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Guest Column: Army ROTC builds strong, effective alliance with OU

Many people understand that freedom is something that must be protected.  There are many ways to serve your nation. If military service is how you choose to do it, Ohio University Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), Bobcat Battalion, provides an opportunity to join the United States Army in a leadership capacity. It is this program of instruction that allows young Americans to grow academically, while learning valuable military skills and lifelong leadership training.  

OU Army ROTC has been a part of OU since 1936. It began as a “Unit of Infantry” in September 1936, with a cadre of three officers and one non-commissioned officer. For the past 75 years, the Bobcat Battalion has commissioned more than 1,200 officers as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. 

One look around at the cadets who are participating in the program speaks to the quality of individuals this program attracts. For more than a decade, the Bobcat Battalion, with overwhelming support from OU and the University College, has outperformed the national average from more than 273 ROTC programs around the nation. It is those scholars, athletes and leaders who are the future officers in our Army. Our rising senior cadets have successfully exceeded the average in every graded event during the Leader Development Assessment Course (LDAC) at Fort Lewis, Wash., for 11 years running. Some of those events include land navigation, physical fitness, field leadership reaction courses and various leadership opportunities.

Among the highlights of the Bobcat Battalion’s history is the Simultaneous Member Program (SMP) began as a pilot program on the OU campus in the late 1970s. It was started by the Assistant to the Ohio Adjutant General, BG James Abraham, a 1943 OU graduate. This first class of SMP cadets graduated and commissioned in 1980 and the program has since grown into a major resource for cadets in ROTC Battalions across the country. The SMP program allows students to participate as enlisted members of local reserve or National Guard units while simultaneously attending college and pursuing a commission as an officer in the United States Army.

The Ohio Army National Guard and Unites States Army Reserves are active participants with the ROTC program, and each benefits from the other’s presence. We have been extremely successful in recruiting members of the Ohio Army National Guard and Army Reserves who continue to drill with their units while also earning their college degrees and working toward being commissioned in the United States Army.

Between the SMP program scholarships and available ROTC scholarships, Ohio Army ROTC accounts for almost $1.2 million in tuition revenue each year.  This equally beneficial program creates a natural positive partnership between OU and the ROTC programs.

As we continue our 10 percent annual growth over the past few years, I am looking to find and produce the finest leaders to serve in the U.S. Army that will confidently lead our nation’s men and women in combat. Do you have what it takes to be that person? If the answer is yes, please contact us by stopping in our offices at Lindley Hall room 255.

Lieutenant Colonel Terry St. Peter is a professor of military science for

OU Army ROTC and is a 19-year active duty military intelligence officer

and 1992 ROTC graduate.

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