Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Cadets participate in the battalion' s physical fitness program.

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Cadets participate in the battalion' s physical fitness program.

Bay State Battalion History

Worcester Polytechnic Institute has served the nation well since its founding in 1865. The first attempt at organizing a military unit on campus was in 1870 when a group of students founded a company known as the Salisbury Guard. After some drilling the unit applied to the State for a stand of muskets. They were received but the case was never opened, the organization having been disbanded before the arms arrived. The next military training effort was not to be made until the rumblings of WWI were heard.

It was not until the late Spring of 1918, a full year after America cast its lot with the Allies, that the War Department developed plans for the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) to go into effect in the Fall. The formal opening of the program at WPI took place on 10 October 1918. Then came the 11 November Armistice. The War Department asked the trustees if they were willing to continue on the same basis until 30 June 1919. The trustees were not agreeable to this extended arrangement so the order came through to end the military organization on 14 December 1918. 1 July 1943 marked the beginning of a new military era at WPI. On that date, a Naval Training (V-12) Unit was activated. The V-12 program was deactivated at WPI 28 February 1946. With the advent of the Korean Conflict in June 1950, WPI again decided to participate in a military program. The trustees made application to the Department of the Army on 20 November 1950 for a Senior Division Reserve Officer' s Training Corps Unit. Orders activating the first Army ROTC unit in the history of the college were issued by the Department of the Army on 6 February 1951. The unit started functioning on 1 April 1951 in order to prepare for its first academic year of 1951-1952.

The ROTC program continues to be a completely voluntary activity, with the same emphasis on the development of college level students potential for leadership. Today, WPI hosts the Army ROTC Bay State Battalion, comprised of cadets from the Colleges of the Worcester Consortium, Fitchburg State, and the University of Massachussetts at Lowell.

Army ROTC in the Bay State Battalion prepares college students for bright futures as officers in the US Army, and provides commissions for the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and National Guard. ROTC enhances the full-time college curriculum of each cadet with training in the military sciences, building leadership skills sought after in the civilian workforce.