top of page

Columbus Cadets



Also known as:

  • Columbus Cadet Corps

  • Knights of Columbus Cadets

  • Knights of Columbus Cadet Corps

Originally called the Columbus Cadets, this Catholic uniformed, patriotic, militaristic boy organization got its start in 1916 in Milwaukee and soon went national. The Knights of Columbus sponsored the group. Newspapers used various titles throughout the years, while the program itself changed to Columbus Cadet Corps some time later. Also, at some point later, the CYO took over the program.

The chief organizer of the movement, Mr. Peter F. Murphy described the program:

    To inspire the rising generation with ideals of loyalty and patriotism, to encourage the study of the history of our country, to teach respect for constituted authority and to inculcate and promote the love of God and country. The stability of a republic depends upon the character of its citizens, therefore the moral and religious training is given in our schools is patriotic service of the highest order. It is our purpose to extend this work of our schools in the formation of character and the training for citizenship.

    As the Columbus Cadets are a military and patriotic organization, military drill supplemented by instruction in United States history, the nature and functions of republican government, and the rights and duties of American citizenship, will constitute a considerable portion of its activities. Athletic sports of course will be promoted, mutual and unselfish service encouraged, and in short every available means employed for the betterment of the boys, so far as this may be done without interfering with the regular school work.


Brass Columbus Cadet hat emblem


Later on, Columbus Cadet Corps came under the umbrella of the CYO - Catholic Youth Organization and members wore this patch on the right sleeve of the uniform shirt

This pin came in pairs, maybe for the collar or epaulets?  

The Columbus Cadet Corps strip (L) was stitched above the left pocket

This patch was worn on the left sleeve


Early uniform description

1960's era gold medal for Infantry Drill

This article makes clear that the Boy Scout program was the main rival for young boy programs. 

1963 Columbus Cadet medal for Handicraft

bottom of page