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Over 2,000 graduates of this institution have been commissioned in our Armed Forces.

Cadets of the Past

Over 2,000 graduates of this institution have been commissioned in our Armed Forces.

Army ROTC at the University of Arkansas over the years


The citizen soldier holds significant role in the defense of the nation.   From the Revolutionary War to today, much of America’s defense mission rests with its citizen soldiers.   Army ROTC is part of this proud, time honored tradition.

The establishment of American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy (later renamed Norwich University) Norwich, Vermont, in 1819 marks the origin of Army ROTC. Norwich, unlike the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, was a civilian educational institution.

The Morrill Act of 1862 offered to transfer ownership of federal lands to the states.   The states could then use the proceeds from the land sale to establish universities. These universities were to teach agriculture, mechanical arts, and military science.

The National Defense Act of 1916 formally created a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and provided increased support for campus training programs and summer camps.   The reserve components’ success in World War I led   to the National Defense Act of 1920 which enlarged and standardized the ROTC program. This allowed the Army to rely more heavily on ROTC as a source for trained reserve officers.  In 1964, the ROTC Revitalization Act added flexibility to all the service’s ROTC programs.   It formalized most of the program options offered today:  the four-year program, two-year program, scholarships and subsistence allowances.

Cadet Command’s shoulder patch (pictured above left) was authorized 28 April 1986. The shield symbolizes the Army’s mission of national defense and is divided into quarters representing the four traditional military science courses comprising the senior ROTC curriculum.  The sword signifies the courage, gallantry, and self-sacrifice intrinsic to the profession of arms. The lamp denotes the pursuit of knowledge, higher learning, and the partnership of Army ROTC with colleges and universities.  The Greek helmet is symbolic of the ancient civilization concept of the warrior scholar.  The motto “Leadership Excellence” expresses the ultimate responsibility of Army ROTC in the discharge of its duty to the Nation.

         With the formation of Cadet Command Headquarters at Fort Monroe, Virginia, cadets from universities, colleges, and high schools in the Hampton Roads area gather at for an annual review. The cadets symbolize their counterparts around the nation and the world, training to be the future officer leaders of the Nation, and in the case of the high school cadets, learning the tenets of superior Citizenship.  Guest speaker for the inaugural review was Maurice (Footsie) Britt, Medal of Honor Winner and two-time lieutenant governor of Arkansas (ROTC commissionee, University of Arkansas).   In 1973, women became eligible to enroll in Army ROTC.

ROTC at the University of Arkansas

The Arkansas General Assembly accepted the Morrill Act provisions and created the Arkansas Industrial University (now the University of Arkansas) on 27 March 1871.  Military training began that same year.

In   1872, the   War Department assigned Lieutenant   E.   S.    Curtis to supervise military training at the newly established university.  LT Curtis served from 1872 until 1875.   During his tenure, he implemented a series of regulations to provide   for the   organization of   the “Arkansas   Industrial University Cadets”.   They drilled three times a week and attended classes once a week.

The cadet   grey coat   and trousers with black trimming and a dark blue cap ornamented with the letters AIU enclosed in a silver wreath was the uniform for all military.

Upon LT Curtis’ departure in 1875, the position remained vacant until 1887. Under the auspices of two professors from the Mathematics Department--O. C. Gray, a former officer in the Confederate Army, and J. M. Witham, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, military training continued during the 12-year period.   Many male students completed   the military training   in the early years.  However, commissions were not conferred until 1908.

The passage of the National Defense Act of 1916 created the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Major C. F. Armistead became the first officer at the University of Arkansas to hold the title of Professor of Military Science and Tactics.

A Student Army Training Corps substituted for ROTC during its suspension in World War I.    Major K. M. Halpine reactivated the ROTC Program in 1919.   ROTC continued at this institution although there was no advanced course in 1944 and 1945.  In the Fall of 1969, military training at the University of Arkansas became elective rather than compulsory.  It opened to women in 1973.  .The first female lieutenant commissioned through the UA Army ROTC in 1976.

Over 2,000 graduates of this institution have been commissioned in our Armed Forces.   The   Military Science Department has many success stories in its long history. Especially noteworthy is the fact that the University of Arkansas ROTC program has never had an Officer Basic Course failure.   This is an exemplary distinction that only a few institutions within Cadet Command hold. 

The most significant honor of the program is that five graduates have received the nation’s highest military decoration:  the Congressional Medal of Honor.   They are:  Nathan C. Gordon, Lieutenant, USNR, 1939; Maurice L. Britt, Captain, Infantry, 1941; James L. Stone, Lieutenant, Infantry, 1941; Edgar H. “Buck” Lloyd, Lieutenant, Infantry, 1941 (awarded posthumously) and Seymour W. Terry, Captain, Infantry, 1943 (awarded posthumously).  These individuals distinguished themselves above and beyond the call of duty and are recognized each veteran’s day at a wreath laying ceremony conducted by the cadets in their honor.