Auburn University
The War Eagle Battalion is headquartered in the Nichols Center, which was named in honor of Congressman William F. Nichols, a 1939 graduate of Auburn University who was commissioned through Army ROTC as a Field Artillery officer. Captain Nichols was wounded in action while fighting in the European Theater of World War II and served as an Alabama State Senator before becoming a United States Congressman in 1967.

The William F. Nichols Center

The War Eagle Battalion is headquartered in the Nichols Center, which was named in honor of Congressman William F. Nichols, a 1939 graduate of Auburn University who was commissioned through Army ROTC as a Field Artillery officer. Captain Nichols was wounded in action while fighting in the European Theater of World War II and served as an Alabama State Senator before becoming a United States Congressman in 1967.

History in the Making

Military training has been a tradition at Auburn University since 1856,though the aftermath of the American Civil War interrupted instruction until1872.  Martial instruction resumed when Auburn became a Land Grant Collegeunder the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862, which required the university tofurnish military instruction to its students, and the central feature of theCorps of Cadets was Company “K”, first mentioned in the Glomerata of1897.

The National Defense Act of 1916 established the Reserve Officers TrainingCorps, but two thousand Auburn alumni served in World War I before 1919, whenAuburn became one of 37 Land Grant Colleges in the United States where ROTC wasborn. It would grow to become one of the best in the nation.

The rifle team was organized in 1920, and the pistol team, established in 1923,won the National Collegiate Pistol Matches in 1924 and 1925.  The firstROTC summer encampment was held in 1921at Camp Knox, Kentucky, and the localAuburn Sabres reorganized as Company L, 5th Regiment of the NationalMilitary Honor Society of Scabbard and Blade in 1924.

After World War II, the university built the “ROTC Hangar” on the ‘new drillfield’ (Morris Field) at West Magnolia and Wire Road.  It housed all threeservices, a rifle range and various Army ROTC and Naval ROTC classroomfacilities. 

The Fall quarter of 1970 marked the end of Auburn University’s long-standingROTC graduation requirement, and the War Eagle Company of the Association ofthe United States Army was organized at Auburn on December 9, 1970.  OnOctober 4, 1986, Auburn University held a ceremony to dedicate its new ROTCfacility, the William F. Nichols Center.  The building, named in honor ofCongressman Bill Nichols, continues to house all three services and offers someof the finest and most technologically advanced classrooms available to ArmyROTC nationwide.

Auburn has a rich heritage as part of our Nation’s defense structure, and it iswith great pride that the cadre and staff continue to inspire cadets of the WarEagle Battalion to participate in a program that remains vital to our nationaldefense. 

Auburn University Alumni’s Achievements

In 1982, one of our alumni won the prestigious Hughes Award as the mostoutstanding Army ROTC cadet in the nation.  Our alumni include at least 57General Officers, multiple Silver Star and Governor’s Award recipients, anOlympic Gold Medalist, a Shuttle Astronaut, and an all-pro NFL Player. Auburn’s Army ROTCprogram is rated one of the 15 best training programs in thecountry.  Over the last six years, we have placed first or second among 22schools in brigade level Ranger Challenge competition, and the War eagleBattalion continues to rank in the top 10% of our Brigade in every majortraining category.