If you ask a non-military person to name the biggest military academy in the U.S.A, the immediate response will probably be West Point. However, Wentworth Military Academy down in Missouri has been training military cadets way back since 1880. Wentworth may not be the most famous name tripping over everybody’s lips, but if you were to say Lexington then perhaps you would get a semblance of recognition.
Stephen Girard Wentworth
Stephen Wentworth moved to Lexington in 1840 where he mostly was engaged as a businessman, and when his son died, he wanted to bequest a legacy to his memory and opened a school in 1880. Two years later the school was turned into a military academy, albeit with broomsticks sufficing as rifles.
Wentworth Male Academy
The military academy was an idea of the principal of the school to add an extra dimension of discipline and introduce exercise into the students’ lives. The school was conceived as a non-profit making organization and continued this way during its long illustrious existence. As a point of interest females were only first allowed to attend the school in 1993.
Air Force Academy
As soon as feasible Wentworth Military Academy linked itself with the Air Force and the Falcon Foundation. The Falcon Foundation offers academically talented students a one-year scholarship that could lead to enrollment into the U.S Air Force Academy. This link between Wentworth and the Air Force was forged in 1971, and one of the most famous alumni that graduated to the air force was General Mark Welsh who became not just a four-star general but also the Chief of Staff.
Wentworth has produced some famous alumni that many people would automatically think studied at West Point. These include George Turner and William Adams who hailed from Wyoming but unfortunately died in the Vietnam War. Wentworth draw their students from all over America but particularly the southern states that include Texas, Florida, and California. When graduating from Wentworth cadets have membership directly to the National Guard or the Army Reserve.
Changing with the Times
Wentworth has seen the benefit of moving with the times and not to be dragged down by old traditions as many military academies do. It embraces change but its main focus remains on the relationship between the cadets and the college. Once a cadet graduates from Wentworth then they have one year and a half to complete their degree, which is a four-year course at any college of their choice.
The 2017 Closing
In April 2017 Wentworth Military Academy ceased all operations at the Lexington campus. This announcement came as a great shock to both parents and cadets but in typical Wentworth fashion the transition of students to other places of education was handled efficiently and with great passion. The campus at Lexington is famous throughout the world, and its past history and old alumni will always bear testament to how important Wentworth Military Academy has been to the history of America.