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The commanding officer of the United States Military Academy is its Superintendent. This position is roughly equivalent to the chancellor or president of an American civilian university. The officer appointed is by tradition a graduate of the United States Military Academy, commonly known as "West Point".

The Superintendency has often been often a stepping stone to higher prominence in the Army. Three Superintendents became Chief of Staff of the Army: Douglas MacArthur, Maxwell Davenport Taylor, and William Westmoreland. The list of Superintendents includes five Medal of Honor recipients: Oliver Otis Howard, Douglas MacArthur, Albert Leopold Mills, John McAllister Schofield, John Moulder Wilson. Many Superintendents later became Commanding Generals, such as Joseph Gardner Swift and Hugh L. Scott. The post is now a terminal assignment in the Army; as a condition for detail to the position, officers are required by law to acknowledge that they will retire at the end of their appointment.[1] This formulation was meant to secure the independence of Superintendents from undue command influence; however, in practice the resulting "lame duck" status restricts their power and influence in the Army. There has been discussion about reverting to the previous system or recalling a retired officer to fill the post.

The billet carries the rank of lieutenant general, and is not counted against the Army's statutory limit on the number of active-duty officers above the rank of major general. For example, General Andrew Goodpaster originally retired from active duty as a full general, was recalled to assume the superintendency as a lieutenant general, and reverted to his four-star rank upon his second retirement.


Note: "Class year" refers to the alumnus's class year, which usually is the same year they graduated. However, in times of war, classes often graduate early.
A "—" in the Class year column indicates a Superintendent who is not an alumnus of the Academy.
# Start End Name Class year Notability References
1 1801 1803 Williams, JonathanJonathan Williams  — Colonel; Chief of Engineers; he vacated (rather than resigned) in June 1803, returning to the Superintendency in April 1805; elected to the Fourteenth United States Congress in 1815 [2][3][4]
(acting) 1803 1805 Wadsworth, DeciusDecius Wadsworth  — Colonel; invented Wadsworth's cipher in 1817 [5][6][7]
2 1805 1812 Williams, JonathanJonathan Williams  — Colonel; Chief of Engineers; he vacated (rather than resigned) in June 1803, returning to the Superintendency in April 1805; elected to the Fourteenth United States Congress in 1815 [2][4]
3 1812 1814 Swift, Joseph GardnerJoseph Gardner Swift 1802 Brigadier General; first graduate of the Academy; Chief of Engineers a[›][4]
4 1814 1817 Partridge, AldenAlden Partridge 1806 Captain; served as Acting Superintendent and Dean of Mathematics; his administration was regarded as unsatisfactory and negligent to duties; when Sylvanus Thayer was appointed, Partridge refused to relinquish command and was court-martialed; he was sentenced to be cashiered in November 1817, and resigned from the Army in April 1818 a[›][8]
5 1817 1833 Thayer, SylvanusSylvanus Thayer 1808 Brigadier General; "Father of West Point"; emphasized engineering; founded engineering schools; helped found the Academy's Association of Graduates; Sylvanus Thayer Award created by the Academy in his honor a[›][9][10]
6 1833 1838 De Russy, René EdwardRené Edward De Russy 1812 Brigadier General; military engineer; Union Army veteran a[›][11]
7 1838 1845 Delafield, RichardRichard Delafield 1818 Major General; Chief of Engineers; American Civil War veteran; served as 7th, 11th, and 13th Superintendents a[›][4]
8 1845 1852 Brewerton, HenryHenry Brewerton 1819 Brigadier General; military engineer; Union Army veteran a[›][12]
9 1852 1855 Lee, Robert E.Robert E. Lee 1829 Colonel USA, General CSA; graduated second in his class at the Academy, without demerits; son George Washington Custis Lee, class of 1854, graduated second in class; Commander, Army of Northern Virginia (1862–1865); General-in-Chief, Confederate States Army (1865); President, Washington and Lee University (1865–1870) a[›][13]
10 1855 1856 Barnard, John GrossJohn Gross Barnard 1833 Major General; military engineer; Union Army veteran a[›][14]
11 1856 1861 Delafield, RichardRichard Delafield 1818 Major General; Chief of Engineers; Union Army veteran; served as 7th, 11th, and 13th Superintendents a[›][4]
12 1861 1861 Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant (P.G.T.)Pierre Gustave Toutant (P.G.T.) Beauregard 1838 General CSA; military engineer; ordered the firing of shots at Fort Sumter, South Carolina that started the Civil War a[›][15]
13 1861 1861 Delafield, RichardRichard Delafield 1818 Major General; Chief of Engineers; Union Army veteran; served as 7th, 11th, and 13th Superintendents a[›][4]
14 1861 1864 Bowman, Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton Bowman 1825 Lieutenant Colonel; military engineer; son Charles Stuart Bowman graduated from the Academy, class of 1860 a[›][16]
15 1864 1864 Tower, Zealous BatesZealous Bates Tower 1841 Major General; military engineer; Union Army veteran a[›][17]
16 1864 1866 Cullum, George WashingtonGeorge Washington Cullum 1833 Brigadier General; military engineer; wrote Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in 1891 and developed the Cullum number system a[›][18]
17 1866 1871 Pitcher, Thomas GambleThomas Gamble Pitcher 1845 Brigadier General; veteran of Battle of Harper's Ferry, Mexican–American War, and the Civil War a[›][19]
18 1871 1876 Ruger, Thomas H.Thomas H. Ruger 1854 Major General; military engineer and lawyer; veteran of Civil War; military engineer and lawyer; military Governor of Georgia (1868) a[›][20]
19 1876 1881 Schofield, John McAllisterJohn McAllister Schofield 1853 Lieutenant General; recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions leading an attack at the Battle of Wilson's Creek; Superintendent of the Academy (1876–1881); Commanding General of the United States Army (1888–1895) a[›][21]
20 1881 1882 Howard, Oliver OtisOliver Otis Howard 1854 Major General; recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions leading an attack at the Battle of Seven Pines despite wound which resulted in the loss of his right arm; led the campaign against Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce tribe; founder of Howard University a[›][22]
21 1882 1887 Merritt, WesleyWesley Merritt 1860 Major General; veteran of the Civil War and Spanish–American War; first Military Governor of the Philippines a[›][21]
22 1887 1889 Parke, JohnJohn Parke 1849 Major General; military engineer; Union Army veteran a[›][23]
23 1889 1893 Wilson, John MoulderJohn Moulder Wilson 1860 Brigadier General; recipient of the Medal of Honor for his for actions at the Battle of Malvern Hill though acutely ill; Chief of Engineers (1897–1901) a[›][4]
24 1893 1898 Ernst, Oswald HerbertOswald Herbert Ernst 1864 Major General; military engineer; Union Army and Spanish–American War veteran a[›][24]
25 1898 1906 Mills, Albert LeopoldAlbert Leopold Mills 1879 Major General; recipient of the Medal of Honor for continuing to lead his men at the Battle of San Juan Hill despite being shot in the head and temporarily blinded; appointed Superintendent to West Point by President McKinley, which carried automatic promotion from First Lieutenant to Colonel a[›][25][26]
26 1906 1910 Scott, Hugh L.Hugh L. Scott 1876 Major General; learned to speak many western Native American languages; Chief of Staff of the Army (1914–1917) a[›][27]
27 1910 1912 Barry, Thomas HenryThomas Henry Barry 1877 Major General; cavalry and infantry officer; veteran of Indian Wars, China Relief Expedition, and Philippine–American War a[›][28]
28 1912 1916 Townsley, Clarence PageClarence Page Townsley 1881 Major General; coastal artillery officer; commanded 30th Infantry Division during World War I a[›][29]
29 1916 1917 Biddle, JohnJohn Biddle 1881 Major General; military engineer; World War I veteran a[›][30]
30 1917 1919 Tillman, Samuel EscueSamuel Escue Tillman 1869 Brigadier General; recalled from retirement during World War I to serve as superintendent; refused to add military aviation to the curriculum; instructor at the Academy for more than 30 years; author of numerous books on chemistry and geology a[›][31]
31 1919 1922 MacArthur, DouglasDouglas MacArthur 1903 General of the Army, Field Marshal in the Philippine Army; United States occupation of Veracruz; Second Battle of the Marne, Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne Offensive during World War I; commander of the 42nd Infantry Division; brigade commander in the Philippine Division; commander of the Philippine Department; Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1930-1935); recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions during the Battle of Bataan, commander of the South West Pacific Area during World War II; Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers during the Occupation of Japan; Korean War; grandson of Wisconsin Governor Arthur MacArthur, Sr.; son of Lieutenant General and Medal of Honor recipient Arthur MacArthur, Jr. a[›][32][33]
32 1922 1925 Sladen, Fred WinchesterFred Winchester Sladen 1890 Major General; Superintendent of Fort McHenry National Monument (1931–1932) a[›][34]
33 1926 1928 Stewart, Merch BradtMerch Bradt Stewart 1896 Brigadier General; infantry officer; Spanish–American War veteran; commander 175th Infantry Brigade during World War I a[›][35]
34 1928 1928 Winans, Edwin BaruchEdwin Baruch Winans 1891 Major General; instructor at military schools; commened for leadership of the 10th Cavalry Regiment a[›][36]
35 1929 1932 Smith, William RuthvenWilliam Ruthven Smith 1892 Major General; artillery and infantry officer; commanded 36th Infantry Division during World War I a[›][37]
36 1932 1938 Connor, William DurwardWilliam Durward Connor 1897 Major General; awarded two Silver Stars; Commandant of Army War College a[›]
37 1938 1940 Benedict, Jay LelandJay Leland Benedict 1904 Major General; artillery and staff officer; Army General Staff during World War II a[›][38]
38 1940 1942 Eichelberger, Robert L.Robert L. Eichelberger 1909 General; American Expeditionary Force Siberia; commanded Eighth United States Army in World War II a[›][39]
39 1942 1945 Wilby, Francis BowditchFrancis Bowditch Wilby 1905 Major General; Chief of Staff of First United States Army (1939–1941) a[›][40]
40 1945 1949 Taylor, Maxwell DavenportMaxwell Davenport Taylor 1922 General; instituted the Cadet Honor Code at the Academy; commander of 101st Airborne Division (1944–1945); Chief of Staff of the Army (1955–1959); Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1962–1964); United States Ambassador to South Vietnam (1964–1965) a[›][41]
41 1949 1951 Moore, Bryant EdwardBryant Edward Moore 1917 General; commanded 8th Infantry Division killed in a helicopter crash on 24 February 1951 while commanding the IX Corps during the Korean War a[›][42]
42 1951 1954 Irving, Frederick AugustusFrederick Augustus Irving 1917 Major General; commander 24th Infantry Division during World War II a[›][43]
43 1954 1956 Bryan, Blackshear M.Blackshear M. Bryan 1922 Lieutenant General; commanded Prisoner of War Division for all the United States during World War II; commanded First United States Army (1957–1960); his son, Blackshear M. Bryan, Jr., class of 1954, was killed in Vietnam a[›][44]
44 1956 1960 Davidson, Garrison H.Garrison H. Davidson 1927 Lieutenant General; Academy football coach (1933–1937); combat engineer during World War II and the Korean War; helped construct The Pentagon a[›][45]
45 1960 1963 Westmoreland, WilliamWilliam Westmoreland 1936 General; Distinguished Eagle Scout; given the Pershing Sword for the most able cadet upon graduation from the Academy; commander 101st Airborne Division; commander Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (1964–1968); Chief of Staff of the Army (1968–1972) a[›][46]
46 1963 1966 Lampert, James BenjaminJames Benjamin Lampert 1936 Lieutenant General; combat engineer during World War II; early pioneer of nuclear weapons and nuclear power, served as General Leslie Groves' executive officer as part of the Manhattan Project after World War II; his father, James G. B. Lampert, class of 1910 was killed in World War I a[›][47]
47 1966 1969 Bennett, Donald V.Donald V. Bennett 1940 General; Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (1969–1972); commander United States Army Pacific (1972–1974) a[›][48]
48 1969 1970 Koster, Samuel WilliamSamuel William Koster 1942 Major General but demoted to Brigadier General and denied a promotion to Lieutenant General for covering up the My Lai Massacre a[›][49]
49 1970 1974 Knowlton, William AllenWilliam Allen Knowlton 1943 General; World War II and Vietnam War veteran; his daughter married General David Petraeus who was a cadet while Knowlton was Superintendent; Chief of Staff for United States European Command (1974–1976) a[›][50]
50 1974 1977 Berry, Sidney BryanSidney Bryan Berry 1948 Lieutenant General; Korean and Vietnam War veteran, wounded twice in Vietnam; Superintendent during the time women were first admitted to the Academy; Commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Mississippi (1980–1984) a[›][51]
51 1977 1981 Goodpaster, Andrew JacksonAndrew Jackson Goodpaster 1939 General; 8th Infantry Division (1961–1962); Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1969–1974); Commander in Chief of the United States European Command (CINCEUR) (1969–1974); retired then became Superintendent, then retired a second time a[›][52]
52 1981 1986 Scott, Jr., Willard WarrenWillard Warren Scott, Jr. 1948 Lieutenant General; commander 25th Infantry Division (1976–1978); commander V Corps (1980–1981) a[›][53]
53 1986 1991 Palmer, Dave RichardDave Richard Palmer 1956 Lieutenant General; military historian; instructor at the Academy and the Vietnamese National Military Academy [54]
54 1991 1996 Graves, Howard D.Howard D. Graves 1961 Lieutenant General; Rhodes Scholar; military engineer; Chancellor of Texas A&M University (1999–2003) [55]
55 1996 2001 Christman, Daniel WilliamDaniel William Christman 1965 Lieutenant General; graduated first in his class in 1965; Senior Vice President for International Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; four-time recipient of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. [56]
56 2001 2006 Lennox, Jr., William JamesWilliam James Lennox, Jr. 1971 Lieutenant General; artillery and staff officer; Deputy Commanding General Eighth United States Army; doctorate in literature from Princeton University [57]
57 2006 2010 Hagenbeck, Franklin LeeFranklin Lee Hagenbeck 1971 Lieutenant General; commander 10th Mountain Division (2001–2003) [58]
58 2010 2013 Huntoon, David H.David H. Huntoon 1973 Lieutenant General; Director of the Army Staff; Former Commandant of the U.S. Army War College [59]
59 2013 present Caslen, Robert L.Robert L. Caslen 1975 Lieutenant General; chief of staff for Combined Joint Task Force- 180 (CJTF-180) in Afghanistan from May through September 2002; Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation for Iraq [60]

Jonathan Williams (1801–1803), (1805–1812)

Joseph Swift (1812–1814)

Sylvanus Thayer (1817–1833)

Robert E. Lee (1852–1855)

Richard Delafield (1856–1861)

George Cullum (1864–1866)

John Schofield (1876–1881)

Douglas MacArthur (1919–1922)

Maxwell Taylor (1945–1949)

Garrison Davidson (1956–1960)

William Westmoreland (1960–1963)

Daniel Christman (1996–2001)

Franklin Hagenbeck (2006–2010)

See also



^ a:  Special Collections: Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U. S. Military Academy. West Point, NY: United States Military Academy Library. 1950. 

Inline citations
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  3. "Williams, Jonathan Mss.". Lilly Library Manuscript Collections. Indiana University. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "Commanders of the Corps of Engineers". United States Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  5. Cohen, Fred (1995). "A Short History of Cryptography". Fred Cohen & Associates. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  6. Ambrose, Stephen E. (1969). Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 28–29, 34. ISBN 0-8018-6293-0.,+honor,+country&printsec=frontcover. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
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  38. "Jay Leland Benedict". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
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  40. "Gen. Francis B. Wilby, 82, Dies; Headed West Point During War". The New York Times. 21 November 1965. 
  41. Krebs, Albin (21 April 1987). "Maxwell D. Taylor, Soldier and Envoy, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
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  50. "Hollister Knowlton Betrothed To David H. Petraeus, a Cadet". The New York Times. 12 May 1974. p. GN57. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
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  56. "Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman". Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
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  58. John Doherty (28 February 2006). "New Point leader named". Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
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  60. Mike Strasser (17 July 2013). "Caslen assumes command of West Point". U.S. Army. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 

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