Illinois State University
The Army honors its past, present in future. At the Commissioning Ceremony in May of 2004 several volunteers wore uniforms reaching back to the Revolutionary War to honor our veterans and new officers.

Uniforms past and present shown during the 2004 Commissioning Ceremony

The Army honors its past, present in future. At the Commissioning Ceremony in May of 2004 several volunteers wore uniforms reaching back to the Revolutionary War to honor our veterans and new officers.

The Basic Facts

Illinois State Normal University was founded in 1857 and renamed IllinoisState University in 1964.  The Redbird Battalion proudly bears the name ofour mascot and wears the school’s colors: white and red.  The school mottois “Gladly will he learn and gladly teach.”

A Legacy of Service

The founder of Illinois State University volunteered to serve in the UnionArmy during the Civil War.  Brevet Major General Charles E. Hovey wasjoined by over 100 of his fellow students and staff from ISU. The legacy hestarted continues today with every person in the Redbird Battalion.  ManyISU ROTC cadets do not choose careers in the Army and after their service iscomplete, pursue their goals in a number of other fields.  Illinois Statehas generated strong loyalty in its students with alumni like Major Randy Boydand Major James Keith and Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Burton coming back later inlife to serve theiralma mater.  Major Boyd received his commissionthrough the ISU Army ROTC Program in 1986.  Other ISU graduates chose alife of service later in life, like Lieutenant Commander Scholley, who was onlyfourth woman in Naval history to command a vessel.

The Birth of a Battalion

The Redbird Battalion began in 1980 as an extension center for theUniversity of Illinois Army ROTC program.  Strong support and enthusiasticstudent participation enabled the Redbird Battalion to expand.  Hostuniversity status was granted on 01 October 1981.  The Redbirds quicklycreated a unit crest and the Army Institute of Heraldry approved it in May1982.  The program continues to be successful and expand with the additionof cadets from Illinois Wesleyan University, Bradley University, MilikinUniversity, Lincoln College and Heartland Community College.  Presentlythe Redbird Battalion has commissioned almost 300 Lieutenants as the Long RedLine continues to grow.

Symbolism of the Redbird Battalion crest

Red and white are the colors of the University.  The battle-ax alludesto the military.  The rolled parchment is representative of academicendeavors.  The blockhouse refers to the historic background of the stateof Illinois.  The gold color of the metal is symbolic of excellence, andthe high standards of achievements of the university.