red and stared down at the grass. "Yeah Ronnie. I’m sorry man."

"Fall back in," Ronnie said as he shook his head and smiled at the cadet corporal. All was forgiven but the lesson wasn’t lost on the rest of us as Cooper double-timed to the back of the platoon and stood at attention.

"Everybody fall out in the bleachers," Ronnie ordered.

When we were all seated he crossed his arms and planted his feet like the Colossus of Rhodes. Looking into each of our faces he said, "What I’ve got to say doesn’t apply to last year’s cadre as much as it does to you sophomores. Guys, I know you’re excited to be back. I was excited to be on cadre when I was a sophomore. It’s only normal. But the one thing we don’t need is for all of the excitement to cloud our judgement. Do any of you sophomores remember anything unprofessional about cadre last year? Anybody?"

No one moved a muscle.

"That’s right. We didn’t screw around and you know it. And your class came out pretty well as a result. The fact that you were picked for cadre doesn’t mean that you’re any better than your non-cadre classmates. Everybody was pushed through the same meat grinder during k**b year and any of them could have just as easily been here as you. But the fact is you’re here so it’s up to you to take charge tomorrow."

Uncrossing his arms he hooked his thumbs behind his belt and relaxed some. "You guys are the spear tip of a tradition that began over a hundred years ago. It’s a tradition that’s been handed-down every year from class-to-class and you’ve got a mandate from all of the graduates who came before you to grab the baton and run with it just like they did. It’s your duty to the k**bs, it’s your duty to the Corps and it’s your duty to yourselves. But you’ve also got a duty to somebody else. You owe a duty to the parents. They didn’t birth their kids, go to the trouble and heartache of raising them and then pay all of that money just to have you new cadre screw things up. Am I making myself clear?"

We nodded.

Relaxing his jaw, he pushed his cap backward a few inches and his voice took on a more amiable and an almost big brotherly quality. "Guys, you’re in the best physical and mental condition of your lives. You’re sharp and you know the ropes and you’re every bit as ready as any cadre that came before you. These new kids and their parents are depending on you to deliver the best plebe system that money can buy. When they start pouring through that front gate tomorrow morning I have no doubts that you’ll perform as well as all of the cadres that came before you. But remember this: whatever happens to the new k**bs under your leadership will be branded in their memories forever. You never forget that first day, that first cadre corporal or that first cadre sergeant and you never forget all of the sweat and tears that you shed during the entire year."

Then he pulled his cap brim back down over his eyes and firmed his chin like stone. "Give them their money’s worth guys. Give them the same system you got when you were k**bs. Give them a system that’ll tear them down, forge them into men and create the bonds that’ll last a lifetime. Give them all of the experiences we shared so that many years from now when they are old and grey and stooped-over with age, they can laugh and raise their glasses together and drink to each other’s health as well as to the ones who have passed-on who live only in their memories. Give it everything you’ve got, guys. Make it last forever."
(from "Through Their Eyes: What Really Happened In The World's Toughest Plebe System.")

The yelling, the insults, the curses and screamed corrections were just part of life. We learned to expect the sneak attacks, the ambushes on the galleries, the surprise visits to our rooms, the quick sweat parties for small uniform infractions and the extended sweat parties for more serious violations. It was all part of the game and we were getting the hang of it.

But there was one event that we never got used to. From the beginning of cadre until Recognition, this encounter always struck fear into our hearts and it was articulated in four little words: "Drive by my room."

The reasons for such an order were legion and they could have simply meant that a k**b was needed to run messages around the battalion. On the other hand it could mean that he was in serious trouble. Either way, when a k**b heard those words panic ruled because a visit to an upperclassman’s room usually meant one thing: PAIN, especially if it was a trip to the guidon corporal's room.

The rank of guidon corporal was a high honor. The guidon corporal carried the pennant in front of the company during parades and PT runs along with doing the clerk paperwork for the company. The position was usually held for a semester by the sophomore with the highest academic average who also had the military thing all in one sock. Predictably, the guidon corporal often ended up commanding the company during his senior year or else holding another high office somewhere else in the Corps. He was also the meanest sophomore in the company and we were very much afraid of him.

Whenever a k**b reported there was a prescribed protocol that had to be followed to the letter. Stopping directly across from the door, the k**b stepped across the gallery, grabbed the screen door's handle, banged it twice, and yelled, "Sir Mr. (whoever) sir, Cadet (whoever) reporting as ordered SIR!" The k**b then backed up to his side of the gallery and waited for a response. If he wasn't loud enough, he was told to try it again. He screamed it even louder after which the upperclassman usually yelled, "GET IN HERE!"

But sometimes the k**b flubbed his report-to announcement so completely that the fireworks started before he even got inside the room. Such was the case with k**b Sam Applewood who was reporting for the supreme offense of letting the guidon corporal's tea glass remain empty for more than thirty seconds.

Sam was a Yankee. That was his first mistake. But he was also a New York Yankee. Strike two. On top of everything else he blurted his words and had that most un-Southern way of speaking in a way that even under normal conditions we had to ask him to repeat himself several times before we got the gist of what he was saying. But a visit to an upperclassman's room, particularly the guidon corporal's room, was sufficient enough to increase his speaking speed from the usual 78 rpm to an unintelligible fast forward that sounded like Minnie Mouse on three shots of caffeine.

On this particular day the guidon corporal, who we affectionately called Pelican, was already stressed about a test and he was in no mood for a mush-mouthed k**b who spoke without taking breaths or using the briefest of pauses between his words.

After bamming the screen door twice, Sam yelled, "Sir Mr. Pelican sir! Cadet Applewood, S. reporting as ordered, sir." But it came out, "Sirmrpelicansircadetapplewoodsreportingasorderedsir," just like those long German words that go on forever.



"Louder and slow it down, stupid!"


Pelican was livid. From our room next door, Ebb and I felt Pelican's chair go backward across the hardwood and it slammed into his roommate's full press. Taking several long strides to the door, the guidon corporal yanked it open, jumped across the gallery and shoved his nose up against the trembling k**b's nose. "What in the &%$#[email protected] hell is wrong with you? Are you channeling an alien who can't speak English or are you just a re**rd?"




"Well I'll tell you what, Mr. Surnicutestovercuter, or whatever the hell you're saying. Until further notice whenever you report to my door you will say one word at a time followed by the word sh-t, followed by the next word and then sh-t, until you're finished. And I'd better be able to understand each and every word you say! NOW TRY IT AGAIN!" he yelled as he stepped back inside his room and slammed the door.

Sam thought a moment, and tried to put it all together. His mind wasn't wired to be creative on the spur of the moment and he stood there mouthing the words to himself, hoping to create a sentence that would get him through the door with a minimum of problems. Of course once he was inside, there was no telling what awaited him, but he could only tackle one thing at a time.

"SAY IT!" Pelican yelled.

"Sir--sh-t--Mr.--sh-t--Pelican--sir--I mean--sh-t--cadet--sh-t--Applewood--S--reporting--as--I mean--sh-t--ordered--sh-t--sir."




The Official page for use by the Citadel English Department.

Operating as usual

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 06/12/2021

More photos from the recent gala for Professor David Allen, which marked his retirement from The Citadel after nearly 40 years of service. We'll miss him!

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 06/11/2021

The Citadel hosted a gathering to celebrate the retirement of Col. David Allen, long-time English professor and current Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. Speakers included retired Associate Provost Mark Bebensee and Prof. Allen's former students Mark Brandenburg '89 and Rev. Robert Sturdy '03. Provost Sally Selden presented Col. Allen with a framed photograph of Capers Hall, since Prof. Allen was leaving The Citadel at just the same time as Capers is! Prof. Allen received a standing ovation for his nearly 40 years of service at the end of the event.

Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker named 2021 Academy of American Poets fellow 06/03/2021

Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker named 2021 Academy of American Poets fellow

Congratulations to Marcus Amaker, wonderful poet and friend of our Lowcountry Writing Project!

Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker named 2021 Academy of American Poets fellow Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker is among 23 wordsmiths from across the county named a 2021 fellow by the Academy of American Poets.

Catch-up: ITV News Granada Reports for the North West and the Isle of Man | ITV News 06/03/2021

Catch-up: ITV News Granada Reports for the North West and the Isle of Man | ITV News

Check out Citadel English professor Michael Livingston interviewed on the British evening news about the findings of his new book, _Never Greater Slaughter: Brunanburh and the Birth of England_. The piece starts at about the 20 minute mark. Mike discusses the famous 10th-century Battle of Brunanburh against the Vikings and historians' long search for its historical location. Notice all the boxes behind him: he was moving out of Capers when ITV News came calling!

Catch-up: ITV News Granada Reports for the North West and the Isle of Man | ITV News Catch-up with the ITV Granada Reports programme on weekdays for 24 hours after it is broadcast on ITV.

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 06/01/2021

A last few pictures from the Capers move out. It is very strange indeed to see the Achurch Room totally empty and our Fine Arts room, 109 Capers, used as a storage area for doors! Faculty will really miss the built-in bookshelves of the Capers offices...

ABT Across America | Charleston Gaillard Center 05/28/2021

ABT Across America | Charleston Gaillard Center

Come enjoy Fine Arts on a summer evening at The Citadel! On July 17, the American Ballet Theater will put on a free performance open to the public, right here on The Citadel campus.

ABT Across America | Charleston Gaillard Center This is a free event, but please RSVP below. First-come, first-served. ABT Across America. American Ballet Theatre will take to the road this summer, traveling by bus and truck to 8 U.S. cities including Charleston, South Carolina. The Charleston Gaillard Center will present ABT Across America for a...

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/28/2021

More scenes from the great Capers move-out! Here's what is left of the English, Fine Arts, and Communications office (126 Capers). It's the end of an era! Fortunately, we were able to take to our new offices the departmental mail boxes made for us by Professor Philip Leon many years ago. The thin wood panelling, however, will have to stay...

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/26/2021

Scenes from the great Capers move-out! Here is 117 Capers, the largest classroom in the building, now being used for storage. It is all supposed to come down July 1!

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/21/2021

Just another example of our generous Citadel alumni! Here is a book from Angela Errera (nee Gabella) '03 that she presented to beloved English professor Col. Philip Leon back in 2008. Dr. Leon was a student of the medical and philosophical writings of the eminent nineteenth-century physician Sir William Osler. He donated Angie Gabella's thoughtful gift to our department's library after his retirement. Dr. Leon died in 2012. We still miss him!

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/17/2021

One of our generous donors to the Doyle Memorial Library in 111 Capers Hall was Professor Tony Redd. Here is just one of the many books of his that we have in the collection! The departmental library is in storage now, but we'll reconstitute it in the new Humanities and Social Sciences building in 2023!

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/14/2021

The John Doyle Memorial Library was created by The Citadel's Department of English in 1975, in honor of the long-time Citadel professor, department head, and Robert Frost scholar Col John Robert Doyle, Jr. It was housed in the Achurch Room, 111 Capers Hall, and over time it grew to hold over 1,500 books. As we move out of Capers Hall this week, we've had to reduce the size of the collection to its most important volumes, but we've put those into storage until our new building is built. Here is the original guest book for the opening of the departmental library and the names of the original contributors!

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/12/2021

202 Capers Hall: where old technology goes to die! Were any of you students here in the days of the overhead projector? In the days when a professor had to wheel in a tubed television on a cart in order to show a VHS tape? Not pictured: James Rembert's portable record player and Phil Leon's slide projector... (Technology graveyard courtesy of the move-out from Capers--we're in the last week!)


My Journey From Marine To Actor


How many of you read this correctly the first time through?

How many of you read this correctly the first time through?

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 05/07/2021

The Citadel held its annual Baccalaureate service yesterday in Summerall Chapel. The guest chaplain who delivered the sermon was none other than Citadel English graduate Col. John Painter '89, who works in the office of the Deputy Chief of USAF Chaplains at the Pentagon. He had much to say about his life as a knob and how faith, determination, and perseverance led him to success at The Citadel and beyond. Here is Chaplain Painter with English, Fine Arts, and Communications department head Prof. Scott Lucas.

Photos from Citadel English, Fine Arts, and Communications Department's post 04/28/2021

The Citadel's Fine Arts program held its annual awards dinner at the new Swain Boating Center on The Citadel's campus. Cadet, veteran, and active-duty students were honored for their achievements in artistic creation. Congratulations to Major Tiffany Silverman and her Fine Arts faculty--Rick Sargent, Kevin Free, Nakeisha Daniel, Tim Smith, and Dan Hawkins--for all they accomplished with their students this year!


Last Open Mic of the semester at a special waterfront location!

Celebrate the last day of class with cadet musicians at the new boathouse on Tuesday from 1730-1930.

#renaissancecadet #livemusic #openmic #artatthecitadel #thecitadel #charlestonmusic #lastdayofclass


Masks are still mandatory on The Citadel's campus, even for General Mark W. Clark!

Masks are still mandatory on The Citadel's campus, even for General Mark W. Clark!


A student in Prof Free's Forensic Photography class, Fine Arts minor @alcatraz577 puts these in-demand skills to work as an intern with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Great job, Nick!

#forensicphotography #artwork #artjobs #photography #ourmightycitadel

Repost from @citadelcareer


Congrats to Fine Arts minor @netta_bean for this recognition of her incredible dedication to service! Way to go!!


Thanks to alumnus Chad Powell Youngblood for this one!

Thanks to alumnus Chad Powell Youngblood for this one!


Daniel Library's book recommendation of the week is guest provided by Aubrey Carson, Administrative Specialist, Citadel Department of English, Fine Arts, and Communications:

I had the good fortune of reading Rupi Kaur’s first collection, Milk and Honey, when I joined The Citadel over two years ago, and immediately sought out and devoured her second collection, The Sun and Her Flowers. Kaur released her third collection, home body, last November, and it has instantly become my favorite of the three.

Born in Punjab, India, and raised in Canada, Rupi Kaur draws inspiration from Sikh scriptures and pairs her poems with her own illustrations. She discusses topics ranging from love, healing, heritage, broken relationships, body positivity, and so much more. Kaur pours every emotion and experience into her work, and you feel it instantly. If I could describe her work in one word, it would be "bittersweet."

What I love most about Kaur’s poetry is that it is so brilliantly accessible and so painfully relevant. Make yourself a cup of tea, sit down with home body (or one of her other collections), and be prepared to look in a mirror. You will most certainly find a piece of yourself in Rupi Kaur’s work.


Cadets: You'll never make this mistake again , if you sign up for PHIL 201, Intro to Philosophy, for Fall 2021!

Cadets: You'll never make this mistake again , if you sign up for PHIL 201, Intro to Philosophy, for Fall 2021!






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