Stephan named to Summerall Guards

CHARLESTON – Ian Stephan of Blythewood is one of the 61 cadets who will comprise the Summerall Guards for The Citadel Class of 2021.

During normal times, the changing of the guard ceremony would have taken place as part of the annual Corps Day/Recognition Day weekend ceremonies. The Class of 2020 Summerall Guards would have performed their last precision drills as a unit and then passed their rifles to the new platoon.

Known around the United States as one of the elite military drill troupes, membership is a high honor at the military college of South Carolina. Created in 1932, The Summerall Guards have represented The Citadel at events around the nation, including performing in five presidential inaugural parades.

The platoon is named for Gen. Charles P. Summerall, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and Citadel president from 1931 until 1953. Its purpose is to exemplify the exactness and thoroughness of a Citadel cadet’s training through a unique series of movements based on old, close order Prussian drills. The maneuvers have never been written down, are passed from class to class, and are performed to a silent count.

The selection process includes weeks of Bond Volunteer Aspirant (BVA) training. More than 100 junior cadets who pass an initial physical fitness test take part in the six week long BVA training and tryout sessions. They must perform military pushups, sit-ups and rifle-bearing physical training, exhibiting exceptional physical condition and stamina.