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West Point History : Notable Graduates

Notable Graduates
The United States Military Academy ranks fourth among the nation's colleges and universities in number of Rhodes Scholars with 90. Since 1973, 40 cadets have earned Hertz Foundation fellowships in Applied Physical Science disciplines, and 36 cadets since 1983 have been awarded a Marshall Scholarship to attend a British university.
CLASS OF 1808

Sylvanus Thayer
Preeminent educator, "Father of the Military Academy"; originated technical education in America and established the educational philosophy and discipline still followed at the Military Academy.

CLASS OF 1815

Benjamin L.E. Bonneville
Explored and mapped the Great Salt Lake and the Green, Snake, Salmon and Yellowstone Rivers, venturing into the unknown American West. His explorations were memorialized.

CLASS OF 1818

Horace Webster
Founder of Hobart College, 1822; founder and president of City College of New York 1848-69.

CLASS OF 1819

George Washington Whistler
Eminent civil engineer; chosen by the Czar of Russia to build a railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

CLASS OF 1822

David Moniac
Moniac, a Creek Indian, was the first Native American and first minority graduate from the Academy.

CLASS OF 1824

Dennis Hart Mahan
Distinguished educator and writer; world renowned scholar taught the science of war to numerous Army officers.

CLASS OF 1827

Leonidas Polk
Episcopal bishop of Louisana; served as lieutenant general of the Confederate States of America; honorary degree of Sacred Theology from Columbia University; founded the University of the South at Sewanee in 1857.

CLASS OF 1828

Jefferson Davis
Member of Congress from Mississippi 1845-461; senator from Mississippi 1847-51, 1857-61; Secretary of War from 1853-57; President of the Confederate States of America.

CLASS OF 1829

Robert E. Lee
Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy 1852-55; General in Chief, Confederate Armies; president of Washington & Lee University 1865-70.

CLASS OF 1832

Benjamin S. Ewell
President of the College of William & Mary 1854-88.

CLASS OF 1835

George G. Meade
Commander of the Army of the Potomac; victorious in the Battle of Gettysburg.

CLASS OF 1837

John Sedgwick
Sedgwick was the Commander of the Union VI Corps during the Civil War and was killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania.

CLASS OF 1840

George Henry Thomas
The "Rock of Chickamauga."

William Tecumseh Sherman
President of Louisiana State University; "March to the Sea" Civil War campaign; commander of the Armies of the United States.

CLASS OF 1843

Ulysses S. Grant
General in Chief, Armies of the United States; President of the United States, 1869-77.

CLASS OF 1846

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
Lieutenant general and a corps commander of the Confederate Army; killed at Chancellorsville.

George B. McClellen
Graduating second in his class, McClellan served as Commanding General of the Army from 1861-62. He was nominated for President in 1864, and served as governor of his home state of N.J., from 1878-1881. Fort McClellan, Ala., was named in his honor.

George E. Pickett
At Gettysburg, Pa., in 1863, Pickett led more than 4,500 Confederate troops over half a mile of broken ground against withering artillery and musket fire. With parade drill precision they descended one slope, ascended the next, and assaulted the formidable Union line only to be forced back in defeat. Less than one fourth of the troops returned from the charge. The event, which was later called "Pickett's Charge," proved to be a turning point in the war. He continued to serve the Confederacy with great devotion throughout 1864 and 1865. Fort Pickett, Va., was named in his honor.

CLASS OF 1847

Ambrose P. Hill
Hill is best known for his performance as an aggressive Confederate division commander who could move his troops at astonishing speeds. His finest hour was the forced march from Harper's Ferry to Antietam, which saved Lee's Army during the Civil War. In May of 1863, Lee described Hill as “the best soldier of his grade with me.” Fort A. P. Hill, Va., was named in his honor.

CLASS OF 1854

Oliver O. Howard
Founder and president of Howard University.

James E. B. Stuart
As a cavalry officer and later as commanding general of cavalry in the Confederate Army, Stuart distinguished himself and his cavalry brigade for acts of valor and gallantry. He fought in many fierce battles, including the Battle of Seven Pines; he led multiple raids on Gen. Ewell's depots; he protected the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg. He was killed during a battle against forces commanded by Sheridan.

CLASS OF 1861

George A. Custer
After establishing a reputation of daring and brilliance in battle, Custer served as an aide to Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, Class of 1846, during the Peninsular Campaign and was commissioned a brigadier general at the age of 23. After conducting several successful operations in 1864, he was placed at the head of the 3rd Division, Calvary Corps, and was brevetted major general of volunteers. In 1876, he and his regiment of 655 men were defeated at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

CLASS OF 1877

Henry O. Flipper
Civil and mining engineer in Southwest U.S. and Mexico; first African-American graduate of the Military Academy.
CLASS OF 1880

George Washington Goethals
Architect and builder of the Panama Canal.

CLASS OF 1886

John J. Pershing
Commander-in-chief of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War I; General of the Armies 1919.

CLASS OF 1889

Antonio Barrios
Barrios, the Academy’s first international cadet to graduate, went on to serve as Guatemala’s minister of public works.

CLASS OF 1903

Douglas MacArthur
Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy 1919-22; Army Chief of Staff 1930-35; Supreme Commander of the Pacific 1941-45; Supreme Commander, UN Forces Korea 1950-51.

CLASS OF 1906

Adna R. Chaffee, Jr.
Chaffee is known as the “father of the Armor Branch.” Despite a lifelong love of horses and riding, he spearheaded the movement of the American Army into "armored warfare."

CLASS OF 1907

Henry H. "Hap" Arnold
pioneer of Army Aviation; General of the Air Force 1949.

CLASS OF 1909

George S. Patton, Jr.
Member of the 1912 U.S. Olympic Team; commanding general of the 7th Army 1942-44, commander of the 3rd Army European Theater 1944-45.

CLASS OF 1915

Omar N. Bradley
Commanding general, lst Army, 12th Army Group European Theater in World War II; Army Chief of Staff 1948-49; first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1949-53; chairman of the board of Bulova Watch Company 1958.

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe 1943-45; Army Chief of Staff 1945-48; president of Columbia University 1948; President of the United States 1953-61.

CLASS OF 1917

Mark W. Clark
Clark succeeded Ridgway as U.S. and Supreme Allied Commander, Far East, from 1952-53. He successfully negotiated the armistice with the Communist forces in North Korea in July 1953, and later served as president of The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S.C., from 1954-65.

Matthew B. Ridgway
Ridgway served in many positions during World War II, including commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division and commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Later, he served as U.S. and Supreme Allied Commander, Far East, from 1951-52, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1952-53, and Army Chief of Staff from 1953-55.

CLASS OF 1922

Maxwell D. Taylor
Commanded the 101st Airborne Division on D-Day, and during the Battle of the Bulge and the drive through Germany. Taylor served as Superintendent, USMA, 1945-49. He returned to Germany as U.S. Commander, Berlin, 1949-51, then took command of the Eighth Army, Korea, 1953-54. Taylor was Army Chief of Staff, 1955-59 and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1962-64; after retirement in 1964, with the rank of General, Taylor served as U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, 1964.

CLASS OF 1929

Frank D. Merrill
Commanded the 5307th Composite Unit, also known as Merrill's Marauders, in 1944. Following World War II, Merrill served as Chief of Staff of the Western Defense Command, and later served as Chief of Staff and as Commander of the 6th Army. In 1947, he became deputy Chief of the American Military Advisory Mission to the Philippines.

CLASS OF 1933

William O. Darby
Darby organized and commanded the 1st U.S. Army Ranger Battalion in 1942. From 2,000 volunteers, Darby selected and trained 500 Rangers that successfully operated in North Africa and Tunisia. Darby trained and organized two more Ranger Battalions in 1943. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Ranger Battalions were known as "Darby's Rangers," and were famous for their endeavors in the Sicilian and Italian campaigns. He was killed while leading a task force from the 10th Mountain Division in Northern Italy and posthumously promoted to brigadier general.

CLASS OF 1936

Creighton W. Abrams, Jr.
Abrams commanded the 37th Tank Battalion in World War II. He served in the Korean War as a Corps Chief of Staff and commanded at all levels from regiment through corps. General Abrams commanded the U.S. Army Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, from 1968 to 1972. He successfully ensured the safe withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam at the end of the conflict. Appointed Chief of Staff of the Army in 1972, he guided the rebuilding of the Army. The Abrams main battle tank is named in his honor.

CLASS OF 1941

Alexander R. Nininger
Killed before his 24th birthday, Alexander "Sandy" Nininger died a hero. His heroism, character and commitment to the West Point ideals of Duty, Honor and Country made him worthy of emulation by future Army Officers. Nininger single-handedly charged into the enemy positions with a rifle, grenades and fixed bayonet. For his heroism "above and beyond the call of duty," President Roosevelt posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor. In his honor for outstanding leadership and the virtues he embodied, the Corps of Cadets named the First Division of Cadet Barracks in his memory.

William T. Seawell
Commandant of Cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy 1961-63; former chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Pan Am World Airways.

CLASS OF 1946

Wesley W. Posvar
Rhodes Scholar; chancellor, University of Pittsburgh.

Reuben Pomerantz
Former president, Holiday Inns of America.
CLASS OF 1947

Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
Chief of Staff to the president 1973-74; Supreme Allied Commander in Europe 1974-79; president, United Technologies Corporation 1980-81; Secretary of State 1981-82.

Brent Scowcroft
Military assistant to the President, 1972; National Security Advisor, Bush Administration.

CLASS OF 1949

John G. Hayes
Former president, Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Ralph Puckett
Puckett formed and commanded the 8th Army Ranger Company during the Korean War. Following the war, Puckett served as commander of the Mountain Ranger Division of the Ranger Department, and as the Ranger advisor in the U.S. Army Mission to Colombia where he planned and established the Colombian Army Ranger School.

CLASS OF 1950

Frank Borman
Astronaut 1962-70; commander of the first circumlunar flight; president of Eastern Airlines.

Fidel V. Ramos
One of the Academy’s international cadets, Ramos served as a Philippine Army officer after graduation. He eventually became the country’s military’s Chief of Staff and later Secretary of National Defense. He later served as President of the Republic of the Philippines from 1992-1998.

CLASS OF 1951

Roscoe Robinson, Jr.
Commanding general, 82nd Airborne Division 1976-78; commanding general, U.S. Army Japan 1980-82; U.S. Representative to NATO Military Committee, 1982-85; first African American four-star general in the Army, 1982.

Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin
Astronaut 1963-72; participated in the first manned lunar landing.

CLASS OF 1952

Thoralf M. Sundt
Doctor of Neurosurgery at the Mayo Clinic.

Edward White II
Astronaut 1962-67; first American to walk in space, 1965; died in Apollo spacecraft fire, 1967.

Michael Collins
Astronaut 1964-70; command module pilot, first manned lunar landing; director of the National Air & Space Museum.

CLASS OF 1953

Randolph Araskog
President and chairman of IT&T.

CLASS OF 1954

John R. Galvin
Among his many position, Galvin served as the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the Commander-in-Chief, United States European Command from 1987-1992.

CLASS OF 1956

H. Norman Schwarzkopf
As Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command from 1988-91, Schwarzkopf's command ultimately responded to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait with the largest U.S. deployment since the Vietnam War, including portions of the Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps as well as units from dozens of nations around the world. The success of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm marked what former President George Bush hailed as "the beginning of a new era of internationalism." After retiring, Schwarzkopf received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CLASS OF 1957

John Block
Secretary of Agriculture, Reagan Administration, 1981-86.

CLASS OF 1959

Pete Dawkins
Rhodes Scholar, Heisman Trophy Winner, Chairman and CEO Primerica.

CLASS OF 1962

James V. Kimsey
Kimsey was the founding chairman of America On Line, and in 1996 was named their chairman emeritus. He also founded the Kimsey Foundation in 1996.

CLASS OF 1964

Barry R. McCaffrey
McCaffrey’s many positions during his 32 years of military service include serving as deputy U.S. Representative to NATO from 1988-89, and later as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Southern Command from 1994-96. After his retirement, he served as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Clinton administration from 1997-2001.

CLASS OF 1969

Michael W. Krzyzewski
Krzyzewski currently serves as the head men’s basketball coach for Duke University.

CLASS OF 1976

Richard Morales, Jr.
Morales was the first Hispanic cadet to serve as First Captain (cadet brigade commander).

CLASS OF 1980

Andrea Lee Hollen
Rhodes Scholar. First woman graduate of USMA.

CLASS OF 1990

Kristin Baker
First woman Brigade Commander, U.S. Corps of Cadets.