University of San Francisco
The USF ROTC Color Guard is one of our most prestigious organizations. They are responsible for carrying our nation's colors during parades, basketball games, marches, and other various events. Each year the Dons Army ROTC Color Guard is requested to be present at local parades.

The Color Guard

The USF ROTC Color Guard is one of our most prestigious organizations. They are responsible for carrying our nation's colors during parades, basketball games, marches, and other various events. Each year the Dons Army ROTC Color Guard is requested to be present at local parades.

Army ROTC at the University of San Francisco Over the Years

The ROTC program at the University of San Francisco was founded in 1936. Army ROTC is older than most organizations on campus, and older than many of the colleges that make-up the university.  The program was established only 10 years after the College of Arts and Sciences, 6 years after the university officially changed its name to the University of San Francisco, and 4 years after the mascot was changed from the “Gray Fog” to “The Dons”.

The Dons Battalion: A Costal Artillery Heritage

The history of the Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of San Francisco (USF) is intertwined in the military history of the City of San Francisco. In 1848, the US Army strengthened the harbor defenses at the Presidio beginning with the construction of an artillery battery at Fort Point, which became the headquarters for all artillery units in the area. Fort Point marked the first of many future artillery outposts in the Presidio, which in later years would house both harbor defense and anti-aircraft artillery batteries.

An ROTC unit was established at Fort Scott, in the western part of the Presidio, under the direction of the Coastal Artillery School of the 6th Regiment. Batteries B and K of the 6th Artillery participated in the St. Mihel and Meuse- Argonne offensives in France during World War I, returning to the Presidio in 1919. In 1924, the Regiment was officially redesignated as "Sixth Coastal Artillery Regiment (Harbor Defense)". In 1936, the ROTC detachment at the Presidio under the 6th Coastal Artillery was relocated to the University of San Francisco (USF).

In 1942, stirred by a dramatic wartime decline in USF enrollment, University President William Dunne, S.J., traveled to Washington DC to personally request from the Secretary of War Henry Lewis Stimson the retention of the ROTC program at USF. During this time, cadets and cadre wore artillery branch insignia on their service uniforms while the core of the military curriculum involved extensive on campus artillery familiarization training with the M1 90 mm anti-aircraft gun.

Although the Coastal Artillery Corps was disbanded in 1948 and the 6th Coastal Artillery regiment was reflagged and redesignated as the Sixth Air Defense Artillery and moved to Ft. Bliss, TX (where it is a TRADOC element controlling ADA BOLC, OCS, and AIT), the important role of the Coastal Artillery in the survival of both USF and USF ROTC should not be forgotten as part of San Francisco’s military history. Along with the 6th ADA, USF ROTC shares in the lineage of the 6th Coastal Artillery and should endeavor to remember its history and role in the defense of San Francisco. Cadets should strive to follow the Army Values, Warrior Ethos and the motto of the 6th Coastal Artillery which is “Certo dirigo ictu”-- I aim with a sure blow.