The US Military Academy at West Point is one of the country’s most prestigious military academies. Yet a recent change in its motto has had many online commenters accuse it of “going woke” and selling out its dedication to the country and its military. Let’s explore the change in the mission statement and what some might think it means.

Duty, Honor, and Country

General Douglas MacArthur uttered these words in 1962 in a speech he gave after he was awarded the Thayer Award, one of the academy’s highest honors.

Source: X/@craigbrucesmith

MacArthur died in 1964, but his words were enshrined in West Point’s mission statement until recently. The shift saw these three words removed, sparking online protests.

Replaced With Army Values

The three words that MacArthur spoke on that day became a core part of how West Point trained its cadets. Modern West Point leaders and external stakeholders decided it needed to be changed.


The new mission statement replaces the words with “Army Values,” but many commentators noted that these values were never mentioned elsewhere, leading to speculation about the motive.

Established Two Hundred Years Ago

West Point has been part of the US military since 1802 and was the first engineering school in the United States to specialize in military engineering. Graduates were responsible for the earliest infrastructure in the US.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The military academy has also seen its share of officers rise through the ranks to become generals and commanders. It prides itself on the military discipline it offers to its students.

The Goal Of Equipping an Army with Leadership

Despite West Point’s change in mission statement, it remains the place that outfits the US Army with its leaders. Generals and commanders typically train here to learn the basics.

Source: Wikimedia/International News Service

It has always been the first place cadets stop on their trip up the ranks. The academy teaches its students to respect the army and the constitution above all else and instills duty and honor as core values.

Graduates Of Officer Grade

Many of West Point’s graduates excel as officers because of the education they get from the academy. However, aside from traditional education, the values instilled by the academy also play a part.

Source: Wikimedia/Adam Jones

Many of the commentators on Twitter/X that complained about the loss of important words highlighted that it was more than just the words that were their concern; it was what cadets would learn in their place.

“Army Values” Too Vague

Several of the people complaining about the change said that “Army Values” doesn’t describe anything in particular and leaves it open to interpretation. Anyone could call something army values.

Source: Flickr/West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

Duty, Honor, and Country are all examples of the high regard they expect academy cadets to have for these core values. Without these core values, the complaint is that students can be sold any ideology.

Still the Motto

While the words were removed from West Point’s mission statement, they remain proudly carved in stone as the academy’s motto. However, its removal has raised a few questions.

Source: Flickr/West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

Rachel Campos-Duffy, a Fox and Friends Weekend co-host, stated on Twitter/X that she assumed the academy had gone full globalist, touching on some conservative talking points.

Conservative Commentators Spell Doom and Gloom

A lot of political commentators on the conservative end of the spectrum had huge problems with the change. Elon Musk said erasing the words made it easier for cadets to hate themselves.

Source: Wikimedia/Staff Sgt. Vito Bryant

Jeff Kuhner, a conservative podcast host, accused West Point of “going woke” and warned it signaled the slow death of their country. Several other people agreed with his estimates.

No Change In Values

West Point’s 61st superintendent, Lieutenant General Steven Gilland, didn’t agree with any of these statements. In fact, he iterated the “Army Values” for those unaware of the term.

Source: Flickr/West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

Among the values were Duty, Honor, and Country, as well as loyalty, allegiance to the US Constitution, the Army, the soldier’s unit, and other soldiers in the army.

Motto Changes Are Nothing New

West Point’s mission statement might seem like a major change to conservatives who accuse it of becoming woke, but the military academy has changed it at least nine times in its lifetime.

Source: Wikimedia/Adam Jones

Gilland notes that the current iteration, which includes MacArthur’s words, only came into use around 1997, and anyone graduating before that time would have used a different mission statement.

Reminding Students Of Their Allegiance

The US military is supposed to be independent of political strife. West Point wants to retain that independence and allegiance to the Constitution.

Source: Flickr/Drew Geraets

Recent conservative presidents have seen “loyalty” in a different light, and this has led to some pointed moments and harmful statements towards generals in the army who pledge allegiance to the Constitution instead of the president.

Independence is Necessary

The army’s independence from political meandering was necessary, especially in the earliest days of the United States. Having an independent army meant no political meandering could cause a coup.

Source: Flickr/West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

Recently, we saw how important an independent army was when riots broke out in the Capitol. Military intervention was necessary, but it would not have happened if the military had taken a side.

West Point Remains Committed to Teaching Values

West Point gives its students the tools to command a modern military, but it’s more than just the rote training and drilling that prepares these young soldiers for command.

Source: Flickr/West Point – The U.S. Military Academy

The Academy’s graduates learn how vital it is to follow instructions, the importance of the chain of command, and the respect that is due to all soldiers, both of equal rank and above.

Should We Worry About a Woke Military?

Conservative voices always seem to find a problem with change. In this case, the change doesn’t even affect them or their lives; it seems cosmetic. The military doesn’t seem to be going woke.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK)

However, the change might signal to future presidents that the military enjoys its independence. It could also be seen as a warning to keep West Point and its graduates out of political meandering since their concern is ensuring the nation’s freedom above any politician’s individual feelings.