History of ROTC

The modern Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps was created by the National Defense Act of 1916. This program commissioned its first class of lieutenants in 1920. The concept behind ROTC, however, had its roots in military training which began taking place in civilian colleges and universities as early as 1819 with the founding of the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at Norwich, Vermont, followed by various state chartered military schools, and finally civilian land grant colleges after the Civil War, which required military training.

In December 1967, UCA President Silas D. Snow announced that an Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program would begin in the fall of 1968. According to an article in The Echo, the Army had not added any new ROTC units since 1953, and the one at State College of Arkansas (UCA) would be one of the first in the nation to be set up in fourteen years and would be open to students from Central Baptist College and Hendrix College.

The ROTC program was one of only fifteen programs created by the Army at a college or university in 1968. It was the result of the efforts of Army Secretary Stanley R. Resor and U.S. Representative Wilbur D. Mills of Arkansas. The ROTC program was administered by the Fourth Army Headquarters from Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. The unit was housed in Meadors Hall, formerly a men’s dormitory built in 1937 and named after Dean Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Meadors.

The first commanding officer of the newly formed ROTC unit was Lieutenant Colonel George Edward Pickett IV, great grandson of Confederate General George E. Pickett. Lieutenant Colonel Pickett graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1944 and was a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. For his wartime service, he was awarded the Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars, and the Silver Star.

Currently there are six other partner schools that fall under UCAs umbrella: Hendrix College, Central Baptist College, Arkansas Tech University, University Arkansas Little Rock, Henderson State University, and Ouachita Baptist University. They are supervised by UCAs Professor of Military Science and together we all form the Bayonet Battalion.