Every year, the freshman class of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, along with their training chain of command, complete a 26 mile march known as the Caldwell march. The Caldwell march commemorates the journey of Addison Caldwell, the first student to attend the then Virginia Agricultural And Mechanical College. In order to make this difficult march easier to complete, the VTCC divides it into two portions.
Phase I of the Caldwell march occurs at the end of the Red Phase of New Cadet training, about 6 weeks into the school year. At the end of Red Phase, freshman Cadets have learned most of the basic tools they need to be successful in the Corps. At the end of Red Phase, the training model changes, and freshmen are assigned to team leaders who assist them in individual leadership development for the remainder of the year.
Phase II of the Caldwell march takes place between the White and Blue Phases. The second half of the march, being the more strenuous of the two, serves as a test of the physical abilities of the freshman Cadets. Additionally, this phase of the march serves as a right of passage into the new training phase. During Blue Phase, freshman Cadets enjoy increased privileges, as well as increased responsibility within the Corps. Blue Phase is all about preparing the freshmen to become sophomores.