U S Military Academy at West Point

  Last Updated: 12/10/98

    The following quotes from Bugle Notes (normally called the Plebe Bible) are cited to show how far back the definition of Plebe Duties go. They probably go back further than 1928.

  • From Bugle Notes, Volume XX, 1928, 1929,
    page 61.

    Fourth Classmen ordinarily perform the customary police and fatigue duties incumbent on the Corps of Cadets. These duties include, among other things,the care of the Trunk Rooms, and service as mail carriers. The latter are responsible for the proper distribution of the laundry and requisition blanks at the proper time.

  • From Bugle Notes, Volume 39, 1947,
    page 104.
    Fatigue Duty.

    Fourth Classmen will perform all of the fatigue duty of the Corps by roster.This duty consists of such things as cleaning of trunk rooms; collection and delivery of mail and laundry; messengers for the guard room; and clean-updetails for shows, etc. Fourth Classmen will not be required to perform any personal service for any upperclassmen.

  • In Bugle Notes, 1954 through 1957
    there is simply a paragraph under "Fourth
    Class Custom and Traditions" which

  • "For rules governing Fourth Classmen, refer to the booklet published by the Department of Tactics,entitled "FOURTH CLASS CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS."
    Current rules governing Fourth Classmen and theirduties and responsibilities may be found in USCC Circular 351-2, dated 1June 1998, titled New Cadet Handbook CB '98

    Most of the following duties are still performed today.

    Plebes traditionally perform the majority of duties within a Cadet Company. These include delivering upperclass laundry and dry cleaning to their rooms; calling minutes until Assembly for the next formation; and delivering official mail to the Cadet Chain of Command. Personal mail is now delivered to each cadet's mailbox. Plebes were also required to deliver the daily New York Times and New York Herald Tribune to upperclass rooms each morning. This has been eliminated with the advent of the Internet. Cadets now read their papers via the net.

    [Buzz Aldrin calling minutes Class of '51]


    [Plebes calling minutes 2002 class]

    Plebes were also required to perform certain duties at meals in the Cadet Mess Hall. These included Coffee or Warm Beverage Corporal; Cold Beverage Corporal; and Gunner. The Gunner was required to cut the dessert into ten equal parts for their ten-person table. This frequently presented a challenge if one or more of the cadets at the table did not desire dessert. Plebes quickly learned to develop templates for cutting a pie into 7 or 9 slices. In recent years, with the assistance of computers, plebes are able to develop their templates for 10, 9, 8, and 7 pieces more accurately and easily. Templates are normally wrapped in saran wrap and kept in the plebe's hats. Bread slices or bread crumbs support the templates to keep them from coming in contact with the dessert."

    The Coffee or Warm Beverage Corporal was also responsible for warming the toast at the breakfast meal by placing it under the coffee pot and mashing the pot down on the bread in order to melt the butter.

    Yearlings perform various duties such as Cadet Charge of Quarters which involves taking any messages that may come in for cadets in the company; escorting the Company Tac if he is inspecting the barracks and cadet rooms and recording any infractions that the Tac may find.

    Yearlings also served as 'Plebe chasers' which meant that they were assigned to monitor plebes at formations before Assembly sounded for that formation.

    Interior Guard has also been reinstated as part of the reemphasis onteaching cadets military responsibilities and preparing them for their careers after graduation.


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