The Citadel

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Inside PT Barracks

Padgett-Thomas Barracks, The Citadel's main holding facility

“The Citadel is a drinking school with a military problem.”
~ Oscar Wilde (midshipman, class of 1874)

The Citadel is a correctional facility/military college located in Charleston, South Carolina. It was founded by Captain William F. Graham in 1842 to 'turn a bunch of spineless, yellow-bellied civilians into fearless Confederate soldiers.' The Citadel is best known for its unique therapeutic atmosphere known as the 'Fourth Class System' (originally, Tertiary Organizational Division Complex) in which more experienced inmates (upperclassmen) instruct the newer, fresher ones (knobs). Much has changed, since then, about The Citadel: the support personnel are no longer slaves (they are now wage-laboring peons), and upperclassmen are no longer allowed to haze (it is now referred to as 'physical persuasion'). Nevertheless, The Citadel continues to thrive as the exact same educational institution and penal colony that it always was before and should still be.

edit History

The Citadel began with nine cadets, one half professor, a log cabin, and several slaves. During the Civil War, the employment-upon-graduation rate rose drastically as cadets competed with their West Point counterparts through a process known as war. As the Corps of Cadets grew, new buildings were added and built to look exactly like castles. This was done for two reasons, the first was in recognition of the brave cadets of Band Company, who despite receiving repeated beatings in high school, still continued to valiantly play D&D and World of Warcraft. The second is in celebration of the fact that The Citadel is currently only place on earth keeping both the instruction and practice of the art form known as medieval torture alive. Over the years, The Citadel evolved into a technologically advanced campus, gaining a pencil, a chalkboard, and running water (exclusively for upperclassmen).

In 1931, General Charles Pelot Summerall became president of the Citadel. In his honor, a religious order was founded called The Summerall Guards, who revere him as a deity. The Summerall Guards are best known as an elite drill team, despite their origins in interpretive dance and step aerobics. They are often seen at halftime, performing a gallop called the 'Citadel Series.' The Summerall Guard drill movements are designed to emulate the natural prance of pony, provided said pony is under heavy narcotics and has had two of its legs surgically amputated. The requirements are:

  • Male
  • Republican (Libertarians acceptable, with waiver)
  • A College Junior
  • Able to count to '61.'
  • Enjoys playing in mud
  • Has at least four teeth

In 1966, the first African American cadets were admitted to The Citadel as knobs, or, freshman. No longer experiencing segregation due to race, they were, for the very first time, allowed to experience segregation because they were knobs. In 1996, the first woman was allowed to enter The Citadel, and was subsequently driven out. But eventually, more women came, and The Citadel is proud to say they make up over .005% of all cadets.

edit Cadet life

Cadets living at The Citadel enjoy the privileges of living a monastic lifestyle. Outsiders are often unfamiliar with the intimate culture shared by cadets, particularly the terminology. For example, freshmen are called 'knobs' because they are pelted with heavy bronze doorknobs upon entering the gates. Sophomores are called 'smacks' because they enjoy smacking one another's rear ends. It should be noted that this tradition was removed officially in 1981.

edit The Campus

The Citadel's (maximum security) campus is unique because everything in it is exactly square and devoid of all emotion or feeling, much like cadet life. Historically, the original building once served as a warehouse for tobacco inspection, and to this day, over ninety percent (90%) of male cadets chain smoke or chew tobacco, for purely nostalgic purposes. The campus also hosts many facilities available for the use of both freshman and upperclass cadets, such as the library, chapel, and snack bar. Facilities open to knobs include restrooms, janitorial closets, and (in certain areas) sidewalks. The Citadel also features one of the most successful academic support centers in the nation in order to compensate for the intellectual capacity of most cadets.

Guests are invited to visit the Summerall Chapel, located by Summerall Field, and also to watch The Summerall Guards. The Summerall Chapel is built from the remains of Union fortifications destroyed by cadets during the Civil War. Upperclass cadets are encouraged to use it to pray to either Jesus, or, more commonly, the ghost of president Charles Pelot Summerall. The grave of Gen. Mark Clark (another deity commonly worshiped by cadets) is located next to the chapel for the convenience of cadets wishing to make human sacrifices to both Summerall and Clark simultaneously.

For the safety of each cadet, the exterior gates in each barracks are locked nightly. Thus, the school's high retention rate is maintained. This concept was developed by the Citadel's disciplinarian and president Colonel Asbury Coward, who welded together the physical manifestation of nightmares with the tears and crushed dreams of children, to form heavy iron gates and prevent cadets from escaping. Cadets not confined to their rooms on weekends are free to imbibe as well as linger around the all-girls dorm at College of Charleston. Weekend activities for knobs include scrubbing, sanding, shining, and (discreetly) applying to a wide range of civilian colleges.

Notable alumni include author Pat Conroy who wrote a book about his experiences and was subsequently banned from campus under pain of death. This order was repealed when it was discovered that the plummeting literacy rate among cadets nullified the potential harm present in the reading of his works. Other references to the Citadel include Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who wrote The Gulag Archipelago, a book about vacation islands in the Pacific. Readers may also associate the barracks with the fortress of Mordor in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was written about how important it is to get a Citadel ring upon graduation.

That is because the Citadel Ring (ranked 'Epic' in World of Warcraft) grants immortality. Made from melted gold teeth taken from Union troops, the Citadel ring can fire laser beams and summon the ghosts of past alumni. Knobs become familiar with the ring during a process known informally as 'branding,' recently discontinued.

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