United States Service Academies, institutions of higher learning that train young men and women to become commissioned officers in the armed forces. The graduates of these institutions become regular, rather than reserve, officers. The academies are:
U.S. Military Academy
(popularly called West Point, or Army), West Point, New York.
U.S. Naval Academy
(popularly called Annapolis, or Navy), Annapolis, Maryland.
U.S. Coast Guard Academy,
New London, Connecticut.
U.S. Air Force Academy,
near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy are accredited four-year institutions that grant bachelor of science degrees. Faculties consist of Army, Navy, and Air Force officers and, at West Point and Annapolis, civilian professors. The academies participate in athletics and other activities with civilian colleges. Social life is more restricted than at civilian colleges, but there are dances and a variety of extracurricular activities. Army's mascot is a mule; Navy's, a goat; Air Force's, a falcon.
Students at the Military and Air Force academies are called cadets. Naval Academy students, including women, are midshipmen. Cadets and midshipmen are members of the armed forces and are under military discipline. They wear uniforms and have their own student officers.
There is no charge for instruction, quarters, or medical care. Cadets and midshipmen buy some of their clothing and books out of their monthly pay.
Graduates of West Point must serve at least five years with the Army; Annapolis graduates, five years with the Navy or Marine Corps; Air Force Academy graduates, five years with the Air Force. A limited number of graduates of each school are permitted to accept commissions in other branches of the armed forces. After graduation, an officer may do advanced study at a civilian university or, later, at one or more of the graduate schools of the armed forces. These include Army, Navy, and Air war colleges, the National War College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.