Army ROTC Unit Named Nation’s Best Within All Military Branches

Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Rose-Hulman ROTC students raise a flag.

The Army ROTC’s Wabash Battalion stood out among the nation’s best college programs for overall performance, educational institutional support, and other noteworthy achievements by cadets during the 2021-22 school year.

Rose-Hulman’s Wabash Battalion ROTC unit has earned the prestigious Department of Defense ROTC and Partner Institution Excellence Award in recognition of being the top performing collegiate program among all military branches for the 2021-22 school year.

Rose-Hulman’s unit is being honored among all ROTC Army, Navy and Air Force units at 496 universities and colleges across the country. The battalion became the Army’s representative for national honors after earning the 2022 MacArthur Award as the top program in the military branch.

“We are honored to partner with the outstanding professionals at Rose-Hulman to develop the next generation of military leaders,” stated Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in announcing the award. He pointed out Rose-Hulman’s ROTC unit stood out among the nation’s best college programs for overall performance, educational institutional support, and other noteworthy achievements by cadets during the 2021-22 school year.

The Department of Defense ROTC and Partner Institute Excellent Award was presented Wednesday, January 25, in a special campus ceremony in the White Chapel. Making the presentation were Colonel Edwin L. Chilton, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s 7th Brigade, based at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Retired Major General James K. Gilman, a 1974 Rose-Hulman graduate and former Wabash Battalion ROTC cadet who had a distinguished 35-year military career, including being the former commanding general of the Walter Reed Health Care System in Washington, D.C. 

Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons accepted the award on behalf of Rose-Hulman, its Board of Trustees, faculty and staff members, and Wabash Battalion leaders and current cadets.

“Rose-Hulman has a proud history of supporting the Army ROTC’s Wabash Battalion, becoming an active unit in 1917. Its current and past staff members and cadets have served the institute, Terre Haute community, and our nation proudly,” said the president. “The Army ROTC program instills the strong values that keep our country strong and prepared to meet any challenge throughout the world.” 

The Department of Defense recognized the Wabash Battalion’s achievements for readiness training and commissioning lieutenants for military service during the 2020-21 school year in the following areas:

  • Outperforming 37 peer schools by commissioning 35 officers.
  • Cadets exceeded the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s average in every performance metric during the 2021 Cadet Summer Training exercises.
  • Six cadets ranked in the top 20% nationally and earned distinguished military graduate honors, 54% of battalion cadets earned top evaluation “outstanding excellence” reports, and 33% of cadets qualified for the distinguished Recondo Badge.
  • Cadets maintained a cumulative 3.19 grade point average for the 2021-22 school year.
  • Organized a Commissioning Ceremony, Military Ball, Bold Warrior Challenge, and other recreational activities to build rapport among cadets throughout each school year.

Rose-Hulman leads Wabash Battalion that also cover operations at Indiana State University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, DePauw University, Vincennes University, University of Southern Indiana, and University of Evansville. The battalion supports a strong Junior ROTC program at Terre Haute South High School, has cadets placing 10,000 American flags along an annual community memorial path at ISU’s Memorial Stadium, and collaborates with local Marine Corps recruiters to present clothes and toys for an annual holiday charity drive.

Rose-Hulman has one of the nation’s original Army ROTC programs. Shortly after its founding in 1874, the college hosted a Student Army Training Corps unit and had an active role in training engineers and mechanics for Army service during World War I. An official Army ROTC unit became active in 1917, after ROTC was authorized by the National Defense Act of 1916, and graduated its first commissioned officers in 1922.

“The entire Department (of Defense) appreciates your university, your faculty, and the students who make our partnership so strong,” Austin stated. “Your outstanding support is crucial to the education and training of the finest military leaders in the world.”