For 100 years, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) has combined scholarly learning with military training to prepare students across the nation to become commissioned officers in the U.S. military.
Since its creation by the National Defense Act of 1916, ROTC has become the largest producer of U.S. military officers, producing more than one million officers for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force.
This fall, the ISU Army ROTC program will host a 100th Anniversary Celebration to recognize the centennial year of the United States Army Cadet Command and Army ROTC programs nationwide. The celebration will take place Sept. 2-4 on campus. Events will include a welcome reception, a tailgate before the ISU vs. UNI football game, a barbecue, and campus tours.
Army ROTC has been a part of Iowa State University’s history since the college’s first classes were held in 1869. Although a student could not obtain a commission under the program in the early years, he could obtain a degree by completing the four-year course in "Military Tactics and Engineering," in which all male students of the college (except those excused by proper authority) were required to complete to become members of the College Battalion. The ROTC program was formally introduced at Iowa State in 1919, it became voluntary in 1962, and women were accepted into the program in 1972.
More than 5,000 officers have been commissioned through ISU Army ROTC. Those officers serve Iowa, the country, and the world as active duty soldiers in a variety of fields, from science to intelligence to combat. About half of each graduating class commissions as new Second Lieutenants who serve in the Iowa Army National Guard.
"Iowa State Army ROTC is a huge benefit to the state of Iowa," said Lieutenant Colonel Ethan Dial, professor of military science. "Through our educational, training, leadership, and character development events, the cadets bring a wealth of knowledge back to the state. They bring their hard earned degrees and the skills they learned in ROTC with them to various communities around the state, serving Iowa and the nation."
ISU Army ROTC cadets are leaders in community: they teach winter survival skills to Boy Scouts, present leadership lessons to Girl Scouts, volunteer at several local veterans organizations, organize community trash cleanup, present the Colors at home football games, and volunteer their time at elementary schools.
"We have benefited the University for more than 100 years by educating ROTC students in moral and ethical standards, which they share with their fellow students," LTC Dial said. "We will continue to develop cadets as leaders of character who understand the art and science of Mission Command."
Accolades: The ISU Army ROTC program has received the MacArthur Award – presented only to the top eight programs in the nation – five times in the last decade. It has ranked as the top ROTC program for Leadership Development and Assessment Course scores twice, and the battalion’s average GPA is kept above 3.2.