For 100 years, the United States Army has successfully combined the academic rigor of civilian education and the high standards of military training into a unified program — the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Defense Act of 1916, creating ROTC, and providing the leadership foundation for more than half-a-million second lieutenants over the past century to serve in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. The Army we’ve all come to know today would not exist as it does without the College and University ROTC program.
ROTC draws from the American well, representing the full fabric of the nation, with nearly 300 programs dispersed across all 50 states, including Guam and Puerto Rico. ROTC is also largely responsible for propelling the Army forward toward inclusion and diversity. This fusion of varied geographical backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and career fields has contributed to making the United States Army a leadership powerhouse, and the most dominate land force the world has ever known.
The ROTC lineage is rich with trailblazers who set the path for the Army’s current success. For many, ROTC was the bridge between small beginnings and realized dreams. For me, it began on the campus of Virginia State University during the spring of my sophomore year. Virginia State introduced me to a world of endless possibilities; however, ROTC was the door to that new world. Now more than 35 years later, I am beyond humbled to stand alongside tremendous leaders, both in uniform and in the corporate sector, who also walked through the ROTC door
Gen. George C. Marshall, Jr., led the way and was the first officer with ROTC roots. Preceding the formal creation of ROTC, he graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901 and received a commission as a second lieutenant. General Marshall became the Army’s Chief of Staff on the same day that World War II began in Europe. Following his retirement from the Army, Gen. Marshall went on to win the Noble Peace Prize and serve as both Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State. Gen. Marshall set the standard for the thousands of officers who followed his footsteps to professional military education.
Another trailblazer, retired Gen. Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants, was the first African-American to serve as U.S. Secretary of State and the first African-American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Powell found his calling through the ROTC program at the City College of New York. When asked by National Public Radio what would have been his career choice outside of the Army, he simply responded, “I’d probably be a bus driver.”
Other distinguished ROTC graduates went on to serve in senior military assignments including former Chiefs of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, Gen. Gordon Sullivan, Gen. Fred Weyland, and Gen. George Decker, former Commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, Gen. Larry Ellis.
Read more at http://www.armytimes.com/story...ry-success/85245732/