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History of the Tiger Battalion

The tradition of training college students for military leadership began in 1819 when Captain Alden Partridge, a former Superintendent at West Point, founded what is now Norwich University. His program marked the first time military instruction was offered on a civilian college campus. In 1862, the Land Grant Act (Morrill Act) provided federal land and funding for state colleges and universities as long as they offered an agriculture program and military training.

Six years later under the Army Bill, the University of Missouri became one of the first 20 schools in the nation to receive army instructors to teach the Reserve Officer Training Corps curriculum. Major General Richard W. Johnson became the first Professor of Military Science and Tactics (PMS&T). In 1869, the Board of Curators at the University of Missouri made military training mandatory for all male students. Because all MU ROTC graduates were commissioned as Field Artillery officers, ROTC training focused on Field Artillery tactics.

In 1884 General Enoch H. Crowder, a first lieutenant at the time, was assigned as PMS&T and Military Science (MS) classes were awarded academic credit. General Crowder instituted the first "summer camp" training period and energized the program. During his stay at Mizzou, he started the first ROTC cadet band in the nation, which later became the world famous Marching Mizzou. He also established a ladies drill company of nearly 100 women. So great was General Crowder's influence on the ROTC program at Mizzou that our ROTC building was named for him.

The National Defense Act of 1916 dramatically altered the Army and standardized the Army ROTC program. ROTC remained basically unchanged through 1964, when the ROTC Vitalization Act was passed. The ROTC Vitalization Act established the scholarship program, Basic Camp, and a monthly cash stipend and it did away with the practice of training cadets in branch-specific tactics. ROTC at MU became optional. Because cadets could now choose their branch upon commissioning, the program focused on general military tactics. In 1971, the Vitalization Act was altered to allow women into the program and in 1973, six female students enrolled in the freshman MS class at MU.

During the past 120 years thousands of officers have earned their commissions at MU. The University of Missouri - Columbia Army ROTC program has a long tradition of producing superior Army officers who have served in every conflict from the Spanish-American War to the current in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Department of Military Science is proud of this tradition. Our program has also enabled several former cadets to achieve successful careers in business, politics, law and other fields with a marked advantage over their peers.

Although the program has changed in name and organization throughout the years, Army ROTC is still recognized as a premier leadership training course.

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