Archive for VMI

VMI Cadet and Jessica Simpson

Posted in Band with tags , , , on July 9, 2009 by sergeantatarms

This picture is an instant classic. This was taken last week at some kind of Tiger Woods event that the VMI Brass Quintet was playing at.

Josh Applewhite and John Brodie

Josh Applewhite and John Brodie

EYES TO THE FRONT APPLEWHITE!  YOU THINK THIS IS SOME KIND OF A GAME SON?!?!?!  LOOKING AT LADY PARTS WHILE YOU ARE IN YOUR DRESS WHITES WILL GET YOU A WEEKS WORTH OF CLEANING LATRINES AND SHINING BOOTS!  Maaaaaan. It looks like all his dreams are coming true right there.  He’s gonna enjoy the back of that dress too.  Unfortunately, Jessica’s tail game is not going to hold it down.

See the post at Us Versus Them

Swine Flu in Lexington

Posted in Administration with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Received this email today from someone in administration:

The state health commissioner reported last night that two students at Washington and Lee University who were treated with mild flu symptoms are probable cases of swine flu.

There are no suspected cases of swine flu among cadets at VMI. Institute officials are monitoring the situation and at this time are not calling for any exceptional actions.

According to Dr. David L. Copeland, Institute physician, cadets with a high fever and aches should report to the Post Infirmary any time day or night for evaluation.  Faculty and staff with any flu-like illness should see a family doctor.  Sick employees should stay home and sick cadets should report to the Infirmary.

The best preventive measures are careful hand washing and covering a cough to avoid spread of viruses.

The VMI pandemic flu Web site ( provides information concerning the flu and preventative measures individuals can take. Another excellent website for accurate and up to date information is  The epidemic continues to be a cause for concern but not panic.  The Institute has prepared for an epidemic like this and we are ready to react appropriately.

I still don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Famous last words, right? Today finals, tomorrow Bacon Lung!

Midwinter Formal Hop Permit 2009

Posted in Midwinter formal, VMI events with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2009 by sergeantatarms





9 December 2008

Midwinter Formal Hop

1. EVENT. The VMI Corps of Cadets is permitted to attend the Midwinter Formal (MWF) in Cocke Hall on Saturday, 14 Feb from 1900-2300 in accordance with the following eligibility requirements.


a. A cadet must have a date to attend the MWF. Male cadets must have a female date and female cadets must have a male date to attend.

b. A cadet must pick up tickets for his/her date from the S7 staff to attend the MWF, as tickets will be taken at the door of Cocke Hall.

Continue reading

Ghost Storys of VMI

Posted in Life with tags , , on January 26, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Some cool ghost stories. There’s a few that have been left out…. but still interesting.

Virginia Mourning Her Dead

A beautiful bronze statue, Virginia Mourning her Dead, by Moses Ezekiel, has captivated generations of VMI cadets. The statue has a long history of suspected paranormal activity, including moans and cries that are reported to come from the area in which it stands. Many alumni claim to have seen tears coming from Virginia’s eyes when they went to inspect the mysterious sounds in the vicinity.

VMI ghost storys

VMI Jazz Band in Germany

Posted in Band, VMI events with tags , , , , on January 26, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Thank God for the Jazz band and Colonel Brodie. Without these things, I wouldn’t have been able to visit Germany over break. We played in Munich at the Bundeswehr University, and in Garmish at the Edelweiss resort. I loved being out of the country and tasting some good European beer. Maybe I can go back for the starkbierfest some time. Here’s a picture of us playing at the resort:

VMI plays at Edelweiss resort.

VMI plays at Edelweiss resort.

VMI at President Obama’s Inauguration

Posted in VMI events with tags , , , on January 26, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Here’s some video of us in the parade. The buildup to the actual event was really annoying, but I’m glad we had the opportunity to march. I was kind of disappointed though because by the time we marched the entire crowd had left. We maybe passed 2000 people, most of which were security. Oh well. On the bright side, the first lady seemed really excited to see us. The president even gave us a salute!

2010 Ring Figure at VMI

Posted in ring figure with tags , on January 26, 2009 by sergeantatarms

Ring figure was amazing. It was all we hoped it would be and more. The week started out well with some kind of moderate celebration every day prior to the first event. At the class dinner we were given our combat rings. The theme for the dinner was combat, which is appropriate. The gym was dressed up and hardly recognizable with camo nets, cannons and guns. The class was pretty obnoxious, but very excited so it was understandable. After we got our rings, we started a new tradition by ring-tapping a brass helmet that we’ll pass to our rats. The idea is that we “left our mark” on the institute by denting this helmet.

The ring presentation ceremony was very long because they read the names of every cadet and presented the rings individually. General Pea gave a speech and cracked some okay jokes, but we were too busy admiring our rings to really take note. The ball was interesting. Originally the plan was to have assigned seating, but then someone realized there’s no way everyone could fit into the right seats. When we arrived, they changed the plan and said it was a free for all. In the end that worked out better and helped the atmosphere seem more like a ball.

Just after my date and I passed through the ring, My good friend Paul proposed to his girlfriend. When he dropped to one knee, the entire room went silent and the girls squealed. It was pretty cool.

This is my class ring. 14kt gold, light blue topaz, 1/4 kt diamonds.

VMI Ring figure 2010

VMI Ring figure 2010


Posted in Engeneering with tags , , , on June 10, 2008 by sergeantatarms

For the first part of my summer, I opted to participate in SURI (Summer Undergraduate Research Initiative). It’s a paid summer research program, and I’ve chosen to build an inverted pendulum. If you’re not familiar with this classic feedback dependent control problem, it can be described as a robotic cart that balances a pendulum. We can train a micro controller to react to sensor information much quicker than a human can. My particular project explores the use of a spiking artificial neural network to control the cart. However, due to time restraints, the project won’t be finished until next semester. Today, I finished the hardware. It uses the chassis of a remote controlled car, a 20 amp H bridge, and a handy board we had kicking around the lab. I built the pendulum out of legos only because they offer a simple solution for gearing an encoder wheel at a high resolution. The encoder uses two light-to-logic gates which were placed approximately 90 degrees out of phase. This allows the controller to determine the angular position, velocity, and acceleration of the pendulum.

With the help of my instructor, I wrote a program that simulates the behavior of the cart. This will allow us to test the control algorithm before we program the hardware, as well as train the neural network in a timely manner. Pictures are below.



VMI Class of 2010 Ring Figure Website

Posted in ring figure with tags , , on April 21, 2008 by sergeantatarms

Quick update-

The site style has been finalized! I’m still not sure how useful or up-to-date the information is, but here it is:

VMI 2010 Ring Figure Website

VMI Navy FTX, and update

Posted in Navy, ring figure with tags , , , , on April 6, 2008 by sergeantatarms

For the record: This past FTX was the best i’ve ever been on. In addition to our tours of the USS Oklahoma City and the USS San Antonio, we stayed abord the USS Iwo Jima for two nights and got a familiarization tour of NECC. We were given near free reign to explore the vessle and mingle with the skeleton crew. I got an in depth tour of the engine room by two seamen on duty.

By far the best part of the weekend was the NECC tour at Little Creek. We were taken on Sea Arc 34’s by a riverine squadron. This meant a high speed demonstration of the manuvering capabilities of these boats while we stood on the gunner’s deck. I managed to hold on ok, slipped once or twice, but one of the rats on our craft lost his grip and nearly flew off the deck at a 40kt 180 turn. They also showed us all the equipment they use for EOD, diving, and communication. The seals showed us their obstacle course, and we got a demonstration of the fleet’s drug and attack dogs.  Pretty awesome.


School is becomming more time demmanding which is cutting into my sleep. Teachers are wrapping things up for the semester and giving lots of tests over the next four weeks. I’m excited for the summer, because i’ll be doing research then hitting the water for training with the Navy. Should be a good time. Ring figure is approaching, and we’ll be ordering our rings soon.

Here’s a link to the class website with our ring:

Midwinter Formal permit

Posted in Weekends with tags , , on February 8, 2008 by sergeantatarms






                                                                                                                                                24 JANUARY 2008


Midwinter Formal Hop


1.      EVENT. The VMI Corps of Cadets is permitted to attend the Midwinter Formal (MWF) in Cocke Hall on Saturday, 9 Feb from 1900-2300 in accordance with the following eligibility requirements.



a.      A cadet must have a date to attend the MWF.

b.      A cadet must make a reservation with the S7 staff to attend the MWF because of the limited capacity of Cocke Hall.

c.       A cadet with restrictions who has a date and made a reservation will have restrictions lifted from CMD Saturday 9 Feb 08 until noon Sunday 10 Feb 08.

d.      A limited number of cadets without dates may sign up with the S7 to work at the hop to earn hop privileges.



a.      Eligible cadets must stay at least three hours at the MWF to take advantage of the hop privilege which is a free in-county weekend as per Blue Book regulations. Cadets may only be in civilian clothes:

                                                  i.      En route to and from Zollmans

                                                ii.      At the hotel

b.      Cadets with restrictions must return to Post by noon Sunday.  Cadets with FCP must return to Post by taps Sunday.

c.       There is no charge for admission to the hop.

d.      Uniform for cadets is coatee with white ducks for men and long white skirt for women, no cover or gloves. Uniform for military attendees is mess dress.  Dress for civilian guests is long gown for ladies and tuxedo for gentlemen.

e.       Regardless of restrictions, eligible cadets may depart at CMD Saturday, 9 Feb 08 in the hop uniform or gray blouse to spend time with their dates prior to the hop, but they must then stay at the hop for at least three hours.

f.       Eligible cadets with drill vehicles may use their vehicles for activities relating to the formal from Friday, 8 Feb through Sunday, 10 Feb. Cadets must be accompanied by their dates or meeting their dates while using their vehicles.

g.      Reservations and work sign-ups will be accepted by the S7 beginning noon, Monday 29 Jan 08 for firsts; noon Tuesday for seconds; noon Wednesday for thirds; and noon Thursday 31 Jan 08 for fourths.

h.      The S-7 Captain may authorize 1 for 1 PTs and haydowns to facilitate execution of the event.


Respectfully Submitted,


Cadet Christopher N. Malta ‘08

Regimental S-7 Captain ‘07-‘08

Room 167

Internet connection in barracks to be fixed?

Posted in Administration, Life with tags , , , , on February 4, 2008 by sergeantatarms

Here’s the highlights of Col. Hopkins’ plan to fix our slow barracks connection:

  • VMI currently pays $4,427 monthly for Internet connection
  • 45Mbps current bandwidth
  • 110Mbps proposed in new contract
  • Spring furlough is target implementation
  • Budget issues are standing in the way of speedy upgrade
  • If the increase is made, VMI will have highest per-capita bandwidth in state

Sadly, I still don’t know when they’re going to fix the broken Internet jack in my room. It’s been broken all year, and their temporary solution was to give us a switch. IT said they would send someone by to fix it within the month (this was September) but they haven’t.

Rob’s internet jack is still broken

Don’t even get me started on my window… this was reported in November. Yes, that is packaging tape holding the glass to the wood.

Rob’s broken window

Why, VMI?

Posted in Administration, Life, Ratline with tags , on February 4, 2008 by sergeantatarms

Everyone who goes to VMI has some kind of gripe with the system. It’s not surprising that people always ask us in astonishment why we pick this place as our home for four years, because so much of what we have to say is about why we hate it. From day one, we’re bombarded with tasks and trials that don’t serve an immediately obvious purpose. As time goes on, we slowly realize why some things we do are so important.

Take the ratline for example. A rat knows why they’re going through it for the first few days, but as it progresses it’s purpose becomes less obvious. As rats loose sight of their purpose, the default becomes breakout. Get there at any cost, as painlessly as possible. But as they get closer, rats wonder if they have somehow wasted the experience… as if there was something they were cheating themselves out of. Rats who wonder this know exactly what they have cheated themselves of: the satisfaction of having put themselves through difficulty by trying as hard as possible all the time. This isn’t an obvious concept to a rat at the beginning of the ratline, because they simply don’t understand why they’re here yet. For most cadets, the ratline serves a very specific purpose that becomes obvious about a month in to their third class year.

I’m a third classmen, and found myself asking if i thought the ratline was doomed to become a failure in it’s purpose. In modern times, we have been forced to abandon traditions and difficulty that generations past consider paramount to the cadet experience. Who made us abandon those traditions? It’s not as simple as just the supreme court or women. Those two were simply a trigger for a chain of realizations that lead to what we know as the ratline today. Hypothetically, if we had continued some traditions and hardships, we would have lost the ratline completely. Our experience is foreign to outsiders. To someone outside the system, it could easily appear that traditions that serve great purpose to our cause have no purpose and exist for the sake of twisted pleasure and punishment. This, I imagine, would lead to eventual court ordered termination of the ratline. Although my class didn’t have the same hardships as classes even five years before us, I’m glad we can carry on the ratline.

The ratline is different, but it still serves the same purpose. The ratline gives us right of passage. It gives us the right to call ourselves VMI cadets, and not students at a military college. Without the ratline, anyone could get in and call this place home. I disagree with anyone who says attrition isn’t the mission, because if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be the elite. The ratline removes college freshmen from the rats much like a steak knife cuts fat off the meat. Any hard worker can be good enough on paper, but to stay here is the true test. The ratline does need to be be harder, and I believe we’re trying to find a balance that will fit it’s purpose.

As an upperclassmen, there is far more thought that goes in to the why factor. Why is the ratline getting easier? Why can’t we eat dinner early, even if we march down with the corps later? Why do we have a bizarre emergency drill tomorrow? Why do we wear overcoat to SRC when it’s warm out? Why hasn’t someone fixed my broken window after two months? Why can’t we put our wool out with the rest of our laundry on Mondays? The constant unanswered questions are unmotivating and turn cadets against the administration. It is easy for anyone to assume that they’re just out to screw us over, because they don’t tell us why we do the things we do.

There’s a breakdown in communication at nearly everything we do here. We find out about mandatory events five minuets before they start. We aren’t told why we have to do things that seem like filler in our overly busy days. This is my main gripe with VMI. A leader who tells his men to charge a bunker will be most successful if he tells his men what it will accomplish and how they fit into the strategy. His men will perform with pride knowing that there will be positive consequences for their actions. The same is true with VMI. A cadet is fundamentally responsible, unless they feel like they’re being screwed over by doing tasks for the sake of doing them. When this happens, even the best can learn to resent their leaders and distrust any goal they present.


VMI Marches in the Rose Bowl

Posted in Band, Life, Rose Bowl with tags , , , , on January 5, 2008 by sergeantatarms

Virginia Military Institute Rose Bowl Parade

The performance was about what I was expecting. Millions of people lined along one street cheering and throwing tortillas to show their approval. Word is we marched 5.5 miles, and I never want to play Shenandoah again. I think my low-quarters are going to smell like horse crap for the rest of my cadetship, and my wool coatee has new creases because of the sweat. Overall the parade was the best we could have made it. We marched straight and played well, which is what we’ve been trained to do. I still don’t think we exactly fit in with the other bands with their “pep” or “cheerleaders”… and for the record the only reason I was cheering for Illinois is because their cheerleaders were freaking hot. Woo!!

Here’s a few links in case you missed it: (pro footage) (girl with camera in tall building) (Band fest… sheesh)

Aside from the performances, my favorite part of the trip was spending time with my BR’s and seeing Hollywood. This was probably the best organized VMI Band trip I’ve been on, and now I’m excited to hit Europe next year…

Straight from California

Posted in Rose Bowl, Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 30, 2007 by sergeantatarms

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Double Tree hotel across from the Citadel Outlet mall. The company is preforming in the Rose Bowl parade on the first, and this is the third day of our trip. It started with a commercial flight out of Denver to LAX, where I met up with Fish and some random guys from school. We realized the trip was going to be a typical class A Brodie adventure when we discovered we had paid for the most ghetto school buses for transportation that money could buy. We loaded the bus at the airport and arrived at the hotel and took advantage of our free time.

The next morning we had a brief rehearsal, which served as a reminder that we are still nothing more than a regimental band. All we know is parades, and how to pull off a decent performance without rehearsal. Later that day we went to Disney and marched a short parade. The audience was huge. As always we thought that the crowd would see through our marching band act, but once again our uniform fooled them all. With the amount of preparation we had put into the event, the guys at Disney should have never let us play… but we’ve got Col. Brodie. He’s got willpower.

Today we woke up late from a night of rule breaking and general disorder. The stories being told this morning include thirds fraternizing with rats and two cadets getting locked on the roof of the hotel. later today, My room mate was talking with a hotel technician who was putting up a sign on a door that leads to the roof. The sign read, “Do not go on roof, the door locks behind you”. I guess it takes a cadet to help the hotel learn that such signs are necessary.

We drove to Pasadena and had our picture taken. They showed us the flowers and the floats, where our uniforms seemed to be a greater spectacle to the locals than the obvious attractions. I was stopped with Jared by a group of people who wanted their pictures taken with “the toy soldiers”. Slap in the face. We left the float staging area and played at a band festival for the groups playing in the parade. I sarcastically told one of our staffers that we really fit in well here, and he responded by remarking on our awesome spirit fingers. We had no place preforming in the festival, but I still noticed Shenandoah got a standing ovation.

The big parade is coming up, and I hope we’re just as well received.


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