A PROUD HISTORY-A BRIGHT FUTURE
The Eastern Michigan University ROTC Battalion has been proud to help develop the leaders of tomorrow.
Irwin Shepard, from Chelsea, enlisted August 7, 1862. He rose through theranks to become an Orderly Sergeant and served with Echo Company until May 6,1864 when he was wounded at "The Wilderness." He was discharged onaccount of his wounds on May23, 1865. Mr. Shepard was awarded the Medal ofHonor for his actions during an attack on his unit by snipers. The date was 20November, 1863 and the place Knoxville, Tennessee. The citation reads asfollows: Having voluntarily accompanied a small party to destroy buildingswithin the enemy's lines, whence sharpshooters had been firing, disregarded anorder to retire, remained and completed the firing of the buildings, thusinsuring their total destruction; this at the imminent risk of his life fromthe fire of the advancing enemy.
The Bentley library, located on the campus of the University of Michigan,has a collection of Mr. Shepard's letters to his family written while he servedwith Echo Company.
Major Frank Maki
Major Frank Maki was born in 1928 to a family of Finnish immigrant farmersin Rudyard Michigan, a small community in the Upper Peninsula. He would serve aprestigious career of 25 years before his untimely death at age 43 in Vietnam.During this time he earned numerous awards including the Silver Star withValor, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.
Sergeant Maki accepted a reserve commission as a Second Lieutenant whileserving in the Korean War. He continued to serve in the Regular Army as an NCO,as he was promoted as a reserve officer.
He taught ROTC at Eastern Michigan University for four years, where he ledthe rifle team to the championship and served as an advisor to Arm of HonorFraternity. During this time, he accepted his promotion to Captain even thoughhe was rated number one on the list to be promoted to Sergeant Major.
He then served as a Company Commander at Fort McClellan where his troopswould earn four consecutive Best Company awards.
Captain Maki was killed in action at Fort Base Fuller while coordinatingmedical aid to wounded soldiers on June 22, 1971 during his third tour inVietnam. He was then posthumously promoted to Major.
Surviving Major Maki are his wife, Gay, and daughters, Tye and Kim.
Award of The Silver Star
For gallantry in action: Captain Maki distinguished himself by gallantry inaction on 20 - 22 June 1971 while serving as Senior Advisor to the 1stBattalion, 2d Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnamat Fire Support Base Fuller in Quang Tri Province. Captain Maki heroicallyparticipated in the defenses of Fire Support Base Fuller by accompanying andassisting his Vietnamese counterpart against the North Vietnamese Army thrust.After more than two continuous days of intensive direct and indirect fire andground attacks, the NVA managed to breech the defenses. Captain Maki thendirected many tactical air strikes and aerial rocket artillery against theenemy. During this time he continued to reappraise the tactical situation,adjust supporting fires and coordinate medical aid to the wounded Vietnamesesoldiers. Though he had been sixty hours without rest, he continued to assisthis counterparts up until the moment he was mortally wounded by an enemyartillery round. His extraordinary example of leadership and valiant courageradiated throughout the Fire Support Base and inspired the Vietnamese torepulse the enemy attack. Captain Maki's conspicuous gallantry in action was inkeeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflectsgreat credit upon himself and the military service.
(As written in Major Maki's Award of the Silver Star announcement, by LTCAugust G. Seifert)
17th Michigan “The Stonewall Regiment”
At the end of May 1862 the Adjutant General of Michigan Announced that a newregiment was to be formed, designated the 17th. General order No. 150 specifiedthat the new regiment should be ready in 30 days, serve for three years andrendezvous at Detroit barracks. The order also stated that the regiment was tobe clothed, armed and equipped before leaving the state. On 15 June 1862 therendezvous commenced at the Detroit barracks. Col. James E. Pittman was chargedwith putting the regiment under military drill and discipline, and to prepareit for the field. Among those trying to recruit for the new regiment was ThomasMatthews, a senior classman at the Michigan Normal School (Now Eastern MichiganUniversity). He had written an a letter to the editor of the Detroit FreePress, it stated:
“We are emphatically of the student persuasion, and shall carry the student’sconstancy and energy into our soldier life. We know the value of our “free”institutions, and shall defend them to the death. We fight for our countrywithout regard to personal emolument or pay, and, in the name of our holycause, ask all strictly moral young men, to join our ranks.” -DFP 7 Aug1862
Many other Normal School students took it upon themselves to recruit for thenew regiment. One set up a recruiting station in Kinne & Smith’s book storeon the north side of Congress Street. He mailed out a circular to both past andpresent students. Response was quick. Company E would be composed of one-thirdNormal school students, One third from Jackson County, and the last fromWashtenaw County. By august 9th over 900 men had enlisted in the regiment. Assoon as each company was filled, it was mustered into Federal General Service.Other Company’s were mustered first, Company E (the Normal School Company),officially joined the ranks on 18 August 1862. This Quote from the DetroitAdvertiser and tribune describes the youthful regiment:
“The seventeenth has, probably, more of the youth of the state in its ranksthan any other regiment that has yet gone… but they can handle a musket as wellas anybody.”
September 1862- April 1865
South Mountain, MD, September 1862
Antietam, MD, September 1862
Fredericksburg, VA, December 1862
Kentucky, April-July 1862
Vicksburg & Jackson, MISS, August 1863
Kentucky, September 1863
Knoxville, TENN, September-December 1863
East Tennessee, January-April 1864
Wilderness & Spotsylvania, VA, April 1864
Cold Harbor- N Anna, VA, June 1864
Petersburg, VA, July-December 1864
Eagle Battalion History
Army ROTC at Eastern Michigan University was introduced to the campus in1952. At that time, EMU was known as the Michigan State Normal School and had213 freshmen enrolled in ROTC classes. From its inception, the ROTC program atEMU has been a strong, respected, well-supported campus institution. Prior tothe 1968-69 school year, ROTC was mandatory for all first-semester freshmanmales for their first two years of college. Classes were taught in Welch Hall.Extracurricular activities included: Scabbard and Blade, and AUSA Company, aCounter-Insurgency Unit, Drill Team and a Drum and Bugle Corps.
Major changes came in 1968 when ROTC became fully elective. The programmoved to Roosevelt Hall (its current location) in July 1973. The universityallowed the residing cadre liberty to design the new facilities themselves.They included a multi-level firing range, supply room and plenty of day roomspace for the cadets.
The period of greatest enrollment was in 1966 with 1,856 cadets in theprogram. In 1974, enrollment dropped to 74 cadets. Today, there are 170 cadetsin the ROTC program.
Extracurricular activiites include
- Raiders (Ranger Challenge)
- Rifle Team
- Color Guard
Distinguished graduates of EMU include:
- Lieutenant General Oren DeHaven
- Congressman Carl D. Pursell
- General John C. Coburn (Commander U.S. Materiel Command)
- Brigadier General John Rowland and Colonel William J. Stephens.