Wildcat Battalion History

In 1948, the State Board of Education authorized the four teachers' colleges in Michigan to request and install Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) on their campuses. Northern did not begin a program at this time as its application was not accepted. After 1952, the Department of the Army was instructed not to add any more ROTC units. In 1965, President Edgar Harden expressed Northern's continued interest in being considered if the ROTC Program was to be expanded. However, it was not until 1967 that Northern was invited to file a formal application for a senior ROTC unit.

During the summer of 1967, various meetings were held with ROTC officers and University administrators. Due to the Vietnam War, there were controversial debates over the establishment of this unit. However, by late summer, the ROTC program was approved, only if it would be voluntary in nature. In November 1968, Northern was notified that its application had been accepted and meetings were held to discuss the implementation of this program. The ROTC program became known as the Department of Military Science.

The Department of the Army began assigning officers to the detachment in February 1969. On April 17, 1969, the Department of Defense established NMU's Department of Military Science.

Housed initially in the local National Guard Armory, the first classes met in September with an enrollment of 53 students. In the spring of 1971, the Department commissioned its first two lieutenants. In 1973, ROTC was officially opened to women. That year, 13 female students enrolled in the program.

Overall the Northern Military Science Department has been a success. During the 1970s, it had a growing enrollment. Provost Robert Glenn played an important part in promoting the unit. Because of its successful Jonathan Livingston Leadership Day program in 1973 and 1974, the Public Relations Society of America awarded the prestigious “Silver Anvil” award to the NMU Military Science Department in the fall of 1974. In 1974-1975 the department moved into the University Center, which was an ideal and highly visible location on campus.  From 1976 to 1982, the NMU ROTC also hosted Lake Superior State 's ROTC program.

In the 1991-2004 the departments offices, classroom and supply room moved between many locations to include the Learning Resources Center, Carey Hall, McClintock and the Services Building; finally resting in it's current location with offices in Gries Hall and the classroom/supply in C.B. Hedgcock Student Service Center.

 The department has received numerous awards for management and training excellence.

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