We Were Rooks Once

Rook training

Each September thousands of students enter colleges and universities throughout the United States. They are all eager and enthusiastic to acquire the knowledge and experience necessary to be successful. A few of these students undertake a much more difficult task. They are the ones who are willing to sacrifice an undisciplined life-style in order to prepare themselves for success and become a part of a highly selective group, The Corps of Cadets of PMC, which had continued to live since 1821.

Rook brace

The fourth-classmen, officially known as “Rooks,” arrived at PMC with little or no understanding of what they were starting. Their training began almost immediately. At first bugle calls were meaningless, “Rook” drills seemed endless and orders were shouted but barely understandable. Each morning there were personal inspections. On weekends, the training continued with inspections, guard duty and parades. For most of the fall “Rooks” walked around the campus in a daze, as did all those “Rooks” before them.

The most important day in the life of a “Rook” was when the “Old Men” of the Corps recognized the Cadet as a member. This occurred when the “Rook” understood the honor of wearing the uniform and the traditions of the school. More importantly the training they received instilled in each Cadet the principles of cooperation, gentlemanly honor, how to take orders before they could lead and give orders and moral obligation.