Army ROTC Unit Earns MacArthur Award as Nation’s Best

Thursday, March 24, 2022
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The MacArthur Award was presented to the campus ROTC unit for its performances in readiness training and commissioning lieutenants for military service. The unit is now eligible for the Department of Defense’s national award.

The nation’s top-ranked undergraduate engineering college also has the country’s No. 1 Army Reserved Officers’ Training Corps unit.

Rose-Hulman’s Wabash Battalion ROTC unit has earned this year’s MacArthur Award as the top program in the military branch’s 7th Brigade, along with being selected as the Army ROTC program’s candidate for the overall Department of Defense ROTC and Partner Institution Excellence Award.

The 7th Brigade is a region with Army ROTC units at 38 universities and colleges in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee, while the battalion stood out among 275 units nationally within the military branch.

Rose-Hulman’s unit is now competing against designated Navy and Air Force ROTC finalists for the DoD national honor, being announced later this spring.

Col. Brent Clemmer, Army ROTC’s 7th Brigade commander, stated, “Rose-Hulman has earned distinction for producing some of the Army’s best engineers. Its cadets have distinguished themselves exceptionally well during the past year across the variety of criteria. They consistently stand out among the best cadets regionally and nationally.” 

The U.S. Army Cadet Command recognized the unit’s achievements during the 2020-21 school year for readiness training and commissioning lieutenants for military service. Award-winning programs best represent the Army’s ideals of Duty-Honor-Country and the legacy of leadership as practiced by General Douglas MacArthur, according to Army ROTC award guidelines.

Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Benjamin Schneller reports the following Army Wabash Battalion ROTC unit accomplishments for 2020-21:

  • Commissioning 35 officers, far exceeding the 19-officer requirement.
  • Six cadets ranked in the top 20% nationally and earned distinguished military graduate honors.
  • 24 cadets exceeded performance averages in areas of physical fitness, written land navigation, practical land navigation, weapons qualification, and tactical performance evaluations during last summer’s training exercises.
  • Cadets had key leadership roles in the “Bold Warrior”/Ranger Challenge team that had its best finish in the past 20 years against other senior ROTC programs in the 7th Brigade region.
  • 98% retention rate of students enrolled in the program from 2020 to 2021.

Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons points out that Wabash Battalion cadets wear a patch on their uniforms that highlight “Leadership Excellence.”

“You can’t get leadership excellence without a lot of hard work,” Coons noted. “This (MacArthur Award) recognition is for all the work you do every day to develop leadership excellence. It is about the hard work you put into your studies; the work you’re doing at six in the morning to prepare physically; the extra work you put in on Wednesday evenings to learn tactics and leadership. But even more than that, it’s about the teamwork that you cultivate in this great program.”

Rose-Hulman’s portion of the battalion has 31 scholarship student cadets and five other students participating in unit activities. This year’s senior cadets are Griffin Altmix, Nick Barr, Landen Berlin, Samuel Dickinson, Drew Gearhart, Tristen Maesch, Alec Teichmann, Samuel VanDendurgh, and Ryleigh White. They will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Army during Rose-Hulman’s Commencement weekend May 27-28.

“I can’t put Lt. (lieutenant) before your name until Rose-Hulman puts B.S. (earning bachelor of science degree) after your name,” said Clemmer during a special MacArthur Award campus ceremony March 23.

Joining Schneller in leading the Rose-Hulman ROTC unit are Thom Robbins, Ethan Allen, and Rick Maples, senior military science instructors; Max Dixon and Ari Merdler, assistant professors of military science; Mertz Goodwin, military science instructor; Bob Doll, recruiting operations officer; Tom Deal, human resource assistant; and Troy Batchelor and Gavin Brothers, National Guard liaisons.

Doll also was recognized as Recruiting Operations Officer of the Year for the 7th Brigade region.

Kathy Davis, executive assistant to Rose-Hulman’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, received the Wabash Battalion’s Coins for Excellence honor in recognition of outstanding support to the unit, its leadership and staff, and cadets.

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. Today, Rose-Hulman is part of the Wabash Battalion with Indiana State University, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, DePauw University, Vincennes University, University of Southern Indiana, and University of Evansville.

“You don’t have to look far these days to see that our world is full of challenges,” Coons said. “I’m very proud that for more than a century, Rose-Hulman and the Wabash Battalion have been commissioning leaders of character for our Army, who are ready to meet those challenges head on.”

Rose-Hulman has been ranked No. 1 nationally for 23 straight years in U.S. News & World Report’s Best College Guide among U.S. engineering colleges that are focused on bachelor’s and master’s-level education. The ranking came from the guide’s annual survey of college engineering deans and senior faculty across America. The institute also has earned national distinction in science and mathematics education, along with being valued for its excellent return on investment. Learn more about the institute’s rankings and national distinction here.