Lehigh University

Steel Battalion’s history

The lineage of any unit is important because it highlights theaccomplishments of a unit and instills a sense of pride and esprit de corps inall of the soldiers within it. The ROTC program at Lehigh began in the summerof 1919 under the direction of Lehigh's President, Henry Drinker. Pres. Drinkerhad a great interest in the military and even accompanied his son to anexperimental summer camp set up by the ARMY Chief of Staff, Major GeneralLeonard Wood in 1913 at Gettysburg. This camp was designed to give college menmilitary instruction and made a strong impression on Drinker, who was appointedthe president of the newly formed Society of National Reserve Corps, NRC.Drinker also formed the Advisory Board of University Presidents for the NRC,which rallied support for more summer camps. All of this was done before theactual establishment of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in theNational Defense Act of 1916. ROTC was established because of the growing warin Europe and the troubles on the US-Mexican Border resulting from the MexicanCivil War. ROTC began as a regular summer camp and did not appear on collegecampuses until 1919, when Lehigh formed one of the first programs in thecountry. Note that Lafayette College established its' own program underLafayette President MacKracken in the mid 1800's. Lafayette even became amilitary reservation until World War I ended. During WWII, Lafayette moved upgraduation so men could go to war and even offered special training.

The requirements and composition of ROTC have changed drastically over theyears. In 1919 all males were required to take the basic ROTC course in orderto receive their baccalaureate degree. Up until 1925 Lehigh was specialized andoffered only Infantry training. It remained a graduation requirement until1962, when it became an elective. In that same year cross enrollment withMoravian College, De Sales Univ.(then Allentown College), Kutztown Univ., andMuhlenburg College began. In 1965, the two year ROTC program began for studentswho completed basic camp after their sophomore year. Women began enrolling intothe program in 1973. Lafayette had its' own ROTC program until 1991 when theLeopard battalion combined with the Steel Battalion.

The LUSB has a long history of clubs including the color guard, Scabbard andBlade, Society of Military Engineers, and the Ranger Club. The color guardbegan at Lehigh 1922 as the National Society of Perishing Rifles. The Scabbardand Blade, the national military honor society was established in December of1921. The Society of American Military Engineers was established in 1950. TheRanger Club began in the spring of 1967. The Ranger Club led to the Rangerchallenge team, which has placed first, second or third in the Liberty Brigadecompetition for over thirteen years.

This proud history of the Lehigh Valley Steel Battalion continues tocommission the finest future officer leadership of the United States Army in anever decreasing and more technically oriented Army.