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Pipes and Drums : History Traditions

History And Traditions
In 1972 a group of Cadets assembled in North Auditorium to organize a pipe band. Eighteen months later the Pipes and Drums of the United States Corps of Cadets made its first appearance in Eisenhower Hall. In these early performances the band wore kilts and plaids with the McQueen tartan because it was cheaply available. In 1973 the band achieved club status under CDT John Gilbert, ‘75 and CDT Douglas McGregor, ‘76. In 1977 the Pipes and Drums, USCC hosted the first Tattoo, a now annual tradition.

The MacQueen (McQueen) Tartan used from 1975-1982
International Travel
In 1985, 1987 and 1991 the band visited Scotland to train with units of the British Army. In 1988 the band accompanied the football team to Ireland and performed at the residence of the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. In March 1999 the band returned to Ireland as guest of the Irish Defense Forces.
Highland Dancers
In 1986 the band added the Highland Dancers. The band has not had dancers since 2003, although the band does still maintain 6 dancer uniforms.
Beat Navy
In 2009 and agreement between Army-Navy set an annual competition to be held between the two bands at the site of the Army-Navy game. The first Pipes & Drums competition was in Philadelphia, Pa. The competition is hosted by the St. Andrews Society who picks a judges board to serve as the graders for the event.
  • 2010 Winner (Philadelphia, Pa.) – Navy
  • 2011 Winner (Washington, D.C.) – Army
  • 2012 Winner (Philadelphia, Pa.) – Army
The official march of the band is:
The Army Goes Rolling Along into Black Bear.
Pipes & Drums Uniforms
  • Tartan. Research began in 1982 to design a tartan particular to the band. In 1984 the design of Mr. H.G. Lindey from Kinloch Anderson was chosen. In March of 1985 LTG Willard Scott (Superintendent acting in authority similar to a Clan Chief) petitioned the Lord Lyon, King at Arms of Scotland, that the United States Military Academy tartan be recorded in the Lyon Court records. This new tartan was used for the first time in the academic year of 1985/1986. The tartan used in the uniforms of the Pipes & Drums, USCC is registered as a protected military tartan. It can only be manufactured with the permission of the unit. It is composed of the West Point Colors, Black, Gray and Gold. The MacQueen (McQueen) Tartan used from 1975-1982
  • Glengarry. By British tradition, the drum section of the band is a Brigade asset. The glenns worn by the drummers are diced in the Brigade colors. In this case they are diced gray and gold on a black glenn. The pipers are company assets, assembled to form the band and therefore do not wear diced glenns. For uniformity of the band, the entire band will eventually wear the diced Glengarry in the Brigade colors.
Sgian-dubh (/ˌskiːən ˈduː/SKEAN-dhu)
Optional wear for all full members of the band. Once Cadets earn their Band patch they may purchase a sgian-dubh for wear. It is worn on the right leg in the kilt hose. Blade must be within allowed regulations for Cadets (4-6 inches max). Design of the sgian-dubh is not specified by the band as these are personal items sometimes handed down by family members.
Pipes & Drums Directorate of Cadet Activities Patch
The DCA Patch for wear with the Cadet Black Jacket is earned by new members of the band in good standing. New Members in good standing earn the patch either after defeating the USNA Pipes & Drums at the Army- Navy Pipes & Drums competition, or is awarded to newly recognized members of the band as the West Point Tattoo in April. Patch is worn in accordance with USCC Regulations.