COOKEVILLE – Tennessee Tech’s ROTC program is starting 2019 with a new 10-year contract with the United States Army Cadet Command, the organization that oversees the ROTC program nationwide.
“I am proud that Tennessee Tech and military service are linked throughout our history through honorable men and women,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. “ROTC has been on campus since 1950, but in the past few years, we learned to take nothing for granted and examined what training military leaders really meant to us.”
The program was one of 13 across the nation and three in Tennessee on the chopping block in 2013 when the U.S. Department of Defense was facing budget restrictions.
“It meant enough to us to do everything we could to provide excellent training, facilities and support that current and future leaders deserve,” Oldham said. “When we received notice that the Department of Defense was going to cut Tech’s program, the university, alumni, legislators and community leaders came together to support the Golden Eagle Battalion.”
Tech’s ROTC program develops future leaders for the U.S. Army. According to Ron Borden, recruiting and operations officer for the program, there are 86 students in the program this semester with 33 new students enrolled.
“It is open to anyone in any major, male or female,” he said. “And there is no military commitment.”
Since its inception, nine general officers have come out of the program, including four-star Gen. Carl Stiner, who served as Commander in Chief of the United States Special Operations Command from 1990-1993.
The program prepares students to accept a presidential appointment at the degree of 2nd Lieutenant to serve in one of three components – active duty, Army Reserve or National Guard.
“Since 2013, our mission has been to produce 12 new lieutenants and in 2020, the goal will increase to 15,” he said. “Our goal is to have 120 cadets by 2020, but if we hit 100, we’ll be doing very well.”
There are many rewards for cadets in the ROTC program.
“There is the chance to be a team leader, to encourage people to accomplish a mission and help soldiers and subordinates better themselves and succeed in life and the Army,” Borden said.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Tech’s ROTC program can visit www.tntech.edu/armyrotc.