In 2016, Auburn University's Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, the War Eagle Battalion, celebrated the centennial anniversary of the U.S. Army ROTC, which began in 1916 with President Woodrow Wilson's signing of the National Defense Act of 1916.
While Army ROTC's inception was in 1916, Auburn University began its official military training program in 1872 as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Act. At the time, all males attending Auburn had to participate in the program for at least two years.
Today, the War Eagle Battalion is a four-year program. While some students begin the program with a four-year ROTC scholarship, others take ROTC courses during their freshman and sophomore years and then can choose to join the program if they meet all of the qualifications. After completing the program, cadets graduate as second lieutenants prepared to serve on Active Duty, or in the National Guard or Army Reserves.
Nationwide, Army ROTC produces more officers than any other organization in the U.S. military, having commissioned more than 600,000-second lieutenants. Auburn University has produced more than 8,000 Army commissioned officers.
Distinguished graduates of the War Eagle Battalion include Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan ‘32, Congressman William Nichols ‘39, Astronaut COL (R) Jim Voss ‘72, LTG (R) Ronald Burgess ‘74, NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene ‘84, LTG (R) Darsie Rogers ’86, Olympic Gold Medalist Ruthie Bolton ‘89, and LTG Flem Walker ‘87.
Distinguished Graduates of the War Eagle Battalion
Coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan
Congressman William Nichols
Astronaut COL (R) Jim Voss ‘72
LTG (R) Ronald Burgess
NFL Hall of Famer Kevin Greene ‘84
LTG (R) Darsie Rogers ’86
Olympic Gold Medalist Ruthie Bolton ‘89
LTG Flem Walker ‘87