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BISON BATTALION

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These cadets are finishing up the Road March event at the 2005 Ranger Challenge.

Road March

These cadets are finishing up the Road March event at the 2005 Ranger Challenge.

The History of Military Science at Indiana University

Army ROTC has a long tradition at Indiana University starting 76 years priorto The National Defense Act of 1926 establishing the ROTC program. The first military instructor was Professor Jacob Ammen, a West Point Graduate and former professor there. In 1843 Ammen resigned from the faculty at Indiana and reentered the military and later became a Brigadier General during the Civil War. Upon Ammen’s departure, military instruction ended at Indiana until the Civil War ended when the civilian faculty routinely instructed tactics and drill.

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson designated retired Major General Eli Longas Military Professor at Indiana University. For the next 48 years military instruction continued at Indiana University. Enrollment was just over 300 students at the turn of the century including 33 women cadets.  Followingthe National Defense Act of 1916, the first official ROTC program at Indiana University was organized under 1LT Kenneth P. Williams on 17 April 1917.

Several students, one of which was Lewis B. Hershey, who later became a General and was appointed as the director of Selective Service by President Truman in 1948, assisted Williams. As early as 1920 the ROTC program was ratedby the War Department as a “Distinguished College” for having one of the top twenty ROTC units in the country.

The Indiana University Department of Bands was established in 1914 under the Military Department and remained there until 1948. From 1922 until 1942,freshman and sophomores received military credit for bad participation. The ROTC marching bad, originally called “Indiana’s Famous Marching and Playing Hundred” performed all over the country during the 1930’s. The band performed at the Kentucky Derby in 1931 and the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, and was the official honor guard for the presidential candidate Wendell Willkie in 1940.The Department of Bands was separated from the Military Department in 1948 and the marching band is now called the Indiana University “Marching Hundred”

In 1942, the War Department initiated the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps(WAAC), and Indiana University established a Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. This was the first training program of its type established at any American university. Also in 1942, the Military Department was established under the direction of Colonel R.L. Shoemaker and it became a separate department withinthe College of Arts and Sciences. Nearly 9,200 Indiana University Alumni served during World War II. Colonel R.L. Shoemaker became Dean of Students at IU after retiring from the Army

Colonel James M. Morris, Infantry, became Professor of Military Science and Tactics (PMS&T) at IU in 1945. In the latter part of 1946, he was ordered to Germany, where he served as a judge on the World War II War Crimes Tribunal, which tried the Buchenwald Concentration Camp Case at Dachau, a former concentration camp near Munich. After retirement from the Army, Colonel Morris became the first Director of Civil Defense in Alachua County Florida. He died in 1961 in Gainesville, Florida and is buried in Arlington NationalCemetery.

The department went through many changes until 1964, when the current basis of operation was established. In 1972, Indiana University was one of the first ten universities in the country to formally accept women in the ROTC program.

The PMS&T following Colonel Morris was Colonel Jesse E. Graham, Infantry. His daughter, Eve, was elected Arbutus Queen while she was a studentat IU, during Colonel Graham’s tenure as PMS&T. Colonel Graham, West Point Class of November 1918, retired from the Army in 1954. He died in Alexandria,Virginia in 1977.

Unlike the mandatory freshman enrollment which swelled the rank of ROTC during the 1960’s, the current program is voluntary for any student during the first two years. Over 100 students participate in the ROTC course each year. In addition to the regularly scheduled classes there are a number of extra-curricular events sponsored by the ROTC department. These events include sponsoring the Pershing Rifles, Ranger Challenge Club.

What’s a Screaming Bison?

What, you may ask, is a Screaming Bison? The Commissioning Class of 1986 was charged with establishing a nickname for the cadet battalion. A quick glance at the Indiana State Seal portrays a buffalo jumping over a log. Inspired by the buffalo on the state seal, the Class of 1986 began to research the military significance of the buffalo. Their research took them to the battlefields of the Korean War, were the 17th Infantry Regiment, led by Colonel William “Buffalo” Quinn, led the United States forces across the Yalu River tothe battle the North Korean Army. A war correspondent likened the bold and aggressive spirit of the “Buffalo Regiment” to that of “a herd of screaming bison.” Intrigued by the fighting spirit of the 17th InfantryRegiment the Class of 1986 nicknamed the cadet battalion the “Screaming Bison Battalion.” On the right shoulder of their uniforms, the cadets of the battalion wear the Bison Patch and affixed on the class A uniform is the unit crest which both proudly display a bison.