At U.S. military academies, Eagle Scouts and former Scouts are everywhere

Update, April 24: Merchant Marine Academy numbers added.


Scouts who enter our nation’s military academies find themselves with a leg up on their classmates.

Leadership, patriotism and service? Those are characteristics Scouts are known for.

No surprise, then, that student applications from cadets and midshipmen at U.S. military academies reveal an impressive number of Eagle Scouts and former Scouts.

Here’s a look, academy by academy.

U.S. Air Force Academy (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

There are 4,200 total cadets enrolled at the academy.

That includes:

  • 716 Scouts (17.0 percent)
  • 425 Eagle Scouts (10.1 percent)

Also worth noting:

  • The academy provides camping facilities to Scout groups. Learn more here.
  • The academy will send congratulatory letters to new Eagle Scouts. Go here for more.

U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.)

In April 2017, West Point released a class profile that averages data about cadets since 2012.

The academy admits an average of 1,183 cadets per class.

That includes:

  • 239 Eagle Scouts (20.2 percent)

Also worth noting:

  • The West Point Camporee, an invitation-only event sponsored by the U.S. Military Academy, is happening at the end of April. Activities include knot tying, a leadership reaction course, RB-15 (Zodiac) paddle, fire building, fitness challenge, Commander’s Challenge, land navigation, wilderness survival, first aid and more. Find more on the West Point Scoutmasters’ Council Facebook page and see this Boys’ Life video from the event.

U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.)

The Naval Academy keeps robust statistics on Scouting participation among its midshipmen.

In the Class of 2016, there were 918 male midshipmen.

That includes:

  • 186 Scouts (20.3 percent)
  • 109 Eagle Scouts (11.9 percent)

Also worth noting:

Detailed statistics on male midshipmen:

Class of… Class size Scouts Scouts % Eagle Scouts Eagle %
1988 1236 355 28.7% 87 7.0%
1989 1237 349 28.2% 97 7.8%
1990 1227 349 28.4% 85 6.9%
1991 1199 308 25.7% 104 8.7%
1992 1204 244 20.3% 84 7.0%
1993 1264 356 28.2% 119 9.4%
1994 1092 221 20.2% 83 7.6%
1995 990 279 28.2% 84 8.5%
1996 1069 314 29.4% 106 9.9%
1997 1015 276 27.2% 101 10.0%
1998 1018 250 24.6% 98 9.6%
1999 962 292 30.4% 138 14.3%
2000 1011 268 26.5% 114 11.3%
2001 961 252 26.2% 129 13.4%
2002 1036 228 22.0% 95 9.2%
2003 1029 278 27.0% 114 11.1%
2004 1021 257 25.2% 126 12.3%
2005 1040 267 25.7% 130 12.5%
2006 1025 264 25.8% 128 12.5%
2007 1019 248 24.3% 139 13.6%
2008 988 238 24.1% 140 14.2%
2009 990 230 23.2% 147 14.8%
2010 960 246 25.6% 129 13.4%
2011 948 239 25.2% 131 13.8%
2012 1005 232 23.1% 125 12.4%
2013 995 243 24.4% 133 13.4%
2014 988 208 21.1% 110 11.1%
2015 989 193 19.5% 95 9.6%
2016 918 186 20.3% 109 11.9%
2017 931 182 19.5% 100 10.7%
2018 896 184 20.5% 116 12.9%
2019 866 173 20.0% 118 13.6%
2020 852 147 17.3% 104 12.2%

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, N.Y.)

There are 279 cadets in the Class of 2020.

That includes:

  • 58 who were Scouts (20.8 percent)
  • 34 who are Eagle Scouts (12.2 percent)

Worth noting:

  • The Merchant Marine Academy hosts the Kings Point Camporee this month, where some 300 Boy Scouts will participate in tours, hands-on demonstrations and simulations.

U.S. Coast Guard Academy (New London, Conn.)

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy does not ask about Scouting participation on its applications.

Worth noting:


Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Scott Olson for the data.

26 Comments

  1. Compare, using Navy numbers, a class of 17-30% Scouts with the market penetration of all youth (about 7% ? (need validation here Bryan)), and we see that the academies select Scouts at ~4 times as much as does the rest of society. The country understands that we need Scouts. THAT is the real story here. Yeah Scouts!

    • Your conclusion is likely not accurate. Just because the academies enroll “at ~4 times as much as”. It does not tell you the application rate or the reject rate of either the scout or the non-scout group. Perhaps scouts are more likely to pursue enrollment at a military academy as opposed to non-scouts who may simply sign-up at the local recruitment office. Conversely, the academies now enroll females so in terms of male enrollees that scout percentage is even higher.

  2. Happy to say that an Eagle Scout from our troop (BSA Troop 321, Dallas, GA) is currently attending the Air Force Academy.

  3. Three Eagle Scouts from our troop have graduated from the academies, an Air Force engineer, an Army helicopter pilot, and the XO of the USS North Dakota (SSN-784).
    I talked with the USAFA Director of Admissions several years ago, and he said that Eagle Scout or Gold Award is THE tie breaker for applicants. I imagine that a Scout who earned Eagle Scout, Quartermaster, and Summit Award would be a shoo-in.

  4. My brother Col. Mike Wise, Special Forces, West Point Class of 1988, Eagle Class1980, Orange County Council, California is a proud member of those ranks.

  5. Besides the service academies there are senior military colleges like Univ North Georgia, Norwich University VT, Texas A&M, The Citadel NC, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute that value the Eagle rank in their applicants. My son is currently attending one of them.

  6. Two Eagle Scouts from Troop 107 (Wiesbaden, Germany) are currently attending the Naval Academy (Class 2018 and Class 2019). Both scouts also attended the same chapel service and were members of the high school Cross Country and Wrestling Teams.

  7. I’d also include ROTC and NROTC in this as my son is at Arizona State as a 4 year scholarship NROTC Marine Option winner and Eagle c/o 2013 (and graduated homeschooling). Eagling, and scouting in general, helps a lot!

  8. My Eagle scout is currently an NROTC Midshipman who just received an appointment to U. S. Naval Academy Class of 2021.

  9. All academies do or did support Philmont Rangers with a three-week program. I think USAFA, the academy that started the program originally has since quit their support. The others still participate.

  10. Sadly Norwich University (VT) Corps of Cadets dissolved their Eagle/Gold Scout organization during my son’s tenure there (he was a cadet). He enjoyed hosting troops and encouraging them to continue on to Eagle or Gold.

    • I am a cadet at Norwich University currently and I can tell you that that’s not true. I was in the club last year, and it is well and alive this year as well.

      It’s been active even longer than that as well.

  11. One of my Scouts went to the Coast Guard Academy, where he met three other Eagle Scouts. He is now in the Honor Guard.

  12. My son is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2013. Eagle in 2008. Now a Navy Pilot – F-18a/e Super Hornet. Go Navy!

  13. While Eagle Scouts are far more common, don’t forget Sea Scouts Quartermaster, Venturing Ranger and other awards. The Girl Scout Gold award is also something to recognize.

  14. While this is a great article, it is incomplete because it left out the Corp of Cadet Schools at Norwitch, Va. Tech, VMI, The Citadel, North Georgia, and Texas A&M. Most if not all of the Corp of Cadet schools have a NESA chapter or a Venture Crew. Also several Eagle Scouts and Scouts participate in their respective ROTC programs at their respective universities, as well as participating in their JROTC program at their local high schools. It would be nice to see data included in the Corp of Cadet Schools as well as all ROTC schools.

  15. Happy to report our Troop has a PERFECT record with Eagles going to USAFA, USMMA, USCGA, and several to USMA and not a single one to USNA.

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