Bucknell University
Bison Battalion Platoon conducting an ambush on enemy patrol during Fall FTX 2017.

Cadets during a FTX

Bison Battalion Platoon conducting an ambush on enemy patrol during Fall FTX 2017.

A Proud History - A Bright Future

The Bison Army ROTC Battalion has been proud to help develop the leaders of tomorrow.

BISON Battalion History

The military heritage of the Bison Battalion dates back to 1863, when the Student Voluntary Company was called to assist in stemming the Confederate tide that was to crest at Gettysburg. Since then, the Bison Battalion has been involved in the Spanish-American War in 1899, World War I, with the establishment of the Student's Army Training Corps, and World War II, with the establishment of the V-12 program for the Navy and marines both at Bucknell and Bloomsburg Universities. During the Korean War, Bucknell petitioned the Department of Defense to establish an Army ROTC unit on campus. The unit began in 1951 and commissioned its first officer in 1952. Since then, over 2,000 students have earned commissions through ROTC at Bucknell and its Partnership Schools. Initially, the new Department of Military Science offered basic and advanced training in two branches, the Transportation Corps and the Corps of Engineers. In 1956, the branch unit program was replaced by a general military science curriculum which prepares the ROTC graduate for commissioning in any branch of the Army. This curriculum remains in place today. In 1961, the basic ROTC course was no longer compulsory. During the Vietnam War era, the Bison Battalion ROTC suffered a loss of popularity, and, as a result, its academic department standing was lowered to that of a co-curricular program.


In 1973, Susquehanna University became a Partnership School with Bucknell. Their first commissioning took place in May of 1976.


In 1974, Bloomsburg State College and Lycoming College became Partnership Schools with Bucknell. Bloomsburg commissioned their first lieutenant in May of 1976, while Lycoming's first commissioning took place in July of 1977.


In 1986, Bloomsburg's ROTC department was elevated to an extension center. It maintained its own staff and cadet company organization until 1996 when it was reverted back to a partnership program. Over 100 cadets have earned their commission through the Bloomsburg ROTC program since its establishment in 1974.


In August of 1998, Pennsylvania College of Technology became a Partnership School with Bucknell. Their first commissioning took place in December of 1997.


In January of 2018, Pennsylvania College of Technology and Lycoming became Partnership Schools with Lock University of Pennsylvania.


Today, these Bison Battalion is comprised of Bucknell, Bloomsburg and Susquehanna Universities. These three schools make up the Bison Battalion, an organization that has earned respect throughout Cadet Command because of their enviable performance record at ROTC Advance Camp. As a result, the Bison Battalion won the Governor's Cup in 1989 which recognized this unit as the best ROTC unit in Pennsylvania. In 1990, and 2004, the battalion won the MacArthur Award from Cadet Command as the best small-school ROTC unit in the eastern United States. In 1996, the battalion was recognized as the second runner-up in the 2nd Brigade for their overall performance at Advance Camp.

Today's battalion of approximately 95 cadets continues to excel in training, developing and mentoring the future leaders of the United States Army.