The University of Texas at Austin
ROTC classes are conducted in Steindam Hall

Russell A. Steindam Hall

ROTC classes are conducted in Steindam Hall

Steindam Hall

Russell A. Stiendam Hall was completed in 1956 and is the home of the Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC units. The ROTC building was re-named Russell A. Stiendam Hall in honor of First Lt. Russell A. Steindam, a 1968 honor ROTC graduate who was killed in action on February 1, 1970 in Vietnam. As a platoon leader, Troop B, 3rd Sqd., 4th Cav, 25 Inf. Div., 1st Lt. Steindam led his team on a night ambush operation through the rugged terrain of Viet Nam. They were soon subjected to intense small arm and automatic weapon fire and hand and rocket-propelled grenades. In an exposed position, he ordered return fire and ensured the wounded were moved to shelter, a nearby shallow bomb crater.

In the midst of the cries of the wounded, the fire bursts from weaponry and the darkness of night a fragmentation grenade was thrown into the site occupied by his command group. He instantly recognized the gravity of the situation and shouted a warning to his fellow soldiers in the immediate vicinity. As everyone scrambled for cover, he instinctively knew the situation was hopeless. He never hesitated, never faltered. He flung himself on top of the grenade, his body absorbing its full and fatal force. The members of his command were saved from certain death or severe injury and his valor was rewarded by the President of the United States in the name of the Congress.

A plaque of honor is on the west wall at the north entrance lobby and his Medal of Honor hangs inside the Military Science office. The ROTC building also contains numerous classrooms, a cadet lounge, and several cadet staff rooms.

History of the Longhorn Battalion

An Army ROTC unit was activated at The University of Texas at Austin on July 1, 1947. Cadets were to train for a commission in the Engineer, Quartermaster, Transportation, and Military Police Corp. The branches have changed over the years and currently all basic branches of the Army are offered. Special Army training programs, such as Airborne, Air Assault, Northern Warfare, Mountain Warfare, and Cadet Troop Leadership Training, are also offered to qualified cadets. UT became affiliated with the Ordinance Corp in December 1985.

Army ROTC at UT has always had an active extracurricular program and includes the following organizations: Ranger Detachment, Ranger Challenge Team, Color Guard, and the Gold Bar Association. The Cadet Corp is also active in the University intramural program.

Army ROTC enrollment at UT rose to 567 cadets in 1948. Many UT graduates saw active duty during the Korean War, and one, 1st Lieutenant William J. Browning, was killed in action. In his memory, the cadet lounge in the ROTC building was dedicated the Browning Brigade Room.

During the 1950’s a new building was completed specifically for the use by the three ROTC units. In 1965 construction was completed on a new rifle range adjacent to the ROTC building.

During the Vietnam conflict, Army ROTC enrollment increased, reaching a high of 423 in 1968. Many of these cadets served in Vietnam and four lost their lives. The ROTC building was named for one of these, 1st Lieutenant Russell A. Steindam, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Following the Vietnam era enrollment decreased and cross enrollment programs were established at several local colleges. These programs remain in effect at Concordia Lutheran College, St Edward’s University and Austin Community College.

Army ROTC at UT has continued to produce outstanding military officers who have served the nation during conflicts in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

UT graduates are serving in current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. One former Longhorn, Captain Orlando Bonilla, was killed in action while serving in Iraq. One of the classrooms in the ROTC building is dedicated in his honor.