First seen in Legion of Lawndale Heroes 12.1, "The Wild and The Young", The United States Academy of Extranormal Studies is a military academy just outside the city of Evansville, Indiana (in Vanderburgh County), which was founded for the purpose of training young persons with metahuman abilities for career opportunities in the U.S. Armed Forces, various organizations in the United States Government (as well as state and local agencies), and (for trainees hailing from eligible nations) the ability to serve their respective homelands in similar venues.
The Academy is divided into two sections; the First Academy (which provides primary- and secondary-level educational studies to cadets between the ages of twelve to nineteen) and the Elite Academy (which is a fully-accredited collegiate-level institution). The USAES Corps of Cadets is comprised of approximately 2,000 individuals: The First Academy has between 650-800 (each year, 100 standard cadets are accepted, as well as up to 150 'civilian trainees' who are subject to the same standards and studies as standard cadets; in addition, there may be cadets who have been held back for a number of reasons) while the Elite Academy accepts up to 1,200 cadets per year (as well as the 100-plus Cadets Third Class, who are not on campus due to being engaged in their 'internship year' advanced studies).
(NOTE: It must be noted, in discussions on how so many extranormally-powered persons managed to go unnoticed until Revelation Day. This is mainly due to the fact that less than thirty percent of the entire USAES Corps of Cadets in any given year are of Class Three or higher ability levels, and also due to the USAES Geas of Attendance (a mystically-binding code of conduct that helps keep attendees from acting in ways to reveal their abilities to the public). Overall, efforts towards what people have referred to as 'The Masquerade' were spectacularly successful on a global basis until the revelation of powers by the American metahuman youth group known as The Legion.)
The First Academy provides a world-class educational experience that will allow the successful cadet to pursue academic opportunities at any academic institution he or she sees fit to pursue, or begin a career in any potential entry-level area of national or military service (which the cadet will be able to rapidly advance through). The Elite Academy provides academic majors that will award cadets degrees in either Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts upon completion of their studies, as well as commissions into the United States Armed Forces (as active-duty officers, members of the National Guard of their destined state, or as members of the Reserve of their chosen branch of military service). In addition, the Academy offers minors in non-traditional areas of study (for a military institution) in keeping with the nature of the Academy's mandate towards preparing cadets for not just careers in service, but of a civilian nature after their service obligation has been fulfilled.
During their time in the First Academy, cadets study along three primary educational areas, or 'tracks'. These are:
- Academic/Professional (studies and on-hands training directly related to their basic/advanced academic studies and further academic studies/potential occupational choices after their departure from USAES) or after graduation). This track encompasses the cadet's academic major, all internships/apprenticeships (such as the USAES Legion Liaison Program), all independent projects/studies (even if they are related to or also overseen by one of the other two tracks), and all applicable extracurricular activities that are not specifically covered in the Metahuman Studies track.
- Metahuman Studies (training directly related to their metahuman abilities or preternatural skills.) This includes all related matters towards officially sanctioned USAES Cadet Special Operations Teams.
- Professional/Active Service (studies and on-hands training directly related to their stated occupations or further academic studies after graduation). All Elite Academy cadets study this track on equal footing with the others. Beginning as Cadets Second Year, cadets who are planning to attempt transfer to either the USAES Elite Academy, the Horizon Institute for Valor and Excellence or other military academies (or who plan to forego collegiate-level studies for entry-level military service, service in 'first responder' careers (law-enforcement, fire response, rescue/EMT services, etc.) also begin classes in this track. All USAES programs that involve interscholastic dealings on any matters not specifically delegated to the other two educational tracks are under the authority of this track; this includes all sports teams, the USAES Ambassador Program, the USAES Special Financial Aid Program, and the Phantom Eagles.
The overwhelming majority of graduating cadets from the USAES Elite Academy are commissioned as either Ensigns or Second Lieutenants. However, in cases of exemplary achievement and service during their time at the Elite Academy (including the one year 'internship year' all cadets serve as Cadets Third Class), a number of cadets may be commissioned as Lieutenants Junior Grade or First Lieutenants. In addition, cadets who have distinguished themselves with extraordinary achievements in special certifications within their metahuman service tracks (for example, being awarded the Healer/Medical Practitioner certification in the USAES Enhanced Lifeform and Medical Studies Program) can be commissioned with enhanced rank. It is a tradition to commission Healer/Medical Practitioner-certified USAES cadets as Captains or Lieutenants Senior Grade (as they are fully qualified to be immediately stationed in medical facilities and work as physician's assistants, nurse practitioners or battlefield medical personnel), or can proceed immediately to medical school.
There are four programs that make up the USAES Professional/Active Service track: 'They are:
Armed Forces Service Track - this is for cadets who choose to enter the seven uniformed services of the United States (ex. United States Marine Corps).
Federal Service Track - this is for cadets who choose to enter the law-enforcement, foreign-service and intelligence organizations that serve the United States (ex. Federal Bureau of Investigation).
National Service Track - this program is for cadets who choose to enter the civilian-oriented and domestic-related organizations that serve the United States (ex. National Parks Service). All science-related specializations (except all medical-related ones) go through this track.
Metahuman Special Operations Track - this program is for cadets who specifically intend to become part of a metahuman special operations unit (i.e. the Legion, a DELPHI P.O.G.O. group, etc.) as opposed to specifically military- or law-enforcement-related metahuman operations duties. In LLH 13:7, 'Express Yourself', it was revealed that the USAES administration had authorized the creation of this track, after the formal Academy review and a special Department of Defense inquiry into how the Legionnaires (a team of hyper-powerful yet meagerly-trained youth compared to Elite Academy cadets) had managed to technically fight the members of Training Cadre 2996 to an effective draw. The training protocols of Richard Blumenberg were found to be the deciding factor, and thus, his materials were taken as the basis for that new training track.
There are seven programs that make up the USAES Metahuman Studies track. They are (along with the official USAES Metahuman Studies service track patches of each program):
- USAES Advanced Cybernetics, Mechanics and Electronics Program/ACME ) - founded in August 1962. (A flaming anvil, hammer and gears over a globe, with circuit overlay/sine wave background. On the side of the anvil is a series of Morse code symbols (-... . . .--. -....- -... . . .--.) that translates to 'Beep-beep' - the sound that the Warner Brothers animated character 'Road Runner' makes; this is an inside joke referencing how the program is knows for creating advanced technology like that used by the Road Runner's nemesis Wile E. Coyote, which is purchased from the fictional 'ACME Company'.)
- USAES Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program - founded in August 1929. (The Vitruvian Man with angelic wings, a 'Kato mask' and a 'third eye' placed before crossed Spartan-style spears and a rising sun.) It is traditionally the largest program at USAES, as any cadet who does not have powers that specifically warrant placement in any of the other programs are placed here; also, cadets who specifically wish to be considered for combat or law-enforcement duties after graduation may request to be placed in this program even if their powers would merit placement in another program. Since the mid-1970s, the program is often referred to by its members as 'KATO' (a slightly-skewed interpretation of the program acronym, and an homage to Bruce Lee, who actually took several 'KATO' special seminars in the early 1960s instead of enrolling in the CAUSE program). The program patch was re-designed after Lee's death as a further homage to him and his legacy as a fighter.
- USAES Combatant/Archivist-Ultimate Studies/Extranormal Program/CAUSE - founded in August 1870. (A hoplon (emblazoned with thirteen five-point stars) and crossed spear, tomahawk and lever-action rifle over a globe, bordered by mistletoe and crowned by a laurel wreath.) It is the third oldest program at USAES, formed five years after the American Civil War (as several solders on both sides demonstrated near-paranormal skills and abilities which USAES personnel reasoned could be fashioned into a new training program for non-powered personnel.
- USAES Enhanced Lifeform and Medical Studies Program/ELMS - founded in August 1962. It was split off from the Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program and merged with the former Special Technologies and Unified Medical Program. (The caduceus (with a single snake with a tiny pair of avian-style wings and a spiral of binary system numerals [in place of a second snake] spiraled around the staff) before a double helix with the Roman numeral 'XXIII' on the top of the staff, positioned between a pair of elm trees.)
- USAES Mental Educational and Enhancement Program/MEEP - founded in August 1962. (The Greek letter 'Psi' (with Shepard's crook, broadsword and lightning bolt - in that order from left to right - going through the three tines) before the North Pole on a globe, with North America, Europe and Asia clearly visible and a streak of light (representing the character of the 'Road Runner' running at light-speed) half-circling the globe. The entire emblem is inside a pyramid.) It is the most recent program founded at USAES, its personnel having been split off from the old USAES Special Communications Systems Program to stand as their own proprietary operations program.
- USAES Mystical Augmentation, Research and Educational Systems Program/MARES - founded in August 1818. (A trio of running horses before a 'quartered circle' eclipsing a sun, with burning torchs on either side of the circle and sun. This is encircled by thirteen 'athame'.) It is the oldest program at USAES.
- USAES Special Transportation Systems Program - founded in August 1836. (A leaping Pegasus with extended wings being ridden by Hermes (the Greek Emissary & Messenger of the Gods, with winged sandals/cap, caduceus held in his left hand as if he is attacking, and a coach gun in a scabbard on the saddle) before a rising sun over a globe with the Eastern U.S. Coast prominently displayed). It is the second-oldest program at USAES, founded during the second decade of American westward expansion when government and corporate interests determined that better methods of moving select personnel and materials into the colonized areas of the U.S. were necessary, and persons with applicable abilities (as well as ACM-trained Cadets) had the requisite skills needed.
In addition, there were two programs formerly in the "Metahuman Service" track:
- USAES Special Communications Systems Program - founded in August 1869; it was dissolved in June 1962 when its psi-active assets formed the Mental Enhancement and Education Program, while the rest were merged with elements of the the Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program to form the USAES Advanced Cybernetics, Mechanics and Electronics Program. (A globe with three eyes, the 'third eye' electric-blue in color, with a sine wave and radio tower behind the globe.)
- USAES Special Technologies and Unified Medical Program - founded in August 1870; it was dissolved in May 1962 when it was merged with elements from the Advanced Infantry Technologies and Operations Program to form the Enhanced Lifeform and Medical Studies Program. (The 'Star of Life' cradled within a pair of glowing hands, fixed within a Mercator projection, with a Shepard's crook and a broadsword placed behind the two side-points of the star.) It had the unfortunate acronym of STUMP.