military academy rings

Cadets proudly displaying their military academy rings.

There is a long tradition related to military academy rings among graduates who have attended our nation’s many military academies. The custom, dating back to West Point in 1835, is a significant milestone in the life of a senior cadet. The design of the ring is chosen by the cadet during their senior year. Some choose to use pieces of family members’ rings. There is a tradition at West Point, where alumni donate their old rings, which are added to a smelting pot. A new set of rings are made from this batch.

The ring is usually worn on the left hand, but recent graduates have switched to wearing it on the right (it’s rumored this is done to accommodate for wedding rings worn on the left hand). Additionally, the ring is to be worn so that the class crest is on the inside, closest to the heart.

The term ‘ringknocker’ developed from the rumor that some graduates would rap their ring on a hard surface to show their superiority. Some think the term came because graduates would tap their ring during a discussion, and all other cadets would then have to back up his/her point of view. (We should probably note here that we have talked to non military service academy veterans who have indicated they never witnessed any ring knocking and that they do not believe there is any basis to this “urban legend.”) While the term ‘ringknocker’ sometimes has a bad connotation, the tradition behind the military academy rings remains strong at the country’s military service academy institutions.