University of Virginia

Cadets at the Rotunda circa the Civil War

Early military cadet history at UVa

In the early days of the University, circa 1820, while Thomas Jefferson was still Rector, a voluntary military company existed. However, it was disbanded some years later on its unwillingness to submit to certain regulations of the faculty, who held a firm grasp over University policy at the time. The dispute was over the issue of weapon keeping. The student-cadets wished to keep arms in their Lawn rooms on the Academical Village. Faculty members refused this request, demanding that weapons be kept in a separate armory. Without a compromise, the company fell idle for some 30 years.

Upon the secession of South Carolina on December 20, 1860, two military companies were again formed at the University, this during the second session of 1860-1861. Students from the Virginia Military Institute traveled to Charlottesville to form and train the companies. On the night of Virginia secession, April 17, 1861, the companies traveled with the Monticello Guard and Albemarle Rifles to Harper's Ferry, WV. Lt. Roger Jones, USA, received reports of the guard and cadets' movement. He burnt the armory there and retreated. With nothing else to do, the cadets returned to Charlottesville. Shortly thereafter, General Robert E. Lee declined to receive the UVa. Cadets into service for the Confederacy, and they thus disbanded. On February 26, 1861, seven members of the companies erected a confederate flag on Dawson's Row, which is located just outside of the current AROTC offices. The flag was moved to Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda, the centerpiece of the University, and attached it to the lightening rod in support for the Commonwealth and the South.

UVa Army ROTC History

Student military units have existed on the UVa Grounds in one form or another since the earliest days of the University. The current Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps detachment was established at the University of Virginia on April 5, 1948 at the request of University President Colgate W. Darden, Jr. Participation was voluntary. The detachment was originally affiliated with the Transportation Corps, and the cadets attended summer camp at the Army Transportation Center at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. There they trained on several types of equipment, including trucks, ships, and locomotives. Later, the detachment was affiliated for a brief time with the Medical Service Corps and the Signal Corps. In 1965 the Cavalier Battalion was designated a General Military Subjects ROTC Unit.

Many of the first UVa cadets were veterans of World War II. Later, they served as officers in the Korean War, Vietnam, the Cold War and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In recognition of their valor, several awards and classrooms have been designated for UVa Army ROTC alumni who were killed in the line of duty.

Michael F. Scott, the first Cavalier Battalion graduate killed in Vietnam, is remembered through an annual award which bears his name. The award is presented to the Army ROTC graduate who best exemplifies the soldierly qualities of loyalty, dedication, and honesty, and who exhibits outstanding leadership qualities.

The 1LT Norman T.S. Flecker Memorial Award is presented to the third of fourth year Army ROTC cadet, chosen by classmates who has provided leadership and inspiration to others through his or her unmatched selflessness, work ethic and integrity. The awards honors the memory of 1LT Norman T.S. Flecker who died in a helicopter crash in the Republic of Korea on June 30, 1998. LT Flecker was a 1996 graduate of the University

Captain Humayun S. M. Khan, 27, of Bristow, Virginia, died June 8, 2004, in Baquabah, Iraq, after a vehicle packed with an improvised explosive device drove into the gate of his compound while he was inspecting soldiers on guard duty. CPT Khan was the first UVa alumni killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The CPT Humayun S.M. Khan Memorial Award is given to the fourth year cadet who best exemplifies the Soldierly qualities of courage, dedication, and selfless service, and who exhibits outstanding leadership qualities.