Notable Graduates

Notable Graduates

Notable Graduates

More than 80,000 men and women have graduated from the United States Military Academy since its founding in 1802. Below is a small sampling of graduates who made notable contributions to the military, academia, business, and overall history of the United States. 


Joseph Swift:  USMA’s first graduate; later served as its 3rd Superintendent (1812-1814).


Sylvanus Thayer: Army engineer, overseeing construction of several forts and defenses in our Nation’s early years. Served as USMA’s 5th Superintendent from 1817-1833. Known as the "Father of the Military Academy," he established the educational philosophy and discipline still followed at USMA. After retiring from the Army in 1863, he helped establish Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering and the West Point Association of Graduates.


George Ronan:  First graduate killed in action at Fort Dearborn (Chicago) during the War of 1812, while serving with the 1st Infantry Regiment.


George Washington WhistlerProminent civil engineer. Served in Corps of Artillery as a topographical engineer, surveying boundaries and various railroad construction. Selected by Czar Nicholas I of Russia to build that country’s first large-scale railroad, from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Father of James McNeill Whistler.


Dennis Hart MahanDistinguished scholar, author, and military engineer.  Taught civil and military engineering at USMA for more than four decades; also served as Chair of USMA’s Engineering Department. A globally recognized authority on military engineering, his writings were required reading for military professionals throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Founding member of the National Academy of Sciences.  Mahan Hall at West Point named in his honor.


George G. Meade: Union General during the Civil War. Commanded the Army of the Potomac, defeating General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.  Also fought at Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg, as well as in Overland and Appomattox Campaigns. Fort Meade in Maryland named in his honor.


John Sedgwick: Union Major General during the Civil War. As a division commander, was wounded in action at Battle of Antietam. Later commanded VI Corps during Battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Overland Campaign. Killed in action in 1864 at Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse (believed to be the highest-ranking Union officer killed during the war).


William Tecumseh Sherman: Noted Civil War Union general. Served under Grant as a division and corps commander at Shiloh and Vicksburg. As commander of Union troops in the War’s Western theater, led the successful capture of Atlanta and the subsequent "March to the Sea" campaign. Post-war, succeeded Grant as Commanding General of the Army. Prior to the Civil War, served as superintendent of what later became Louisiana State University.


George Henry Thomas: Union Major General during the Civil War. Commanded XIV Corps during Battle of Chickamauga, where his defense against Confederate forces earned him the nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga.” Later commanded the Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Chattanooga and the Franklin-Nashville Campaign of 1864. Post-war, commanded the Military Division of the Pacific.


Ulysses S. Grant: General who led Union forces to victory in the Civil War and later served as 18th President of the United States (1869-77). Served in the Mexican-American War; later joined the Union Army in 1861. Commanded various units through multiple campaigns before being named General in Chief of the Armies of the United States. In 2022, was approved for posthumous promotion to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States (only the third person in history to hold this rank, joining George Washington and John Pershing).


Oliver O. Howard: Union Major General during the Civil War, received the Medal of Honor as a brigade commander in the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862. Post-war, served as director of the Freedmen’s Bureau and 20th Superintendent of USMA (1881-1882). Co-founder and president of Howard University (1869-1874).

George B. McClellan: Union General during the Civil War, stood up and commanded the Army of the Potomac. Served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army during the Overland and Maryland Campaigns. Democratic nominee for President in 1864. Served as Governor of New Jersey from 1878-1881. Fort McClellan in Alabama named in his honor.

George A. Custer: Cavalry officer during the Civil War. Despite graduating last in his class, he quickly established a reputation of daring and brilliance in battle. Served as aide to Maj. Gen. George McClellan during the Peninsula Campaign. Later, at age 23, became one of the Union Army’s youngest generals. Commanded 3rd Division, Calvary Corps during Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley campaign. Near the war’s end, was brevetted a major general of volunteers. Commanded 7th U.S. Cavalry Regiment during the American Indian Wars. In 1876, he and his entire regiment were killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn (known today as “Custer’s Last Stand”).


Henry A. du Pont: Army officer, businessman and politician. Received Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Cedar Creek in 1864 during Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley campaign. President and General Manager of the Wilmington & Northern Railroad Company for 20 years. Served as U.S. Senator from Delaware from 1906-1917.


Henry O. Flipper: First African-American graduate of USMA. Served as an engineer with the 10th Cavalry Regiment (one of the Army’s four “Buffalo Soldier” regiments).


George Washington Goethals: Army civil engineer; architect and builder of the Panama Canal. Served as an engineering instructor at USMA (1885-1889) and as chief of engineers of United States Volunteers during the Spanish-American War. Upon completion of the canal, he was promoted to Major General and appointed as the first Civil Governor of the Panama Canal Zone. Appointed as acting Quartermaster General of the Army during World War I. The Goethals Bridge (connecting Staten Island and Elizabeth, NJ) is named in his honor.


John J. Pershing: Commander of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Also served as a troop commander in the “Buffalo Soldier” 10th Cavalry Regiment, a tactical instructor at USMA, commander of the Punitive Expedition into Mexico to capture Pancho Villa and as the 10th Chief of Staff of the Army (1921-1924). In 1919, was promoted to General of the Armies of the United States.


Antonio Barrios: USMA’s first international cadet to graduate; went on to serve as Guatemala’s minister of public works.


Charles Young: USMA’s third African-American graduate and first to achieve the rank of Colonel in the Army. Commanded Buffalo Soldier cavalry squadrons, 9th Ohio Infantry Regiment, and Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Served as a military science professor at Wilberforce College. First African-American national park superintendent and military attaché. In 2022, was posthumously promoted to brigadier general.

Douglas MacArthur: Served as Chief of Staff of the 42nd (Rainbow) Division during World War I; Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area during World War II; and Supreme Commander, US Forces Korea during the Korean War. Served as 31st Superintendent of USMA (1919-1922) where he instituted several reforms, including mandatory athletics for all Cadets. Also served as 13th Chief of Staff of the Army (1930-1935) and president of the American Olympic Committee for the 1926 summer games. Medal of Honor recipient for his service in the World War II Philippine campaign. Promoted to General of the Army in 1944.


Adna R. Chaffee, Jr.: Army cavalry officer who became known as the “Father of the Armor Branch” for his role in developing the U.S. Army’s mechanized armored forces. Served with 81st Division in World War I during St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. In 1940, named first commander of I Armored Corps. Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center in Arkansas named in his honor.


Henry H. "Hap" Arnold: Army aviation pioneer, commanded Army Air Force during World War II.  Promoted to General of the Army in 1946 and later appointed General of the Air Force in 1949.  Founded Project RAND (later the RAND Corporation) and co-founded Pan-Am Airways.


George S. Patton, Jr.: Noted World War II general: led American amphibious landing at Casablanca during Operation Torch; commanded U.S. Seventh Army during Allied invasion of Sicily; and U.S. Third Army in bold sweep across northern France in 1944. Served as Pershing’s aide during Pancho Villa Expedition of 1916. First officer assigned to U.S. nascent tank corps during World War I. Pentathlete at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.



(The Class of 1915 has come to be known as “The Class the Stars Fell Upon,” boasting 59 graduates (36 percent of class) who became general officers, more than any other class in USMA history)

Omar N. Bradley: Noted World War II general who commanded II Corps during Tunisia Campaign and Sicily invasion, First Army during invasion of Normandy, and 12th U.S. Army Group. Also commanded 82nd Infantry Division, overseeing its transformation into first American airborne division. Post war, promoted to General of the Army, and served as head of the Veterans Administration, 17th Chief of Staff of the Army, and the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After retiring from the Army, chaired the Commission on Veterans’ Pensions, co-founded what would become the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.


Dwight D. Eisenhower: American military commander and statesman. Supreme Allied Commander of Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II, overseeing invasions of North Africa, Sicily and D-Day invasion of Normandy. Appointed to the rank of General of the Army. Post-WW2, served as 16th Chief of Staff of the Army and first Supreme Commander of NATO. President of Columbia University. Elected 34th President of the United States (1953-1961).


CLASS OF 1917 (April)

Matthew B. Ridgway: Army general during World War II and Korean War. First commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, led division during Allied invasions of Sicily and Normandy. Later commanded XVIII Airborne Corps during Battle of the Bulge and western Allied invasion of Germany. During Korean War, commanded Eighth United States Army, United Nations Command Korea and United States Far East Command, and is credited with turning the tide of the war. Served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, first Commander-in-Chief, U.S. European Command, and 19th Chief of Staff of the Army. As a junior officer, taught Spanish at USMA.


Maxwell D. Taylor: Commanded 101st Airborne Division during World War II, notably jumping into Normandy with his division on D-Day. Post-WWII, served as USMA’s 40th Superintendent (1945-49), where he drafted the first official Honor Code publication (marking the beginning of the written Cadet Honor Code). Also served as U.S. Commander, Berlin (1949-51), Commander, U.S. Eighth Army in Korea (1953-54), 20th Chief of Staff of the Army (1955-59) and 5th Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (1962-64). Post-retirement, served as U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam (1964). As a junior officer, taught French and Spanish at West Point. USMA’s Taylor Hall (administration building) named in his honor.


Frank D. Merrill: Prior enlisted Soldier and retired Major General who commanded the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) during World War II’s Burma Campaign. This special forces unit of jungle fighters, famously known as “Merrill's Marauders,” is part of the lineage of the modern-day 75th Ranger Regiment.


William O. Darby: Organized and led first Army Rangers in World War II. Handpicked to command an elite combat unit modeled after the British Commandos, Darby recruited and trained 500 volunteers that would become the 1st Ranger Battalion in July 1942, successfully fighting in North Africa and Tunisia. Darby trained and organized two more Ranger battalions. All three battalions became known as "Darby's Rangers," famous for their endeavors in the Sicilian and Italian campaigns. Darby was killed while leading a task force from the 10th Mountain Division in Northern Italy and posthumously promoted to brigadier general. Camp Darby in Georgia, home to the first phase of Ranger School, is named in his honor.


Creighton W. Abrams, Jr.:  Considered one of the most effective tank commanders in World War II, later commanded all U.S. forces in Vietnam. Commanded the 37th Tank Battalion during the Normandy invasion and the Third Army sweep across western Europe. Served in Korean War as a Corps chief of staff and later commanded 3rd Armored Division in Germany during the Cold War. Commanded U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam from 1968 to 1972, overseeing the Nixon Administrations “Vietnamization” policy. Served as 26th Army Chief of Staff of the Army (1972-1974), overseeing transition to all-volunteer force and reestablished Army Ranger battalions. The M-1 Abrams battle tank is named in his honor.


Benjamin O. Davis Jr.: First African-American graduate in the 20th Century (fourth overall) and Tuskegee Airmen commander during World War II.  Following early assignments at Fort Benning and Tuskegee Institute, Davis was part of the first class of black aviation cadets trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field. Davis commanded the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group (famously known as the “Red Tails”) during World War II. Instrumental in post-war racial integration of Armed Forces. First African American promoted to general officer in the Air Force, served in several assignments to include command of Thirteenth Air Force. Retired in 1970 as a lieutenant general but recalled to active duty by President Clinton in 1998 and promoted to full (four-star) general.  Also served as an assistant Secretary of Transportation in the Nixon Administration. Davis Barracks at West Point named in his honor.


Andrew Goodpaster: Served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 1969-1974. Earlier in his career as an Engineer officer he was severely wounded after commanding a combat engineer battalion in North Africa and Italy during WWII. Earned a PhD from Princeton University in 1950. Selflessly took a demotion to Lieutenant General and returned to active duty to serve as the 51st Superintendent of USMA from 1977-1981.


Alexander R. Nininger: Posthumous Medal of Honor recipient for his heroic actions during World War II. Assigned to the 57th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines after graduation, Nininger was killed in action while leading an assault on enemy positions. The West Point Association of Graduates presents an annual award, named in Nininger’s honor, to a graduate who exemplifies heroism in battle. Additionally, the Cadet Honor Committee area in the historic First Division Cadet Barracks is named for Nininger.



Felix “Doc” Blanchard: Won the Heisman Trophy in 1945 and played both offense and defense for Army’s national champion football teams (“Mr. Inside”). Starred as himself in 1947 movie The Spirit of West Point. Served in the Air Force after graduation, to include an assignment as the assistant athletic director at USAFA.


Glenn W. Davis: Won the Heisman Trophy in 1946 and played both offense and defense for Army’s national champion football teams (“Mr. Outside”). Starred as himself in 1947 movie The Spirit of West Point.

Alexander M. Haig, Jr.: Army general, NATO Supreme Allied Commander (1974-79), White House Chief of Staff during Nixon and Ford Administrations and later, Secretary of State in Reagan Administration (1981-82). Other Army assignments included battalion and brigade commander during Vietnam War, Third Regiment commander at USMA and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.


Brent Scowcroft: Air Force lieutenant general, served as National Security Advisor in the Ford and George H.W. Bush Administrations, and Chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board in the George W. Bush Administration. Graduate of USMA Preparatory School, taught in USMA’s Department of Social Sciences and served as political science professor at Air Force Academy.


Ralph Puckett: Medal of Honor recipient for actions while commanding 8th Army Ranger Company during the Korean War. Served as first Ranger advisor in the U.S. Army Mission to Colombia where he planned and established the Colombian Army Ranger School. Commanded a battalion in 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.


Frank Borman: Air Force fighter and test pilot and NASA astronaut (1962-70).  Commanded Gemini 7 and Apollo 8, first mission to circumnavigate the Moon. Served as NASA’s White House liaison during Apollo 11 mission. Taught thermodynamics and fluid mechanics at USMA (1957-60). After retiring from NASA, served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Eastern Airlines (1975-86).


Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin: Air Force fighter pilot and NASA astronaut (1963-72) who was one of the first to humans to walk on the Moon as part of the famed Apollo 11 mission. Flew 66 combat missions and downed two MIG-15s during Korean War. Pilot for Gemini 12 mission in 1966. Earned doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Fidel V. Ramos: One of the Academy’s international cadets, he served as President of the Republic of the Philippines (1992-98). As a Philippine Army officer, he founded the army’s Special Forces, served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and later became Chief of Staff of the Philippine’s Armed Forces and Secretary of National Defense.


Roscoe Robinson, Jr.: Army’s first African American four-star general. Infantry platoon leader and company commander in Korean War, and battalion commander in Vietnam War. Commanded 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Japan and IX Corps, and served as U.S. representative to the NATO Military Committee.



Michael Collins: Fighter and test pilot and NASA Astronaut. First flew in space with Gemini 10 mission in 1966; in 1969, was command module pilot for the Apollo 11 mission. Post-NASA, served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Director of the National Air & Space Museum. Retired USAF major general.


Edward White II: Fighter and test pilot and NASA Astronaut. First American to walk in space as part of Gemini 4 mission in 1965. Died in Apollo 1 spacecraft fire in 1967.


John R. Galvin: Army general who served as NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. European Command (1987-1992). Prior enlisted Soldier, commanded a battalion during Vietnam War. Later commanded 24th Infantry Division, VII Corps and U.S. Southern Command. Taught in USMA Department of English. After retiring from the Army, served as Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


H. Norman Schwarzkopf: Army general who led 35-nation military coalition of nearly a million troops in liberating Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Served in Vietnam War as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army and later, as a battalion commander. Commanded 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), I Corps and U.S. Central Command. USMA instructor in Department of Mechanics.


Pete Dawkins: Army brigadier general, football player and Rhodes Scholar. Won Heisman Trophy in 1958. As a Cadet, served as First Captain, class president, football team captain and was in top five percent of his class academically. 1958 All-America selection. Served in Vietnam War as advisor to South Vietnamese Army. Commanded brigades in the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. After retiring from the Army, served as Chairman and CEO of Primerica.


Frederick Franks, Jr.: Army general who led the successful “Left Hook” maneuver against Iraqi forces in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Wounded in action during Vietnam, leading to amputation of his leg. Fought to remain in combat arms and was allowed to return to active duty. Commanded 1st Armored Division, VII Corps (during Gulf War), and Army Training and Doctrine Command. Former USMA instructor (Department of English) and Chair of the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic.


James V. Kimsey: Co-founder and first Chairman/CEO of America Online (AOL).  Served three combat tours as an Airborne Ranger, two of which were in Vietnam.


Barry R. McCaffrey: Retired general and former Cabinet member. Military advisor and company commander during Vietnam War. Commanded 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) during “Left Hook” attack in Operation Desert Storm and U.S. Southern Command. Served as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Clinton Administration.  Former USMA instructor (Department of Social Sciences).


William Foley II: American businessman and professional sports owner. Chairman, Fidelity National Financial, Inc. Lead investor/owner of Vegas Golden Knights (NHL), Henderson Silver Knights (AHL), Vegas Knight Hawks (Indoor Football League) and AFC Bournemouth (Premiere League football).


Michael W. Krzyzewski: Best known as “Coach K,” served as head coach of Duke University’s men’s basketball team from 1980-2022, leading the team to five national titles, 13 Final Fours and 13 ACC regular season titles. As head coach, led United States Olympic national team to three gold medals. Former Army men’s basketball head coach.


Martin Dempsey: 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2011-15) and 37th Chief of Staff of the Army (2011). Served as brigade executive officer in 3rd Armored Division during Operation Desert Storm. Commanded 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command.  Former USMA instructor (Department of English). Served as Chairman of USA Basketball and as a Rubenstein Fellow, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.


David Petraeus: Retired Army general and former CIA Director. Commanded coalition forces in Iraq (2007-08) and Afghanistan (2010-11). Also commanded 101st Airborne Division, Combined Arms Center, and U.S. Central Command.  Former USMA instructor (Department of Social Sciences).


Lloyd Austin: Retired Army general, currently serving as 28th Secretary of Defense. Commanded U.S. Forces – Iraq (2010-11), overseeing transition from combat to stability operations. Also commanded XVIII Airborne Corps, U.S. Central Command and served as 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Army.


Robert McDonald: Former Chairman & CEO of Procter & Gamble and Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Obama Administration. Currently serving as Chairman of RallyPoint Networks (an online active duty and veterans’ community) and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the West Point Association of Graduates. Co-founder of USMA’s annual McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character. Served with 82nd Airborne Division while on active duty.


Richard Morales, Jr.: Rhodes Scholar and physician. First Hispanic to serve as First Captain (Cadet brigade commander).


Vincent Brooks: Retired Army general and USMA’s first African-American First Captain. Commanded Army forces during wars in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Commanded Third Army, U.S. Army Pacific and U.S. Forces Korea.


Andrea Lee HollenUSMA’s first female graduate (as top-ranked woman in her class) and Rhodes Scholar.


Alex Gorsky: Former Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson. Served as an artillery officer in Europe and Panama while on active duty.


Cindy Jebb: Retired Army general and USMA’s first female Dean of the Academic Board.  Served in military intelligence assignments before joining USMA faculty as professor and later, head of Department of Social Sciences. Currently serving as President of Ramapo College (in Mahwah, NJ).


Nadja West: Retired Army general and physician who served as Surgeon General of the Army (2015-19), the first African-American to hold that post. First female graduate to serve as three-star general. Commanded Europe Regional Medical Command and U.S. Army Medical Command.  Served in 24th Infantry Division during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and in 1st Armored Division in Kosovo.


Joe DePinto: President and CEO of 7-Eleven. Served as a field artillery officer on active duty.


Mark T. Esper: First USMA graduate to become Secretary of Defense, serving as the 27th Secretary of Defense and 23rd Secretary of the Army. Served 21 years on active and reserve duty; including time as an Infantry officer in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.  Chairman of the Modern War Institute at West Point.


Mike Pompeo: Second USMA graduate to serve as Secretary of State, serving from 2018-2021.  Graduated first in his class, served as a U.S. congressman from 2011-2017 and Director of the CIA from 2017-2018.



Telita Crosland: First USMA graduate to serve as the Director of the Defense Health Agency, a position she has held since 2023. LTG Crosland previously served as the U.S. Army’s Deputy Surgeon General.


Robert (Shane) Kimbrough: Retired Army officer and NASA astronaut (2004-2022). Commanded the International Space Station (Expedition 50) and SpaceX Crew-2. Logged more than 388 days in space and nine spacewalks over his NASA career. Army aviator during Operation Desert Storm and former USMA instructor (Department of Mathematical Sciences).


Kristin Baker: First female First Captain for the Corps of Cadets and retired Army intelligence officer.


Diana Holland: Army general and engineering officer who served as USMA’s first female Commandant of Cadets (2016-17). Served in 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and brigade commander in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Commanded Army Corps of Engineers South Atlantic and Mississippi Valley Divisions. Former USMA instructor (Department of History).


Anthony Noto: CEO of SoFi, former Chief Operating Officer of Twitter and Chief Financial Officer for the NFL. Served as a telecommunications officer with 24th Infantry Division while on active duty.


Andrew R. Morgan: Army physician, special forces officer and NASA Astronaut (2013-present). Most recently served as flight engineer on the International Space Station (Expeditions 60, 61 and 62). As a physician in the Army special operations community, deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa.


Francisco “Frank” Rubio: Army physician, aviation officer and NASA Astronaut (2017-present). Most recently served on the International Space Station and holds the record for longest American astronaut in space, with a continuous 371 days. As an aviator he logged over 600 combat hours during operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Laura Walker: First female graduate killed in action while serving as an engineer platoon leader in Afghanistan in 2005.


Emily Perez: First African American female officer killed in action during combat operations in Iraq in 2006.


Kristen Griest: One of the two first females to graduate from Army Ranger School and the Army’s first female infantry officer. Serves as USCC tactical officer.


Shaye Haver: One of the first two female graduates of Army Ranger School.

Andrew S. Rodriguez: Won the William V. Campbell Trophy (the “Academic Heisman”) in 2011 as the American college football player with the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance. Served as USMA Instructor (Department of CME).