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First Regiment of Officers produced by The Ohio State University Army ROTC.

First Regiment of Officers produced by The Ohio State University Army ROTC.

First Regiment of Officers produced by The Ohio State University Army ROTC.

First Regiment of Officers produced by The Ohio State University Army ROTC.

In 1862 The Morrill Act signed by President Lincoln (commonly referred to asthe Land Grant College Act) enabled the State of Ohio to build an institutionof higher learning to train young men in agricultural studies, mechanical arts,and military tactics.  In 1870 the Ohio Agricultural, Military, andMechanical College opened its doors – only later to be renamed The Ohio StateUniversity.

The early formative years included mandatory studies in tactics anddrill.  The first recorded classes in these subjects were in 1874. Professor McFarland, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry duringthe American Civil War, provided first hand experience lectures on the lessonsof military history, the devastation of war, and the cost of militarynon-preparedness.  Because of his influence on the universal study ofmilitary tactics, LTC McFarland is historically recognized as the firstProfessor of Military Science at The Ohio State University.

The United States Army, in 1876, formally established its presence at TheOhio State University by assigning active military personnel to the newlyformed Department of Military Science and Tactics.  Two years late, as theUniversity graduated its first class, 2LT C.H. Dietrich became the firstcommissioned officer to hail from OSU’s military program.  As the yearswent by, both the university and its military program continued to grow.

The Patriotic verve which struck the nation during the Spanish American Wardid not escape The Ohio State University.  An OSU Volunteer Company, madeup of the military cadre and the entire senior military science class, departedColumbus in 1898 to join the war efforts in Cuba.  The Buckeye volunteersreturned in a few months savoring their victorious role in history.

At the turn of the century, military science training and drill becamecommonplace on campus.  The Professor of Military Science, COL Converse,established a structured program of study (known as the “Ohio Plan”) whichbecame the blueprint for a nationwide program of developing military juniorofficers.  In 1916 the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) began, formingwhat later was named the Reserve Officer Training corps (ROTC).

World War I brought significant changes to the ROTC program.  TheDepartment of Military Science formed a separate School for MilitaryAeronautics at OSU.  This school taught aircraft design, maintenance andaerial photography for the Army Signal Corps.  The school curriculumformed the basis of Aeronautical Engineering courses later taught at OSU.

Traditional at OSU is the annual “Rock Ceremony” which traces its roots toNovember 11, 1919.  On that date, a ceremony to honor the fallen warheroes of The Ohio State University took place in the university oval. Two minutes of silence, the playing of “Taps” and the laying of a wreath at theRock outside Bricker Hall marked the occasion.

         The Second World Warbrought increased military activity on campus.  The School of MechanicalTrades and Munitions opened a special military research grant for weaponsdevelopment was awarded, and the Special Training Award of Recognition (STAR)was presented to the university. L In 1943 more than 1100 students at The OhioState University earned the gold bars of a lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

         Following the war, ArmyROTC activated branch specific training companies specializing in aeronautics,artillery, chemical defense, engineering, signal, medical and dental,transportation, armor, and ordnance.  Converse Hall was also given to ArmyROTC in 1948, and remains the home of ROTC on campus to this day.

The university’s Army ROTC program continued to lead the way in pursuing newopportunities for OSU students, as well as carving a path for nationwideprograms.  In 1957 the Army ROTC initiated a flight training program forits cadets.  So successful was the program that the Navy and Air ForceROTC programs enrolled their midshipmen and cadets in the Army ROTC flightprogram.  The following year, the voluntary Coed Cadet Corps was formed atOSU, providing the framework for the nationwide incorporation of women intoROTC in 1973.

The United States Army in the early 1980’s decided to establish specialbranch affiliations with the most viable ROTC programs across the nation. The Ohio State University, due to a strong history of producing qualityofficers with engineering, maintenance and logistics experiences, was chose tobe affiliated with the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps.  Although associated withthis Corps, The Ohio State University continues to provide high qualitygraduates to all of the branches and specialties in the U.S. Army.

The tradition of a winning team is an ever present part of The Ohio StateUniversity and the Buckeye Battalion.  In 1988 the OSU Ranger ChallengeTeam (Army ROTC’s Varsity Sport) earned first place within the 2d ROTC Regionover more than 100 universities.  In 1995, the Buckeye Team rose again tothe top, defeating 14 other major universities (to include Notre Dame, Purdue,and Indiana Universities) in head-to-head-competition to earn the Division IChampionship.

The history of Army ROTC at The Ohio State University is long andcolorful.  Through the years many changes have occurred at the universityand with the Military Science Program.  The one constant throughout hasbeen the high quality college students who have accepted the challenge providedby Army ROTC.  In 1996 The Ohio State University Buckeye Battalion addedanother milestone by commissioning its 10,000th lieutenant into theU.S. Army.  Like the first commissionee, Lieutenant C.H. Dietrich, thecadets of today and tomorrow can stand tall and proud of their Buckeyeheritage.