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ROTC badge: leadership, excellence

What is ROTC?

The tradition of military instruction on college campuses in America began in 1819 with the establishment of Norwich University. The idea soon spread to other institutions, including the Virginia Military Institute, the University of Tennessee and The Citadel. The Land Grant Act of 1862 (Morrill Act) reinforced this tradition by specifying that courses in military tactics should be offered at the colleges and universities that were established as a result of the Land Grant Act.

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By the turn of the century, 105 colleges and universities offered military instruction. The college military instruction program changed in 1916 by virtue of the National Defense Act, which turned away from the idea of an expandable Regular Army and firmly established the traditional American concept of a citizens' army as the keystone of our nation's defense. It merged the National Guard, the Army Reserve, and the Regular Army into the Army of the United States. Future officers for this expanded citizens' army were to be given military instruction in colleges and universities under a Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Army ROTC was thus firmly established.

It was not until 1917 following the National Defense Act of 1916 that military training was formally instituted at The University of Michigan. Eighteen hundred students enrolled in the program in the fall of 1917. The ROTC program established in 1917 continued for a short time as the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) with 2700 students participating in 1918. Finally, in 1919, a permanent ROTC unit was established. The first Professor of Military Science was Lieutenant Colonel John Porter Lucas. The number of students enrolled at that time is unknown. Earliest enrollment records available are for Fall 1920 when 180 cadets were enrolled.

By the beginning of World War I, Army ROTC had placed some 90,000 officers in the Reserve pool. The majority of these officers were eventually called to active duty during the War.

More than 56,000 Army ROTC officers were called to active duty within a six-month period at the outbreak of World War II. By the end of the War more than 100,000 had served.

Almost a half-million officers have received commissions through Army ROTC since 1920, including three who rose to the position of Chief of Staff of the Army.

Throughout the 70's and 80's, Army ROTC has remained dedicated to commissioning high quality officers into the Army. In the 80's, the ROTC program implemented the Ranger Challenge team and the Raiders program. These events helped shape cadets into top notch professionals and fostered Army/University pride. Enrollment began to rise somewhat, hovering between 60 and 100 cadets.

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The 1990's brought a new decade, and along with it, a commitment to "leadership excellence." The Army ROTC program improved its training of cadets both mentally and physically, making Wolverine cadets better prepared as commissioned officers. The Ranger Challenge team was expanded into the Ranger program, and in 1993, Pershing Rifles was added. In 1993 the University of Michigan Army ROTC program was recognized as a "top achiever" in training excellence by the Second ROTC Region. Finally, 1997 fostered continued success as our Wolverine cadets' average Advanced Camp scores far exceeded the national camp averages.

Life as a Cadet

As an incoming cadet you will be emerged into the army lifestyle and the values that come with it. We conduct physical training three days a week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 0600-0700. Besides physical training, we hold labs on Thursday afternoon where you will begin to learn basic soldier tasks, individual movement techniques, basic officership, land navigation, and military customs and courtesies. During this year the requirements of ROTC are minimal for students.

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As a sophomore cadet you will return and continue with your education. This is the year where you will become progressively more engaged with the program and begin to take on a leadership role. Your curriculum will continue with land navigation, small unit level tactics, battle drills, rules of war, and the principles of war. The year will culminate with Basic Camp, located at Fort Knox, KY which lasts 4 weeks.

As a junior cadet you will enter into your most important year and will be leading the cadets. This year will culminate with Advanced Camp, located at Fort Knox, KY which lasts four weeks. This year you will lead small groups in physical training and combat training with the oversight of a senior and cadre member. Throughout the year you will begin teaching classes to sophomore and freshman cadets. The classroom instruction includes in depth analysis of the principles of war, platoon sized tactics, and the troop leading procedures.

As a senior cadet it is your final year and you are preparing to commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army. This is the year that you will be planning all the events for the battalion. You will also be developing the junior cadets in their leadership roles. This is the final year you will spend in ROTC and it is more involved than the previous years. During classroom instruction you will learn the administrative side of leadership which includes planning, operations, and training.
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Cadet Training

The Cadet Training Program is designed to ensure each cadet receives instruction and becomes proficient in the tasks prescribed in the Military Qualification Standards (MQS) I. The MQS System has established the skills and knowledge that are required of all U.S. Army officers. A key element of this training is the Leadership Development Program (LDP). The LDP develops every cadet's leadership potential to the maximum degree possible through continual assessment and feedback. This assessment is provided through various training opportunities throughout the school year.
A description of key training events includes:
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Leader Professional Development (LPD)

This is a two hour laboratory for ROTC, which occurs weekly. It is required for all scholarship and enrolled cadets with each MS level executing different roles. MS IV cadets occupy positions of responsibility in the Cadet Battalion and plan, coordinate, and conduct cadet training and activities under faculty guidance. MS III cadets focus on developing basic military tactical skills in preparation for the Cadet Leadership Course, which is held every summer at Fort Knox, KY. MS I and II cadets receive familiarization training aimed at basic skills such as land navigation, marksmanship, weapons familiarization, and other subjects.

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Leadership Development Exercises (LDX)

A battalion LDX is conducted each term and emphasizes squad and platoon level training in a field environment, along with day and night land navigation exercises, under a continuous military environment. LDXs often last the duration of a weekend, and serve as testing grounds for MS IIIs, who are evaluated on their leadership abilities as squad and platoon leaders.

Physical Training (PT)

Every cadet has the responsibility to maintain the appropriate level of physical fitness. To assist cadets in meeting that responsibility, we require cadets to attend three PT sessions per week, Wednesday through Friday.

Cadets attend group PT sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM. Unless otherwise instructed, PT formation takes place either in the Indoor Track Building or in front of the flagpole in the Diag, depending on the weather. These group sessions are typically led by an MSIII using a PT plan that was developed by the MSIII and approved by the cadre. These group sessions will focus on improving the cadet’s score on the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). Every cadet is expected to pass the APFT every semester. The APFT is a three-event test consisting of two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups, and a two-mile run. The minimum passing score in each event is 60 points, and the maximum is 100 points, making a total of 300 points the maximum PT score possible. Point values are linked against age brackets.
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As future officers, cadets should not just meet the minimum standards for the APFT, but should strive to achieve the maximum score of 300. As you develop your overall fitness, your APFT score should improve as well. To measure your progress, the following goals were established for each MS class:
MSI - 250
MSII - 260
MSIII - 270
MSIV - 270
Cadets who score high enough (270 out of 300) will be eligible to be awarded the physical fitness badge.

Cadet Summer Training

A key portion of the Army ROTC program is Cadet Summer Training located at Fort Knox, KY. It is divided into two parts: Basic Camp which is to be completed following MSII year, and Advanced Camp which is to be completed following MSIII year. All cadets must successfully complete the two four-week camp sessions to be eligible for a commission. Basic Camp is an introduction to the military lifestyle and introduces cadets to weapon systems and basic military skills. Advanced Camp emphasizes field training and military skills to complement the military science instruction given at the University. Attendance for Advanced Camp normally takes place following the MS III year; exceptions to this are rare and granted on a case-by-case basis. Branch selections and active or reserve duty determinations are greatly affected by your camp performance. You will be paid travel expenses and one half the pay of a second lieutenant while at camp (approx. $760).

Basic Camp introduces new cadets to the Army life and the responsibilites of being an officer. The course instills confidence and decision-making abilities to become a leader. During the first few days, drill sergeants teach Army basics and prepare cadets for the APFT. Cadets are divided into small-group-team-based dynamic activities to accomplish goals. Cadets have to accomplish the obstacle course as well as a high ropes course. As Basic Camp progresses, cadets gain more responsibilities, and are faced with more tasking challenges, such as water survival and rappelling. Cadet leadership abilities are also tested in simulated combat scenarios and urban-based squad tactics missions using paintball guns.

Advanced Camp builds confidence and develops leadership qualities. The training is rigorous and intense, both physically and mentally. Cadets are placed in evaluated leadership positions on a daily basis that guide the days training. When not being evaluated on leadership, cadets receive training on the use of individual weapons, artillery, grenades, and communication equipment. You will also receive tactical instruction on: platoons on the attack and defense, patrolling, ambush and confidence training. In addition, a comprehensive field training exercise is conducted in a squad and section sized element.

Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency(CULP) Program

Over the summer, cadets have the opportunity to take part in the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency(CULP) Program. This program immerses cadets into foreign cultures and exposes them to the realities that other countries have vastly different lifestyles, economic standing and world perspective.

Participants experience up to three different venues during immersion, including host nation military-to-military exchange, humanitarian service, and education on the social, cultural and historical aspects of the country. CULP allows cadets to develop more cultural awareness and foreign language proficiency skills. Now more than ever, cultural awareness training is a vital component to the ROTC curriculum. These opportunities expose cadets to everyday life in different cultures and intensifies language studies.

During CULP, cadets travel in small groups led by senior leader cadre. Trips typically incorporate approximately 11 Cadets and a cadre member traveling in conjunction with a civilian agency or non-governmental agency. The trips last approximately one month, which encompasses the deployment as well as a five-day Soldier readiness process. CULP slots are awarded on a competitive basis and take into account several factors, such as GPA, physical fitness, language ability, and other pertinent selection criteria.

Your Role


To be in the Army ROTC program you must be a full-time student in good standing with the University (this includes U of M Dearborn and U of M Flint) and all other cross enrollment schools (Concordia-Ann Arbor, Wayne State, Davenport, Madonna, Detroit MErcy, Baker College-Flint, Baker College-Jackson). No restriction is placed on your academic major (unless you are a scholarship cadet) other than requiring normal progress toward a degree. You are expected to attend all scheduled ROTC classes and labs as well as your academic curriculum classes. If it becomes impossible to attend a particular class, report this to your instructor prior to the class.

Contracted and Enrolled students will participate in all events (classroom, field training, and physical training). Auditing and participating students will only participate in the classroom portion of ROTC. Participation in any of the extracurricular activities and organizations sponsored by ROTC is voluntary.


Your conduct, both in and out of uniform, must be praiseworthy and you must exhibit those qualities consistent with the status and position of a commissioned officer. Specifically, you should be neat in appearance, have a neatly groomed haircut, and observe military courtesy. Take pride in your appearance, your uniform, and your conduct. While you are in uniform, you represent the Army and your fellow cadets in the eyes of others. Auditing and participating students do not need to meet Army requirements (e.g. a military haircut).

Sponsorship Program

New students are provided an upper class cadet as a sponsor. If the student is contracted, they will be issued uniforms and equipment. The sponsor will help teach the proper way to wear the uniform, and provide instruction in maintaining the uniform (i.e., placement of patches.) The sponsor will also help the new student locate campus classrooms, and should answer questions about purchasing textbooks, housing, and campus life. The role of the sponsor does not end after initial processing, but continues throughout the term. Your sponsor will be able to answer most of your questions and if they are unable to, then the cadre are always available to assist you.