University of Iowa
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MIGHTY HAWKEYE BATTALION

(319) 335-9187/9192; cell: (319) 430-7682

army-rotc@uiowa.edu

The Corps of Cadets forms up with the University Band in front of the old armory in 1907.

Army ROTC Tradition at the University of Iowa.

The Corps of Cadets forms up with the University Band in front of the old armory in 1907.

Military instruction on the campus of The University of Iowa had its beginnings in the fall of 1861 when University President Oliver M. Spencer called for the establishment of a military department at the University. The first course, however, was not offered until school year 1864-1865. After the close of the Civil War, interest in military training declined and drill was discontinued in 1867. On August 26, 1874, the War Department assigned First Lieutenant Alexander D. Schenck, Second Artillery, as the first professor of military science (PMS) at the University. The Department of Military Science at The University of Iowa has been in continuous existence since that time. With the exception of a few months during the Spanish-American War, there have been active duty army officers assigned to the department on a full-time basis since Lieutenant Schenck assumed the duties of PMS in 1874.

The department has made many significant contributions to the University, the State of Iowa, and the nation in the past century, not only in providing qualified military leaders for times of emergency, but also in establishing many traditions which continue to this day. On March 11, 1875, the first University band was formed as a branch of the Iowa Corps of Cadets and on June 17, 1881, the first Governor's Day ceremonies were held. The Military Ball, which has been an annual event on campus for many years, was first held on February 26, 1895. Classes were originally conducted in the Old Capitol and various other buildings in the Pentacrest area until the Armory was constructed across from the current University Library in 1904. In May 1908, the Cadet Battalion went on its first large-scale practice march and maneuvers north of Iowa City near Turkey Creek.

On March 1, 1917, the war in Europe brought about the establishment of Army ROTC (Reserve Officers ‘Training Corps) at The University of Iowa and the program (which commissions officers in the Active Army and Reserve Forces) has continued to this day in similar form. Today, the Department of Military Science exists both as a full academic department in the College of Liberal Arts and as a detachment of USACC’s 3rd ROTC BDE, headquartered at Great Lakes Naval Station North of Chicago, Illinois, with enrollment averaging 125 students in the total program.