Missouri S&T’s Army ROTC program recently received the Best Battalion Award for the 3rd Brigade, which includes 42 programs from 10 states. This is the first time S&T’s program has received the honor.
The award is based on performances in Warrior Forge training, Commission Mission achievement, recruiting success and average Order of Merit scores. Missouri S&T’s ROTC program also received the Most Improved Battalion and First Place Commissioning Awards.
Warrior Forge training is mandatory for all cadets seeking a commission and must be completed between their junior and senior years.
“The training is held at Fort Lewis, Wash., with close to 6,000 cadets attending,” says Lt. Col. Brenden Burke, professor of military science at S&T. “They are evaluated against a standard and are grouped with cadets from throughout the nation. We sent 12 cadets and all graduated.”
The Commission Mission achievement requires each unit to commission a number of new second lieutenants each year based on the amount of resources provided from headquarters. Last year, S&T’s program was on a mission to commission seven new lieutenants and commissioned 14. The program’s recruitment effort also exceeded its mission.
Order of Merit scores are based on each cadet’s academics, performance at Warrior Forge, physical fitness tests and extracurricular activities. Rankings are used to determine cadets’ assignments to a component (active duty, Army Reserve or Army National Guard) and a branch (military specialty).
“I’m not sure how we placed relative to other programs,” says Burke, “but 14 out of 15 of our cadets received their component and one of their four branch choices.”
The Army ROTC has been at S&T in various forms since January 1919, when it first appeared as an Engineer Unit of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (which replaced the Student Army Training Corps that briefly existed the prior year). At the time, training was compulsory for all qualified men in the freshmen and sophomore classes.
Participation remained mandatory until 1964, when the program was changed from an engineer unit to a general military science program. Cadets who completed the program were eligible to request any branch of the Army upon commission.
Women were accepted into the program in 1973, and the first female lieutenant was commissioned in 1976.
Since the first lieutenant pinned his bars in 1919, more than 2,475 officers have been commissioned through the program, nine of which achieved the rank of general officer.
The 3rd Brigade was recently created from a combination of smaller brigades. In 2006-07, S&T’s program won Best Small Battalion in its previous brigade of 22 schools from four states.