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The History of Army ROTC at The University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at theUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) began in the Fall of 1980 as part ofa TRADOC project known as “Expand the Base”. UAB was one of the forty-oneuniversities from around the country selected to become an extension center.The thrust of the program was to increase the Army’s output of junior officers.An extension center relationship was established with the University ofAlabama.

As an extension center, no formal contract was initiatedbetween the U.S. Army and UAB. Rather a “Memorandum of Agreement” was draftedand approved by the president of UAB and the Professor of Military Science(PMS) of the University of Alabama. This agreement directed the operation of anextension center predicated on academic credit, for ROTC, university supportfacilities and equal opportunity to compete for ROTC scholarships with VAstudents.

The program grew from 12 cadets in September 1980 to 35 inSeptember 1983. Officer production increased from four commissionees in FY 81to 17 in FY 83. The program continued to show such significant potential thatin October 1983 UAB applied for and received designation as a HostInstitution.

Once designated as a Host Institution, cadre strength increasedfrom three officers and one NCO to a total authorized strength today of fiveofficers, two NCOs, and three civilians. This increase in cadre personnelallowed the department to expand its cadet enrollment by enrolling andrecruiting from other local universities. Starting in the Fall of 1984, cadrebegan teaching MS I thru MS IV at the University of Montevallo. While mostcadets in the program attend UAB, the UAB Army ROTC program currently enrollscadets from UAB, Miles College, Samford University, Birmingham SouthernCollege, Jefferson State Junior College, and Herzing College.

In the Fall of 1983 a Ranger Platoon was established with aninitial participation of three cadets. Participation increased slowly, but theRanger Challenge team placed fourth in the Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabamaregional competition in 2004, and placed first in the northern Alabama regionalcompetition in the Fall Semester 2005.  In the Fall of 1985 the CadetCorps was organized and recognized by the school’s Student GovernmentAssociation (SGA) as an official student organization.  Today the UAB ArmyROTC program has approximately fifty contracted cadets, with an additionaltwenty cadets who are participating but not yet contracted.  A typicalyear results in ten to fifteen cadets being commissioned.  Most of thesewill be in May, but we frequently commission a couple of cadets in December andwe occasionally commission one or two at the end of the summer term.