For the second time in three years, the ROTC program that includes University of Wisconsin-Stout has been named one of the best in the nation.
The Northwoods Battalion, which includes partner programs at UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point, recently was honored as the 2017 overall top program by the 3rd Army ROTC Brigade.
The brigade includes 42 ROTC programs at college and universities in nine Midwest states and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Army ROTC — Reserve Officer Training Corps — is a program of study that combines electives in military science with practical leadership training to prepare men and women to become Army officers. Upon successful completion of the Army ROTC program and graduation from college, cadets receive a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the Army Reserve or the Army National Guard.
The Northwoods Battalion previously won the award in 2015. The honor is based on battalions’ metrics involving logistics, administration, recruiting and retention, and operations.
The nine states making up the 3rd Brigade for ROTC are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized for all the hard work our cadets and cadre and staff put into this program day in and day out,” said Lt. Col. Jesse Johnson, UW-Stout professor of military science and department chair.
“It really does take a village, and our four universities and respective local communities directly influence military science, ROTC and our Army by providing the resources and support we need to produce the very best leaders to lead America’s sons and daughters — potentially in harm’s way,” Johnson said.
Each year the Northwoods Battalion trains approximately 200 cadets across all academic levels and produces an average of 22 lieutenants.
“I am proud to be a part of ROTC in Wisconsin. The young men and women who enroll in military science are mostly from Wisconsin and Minnesota and bring to the table all the good things that represent the Upper Midwest: toughness, work ethic, values, character and desire to serve,” Johnson said. “Most of the students who enroll in military science have what it takes and want to continue to serve. They are offered a 2-, 3- or 4-year scholarship and will commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army.”
ROTC cadets, including 35 students this spring at UW-Stout, can be found in a variety of academic majors at the battalion’s universities while earning credit in military science and leadership. They participate in lectures, labs, weekly physical fitness sessions, weekend leadership training, formal dining-in and military balls, German Armed Forces Badge competition and have summer training opportunities.
Military science department faculty and staff members lead ROTC programs at the battalion’s four campuses.
“The noncommissioned officers and officers who make up our cadre are proven leaders with distinguished careers. All have served in combat and know what it takes to be effective leaders. It’s their passion and continued selfless service to their nation that have made the Northwoods Battalion one of the premier ROTC programs in the Midwest,” Johnson said.
Army ROTC at UW-Stevens Point was established in 1968. The Northwoods Battalion grew with a partnership program in 2005 at UW-Stout, followed by UW-River Falls in 2007 and UW-Eau Claire in 2009.
Lt. Col. Jesse Johnson