Michigan Technological University
The 1st Arctic Battalion has a heritage dating back to 1928.

The 1st Arctic Battalion has a heritage dating back to 1928.

The history of the Michigan Tech is closely interwoven with that of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. In 1917, over 300 men of the 1st Battalion, 107th Engineers, were mobilized on the campus. Every officer of this battalion was a graduate of Michigan Tech. In addition, many students of the college and faculty members joined Company "G", 125th Infantry, 32nd Division.

In the summer of 1928, the War Department authorized the formation of an Engineer Unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps at the Michigan College of Mining and Technology. Establishment of this unit was accomplished largely through the effort of Professor Julius T. Natchazel, a past member of the academic faculty and a former Army officer. On 26 October 1928, the first Federal Inspection was conducted on the campus, and by November, the unit included approximately 100 cadets and the required courses were under way. Although the program was voluntary, this initial enrollment included the entire freshman class. As a result of the first year's work and the annual inspection, the members of the unit were authorized to wear a blue star on the sleeve of their uniforms, denoting the designation of the unit as an honor unit.    

In 1930, it was decided that more color was desired in the uniform, and a committee of cadet officers, working with the military staff, designed a shoulder patch to be worn on the uniforms of ROTC cadets. The patch, shield-shaped showing the name of MCM&T; has a golden background for the upper portion, with a "husky" dog's head superimposed. The stamina and sturdiness of the husky and his prowess in the North Country is traditional, and Michigan Technological University, a far-north college within the United States, has taken the silver husky as its symbol. Its athletic teams are known as "Huskies". The lower part of the patch is scarlet on the left and white on the right - the colors of the Corps of Engineers. Thus, the patch not only contains the college colors of silver and gold, but also indicates the fact that this is a unit of the Corps of Engineers.

The records of its former members have proved the effectiveness of this engineer ROTC unit, and great credit is due to its original organizers who foresaw its eventual value. The capable and enthusiastic Army officers who functioned as Professor of Military Science and Tactics maintained the Tech ROTC.  During the decade of the 1930's the college enrollment of male students gradually increased to 900, while the strength of the ROTC unit reached approximately 400 just prior to the outbreak of World War II. In 1934, the uniform was changed to the dark whipcord cap and blouse and light shade elastic trousers (commonly known as "pinks and greens"). The Sam Browne belts and sabers were retained. Two years later, a new indoor range was constructed by the college to replace the range in the storage attic of the gymnasium (later known as the "Clubhouse" and presently as the "ROTC Building"). Supply facilities were also established in the building, which housed the new range. Civilian Pilot Training (later Civilian Aeronautics Authority, (CAA)) was included under the ROTC program in 1939. By the end of World War II, approximately 300 students had completed work under these programs.

In 1943, the advanced course ROTC was discontinued throughout the country, and the basic course greatly reduced in strength. However, the introduction of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) in August of that year brought the Military Department and the staff of the department to its all-time peak strength of 10 officers and 13 enlisted men. It resulted in the training of some 2,650 students prior to its termination in 1946. The major curriculum changes during the period 1943 to 1946 were the dropping of the ROTC program and its replacement by the 98th College Training Detachment, the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program (ASTRP). All in all, there were 1,248 trainees in various Army programs and 1,402 trained by the Army Air Corps. During this period, the students enrolled in the college under this program constituted as much as 80 percent of the total regularly enrolled male students. In 1946, the Army Engineer ROTC program was reestablished and an Air Corps ROTC program initiated. All basic course students were in a common class, instructed by both Engineer and Air Corps personnel. Students of the advanced courses received the prescribed technical instruction from personnel of the respective services. The experiences of the Armed Forces during World War II were incorporated into the doctrine being taught. After an enrollment of only six students in 1946, the combined Air and Engineer ROTC enrollment approximated 300 by the fall of 1948. In February 1947, Michigan Tech Squadron No. 1, a branch ROTC unit (basic course only) was begun with 34 students at the College's Sault Ste. Marie Branch (today, Lake Superior State University) enrolled as cadets. In the fall of 1947, the ROTC Department moved into its present quarters on the main campus in the building previously known as the "gymnasium" and more recently as the "Clubhouse".

In 1949, the United States Air Force attained separate autonomy under the Department of the Defense, and the Air Force ROTC was set up as a separate entity in the college. The ranking Air Force officer on the ROTC staff was designated by the President of the college, Dr. Grover C. Dillman, as the Professor of Air Science and Tactics. From that time on, the Air Force (AFROTC) has been a separate department of the college and has become distinct as to course content, uniform and administration. Entering freshman have free choice between the two programs, both of which are voluntary. The facilities placed at the disposal of the ROTC have been steadily improved since the initiation of the program. Classrooms have been modernized, numerous training aids have been provided including projection equipment and models, and office and storage space has been expanded as needs have arisen. A drill team, known as "MacArthur's Engineers", was established in 1950. A Military Ball is held annually in the spring; the Army ROTC small-bore rifle team participates in many matches; the Corps of Cadets has marched in street parades on National holidays and at numbers college exercises.

During 1960, a new Army ROTC curriculum involving 1/3 less hours was adopted. Dean Frank Kerekes, the MCM&T; Dean of Faculty was honored by the presentation of a letter of commendation which conferred a distinguished civilian service certificate signed by the Honorable Wilber Brucker, then Secretary of the Army. It was this year when the title of Professor of Military Science and Tactics was changed to Professor of Military Science. During the school year 1962-63, the curriculum for juniors was changed to add a course in tactics since all juniors would go to a General Military Science summer camp rather than Engineer branch summer camp. On the 25th of March 1974, the status of the unit was changed from an Engineer Branch Material ROTC Program to a General Military Science Program. The curriculum was changed from one in which all graduated were commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, to one in which the students could request to enter any suitable Army branch. As a result, MTU graduates enter the Engineers, Infantry, Ordnance, Armor, Field Artillery, Air Defense Artillery and other Corps. This allows the students to request assignments closely related to their academic fields.

Starting with the fall semester of school year 1975-76, a crosstown ROTC program agreement was signed between Suomi College of Hancock, and Michigan Technological University. Students from Suomi could enroll at Suomi, and the ROTC staff would provide the instruction at that college. This agreement continues today, with Suomi changing their name to Finlandia College in 2001.

A new era began when the MTU ROTC program was opened to enrollment of women students. Participation by women in the course is about seven percent.