ROTC and NDCC Progams

How the program works:

  • Camp and Departments of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, through this program, are encouraged to participate in recognizing deserving cadets. Such participation is voluntary.
  • Where a Camp and Department chooses not to participate, or in locales where no Camp or Department exists, the ROTC/JROTC/NDCC Award may be purchased by the unit using the Form 7 application / order form.
  • When a Department or Camp is not known, submit your Application to



Form 7: Application for ROTC Award


The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Preamble reads –

We, the descendants of soldiers, sailors, or marines who served in the Army or Navy of the United States of America during the War of the Rebellion of 1861 to 1865, have formed this patriotic and fraternal Order, for the purpose and objects in this Constitution set forth; and in so doing pledge ourselves to commemorate our fathers’ deeds; to render loyal service to our Country, and to promote the maintenance of unqualified American citizenship with respect for and honor to the flag.

By honoring deserving cadets, we help promote the maintenance of unqualified American citizenship because it will be these young people who will eventually serve in our Nation’s military, under the flag our forefathers fought to preserve.

Our Purpose and Objects include –

… to cooperate in doing honor to all who have patriotically served our country in any war; to teach patriotism, and the duties of citizenship, the true history of our country, and the love and honor of our Flag; to oppose every tendency or movement that would weaken loyalty to, or make for the destruction or impairment of our constitutional Union; and to inculcate and broadly sustain the American principles of representative government, of equal rights, and of impartial justice for all.

 We believe it right to award those who have stepped forward to accept the challenge of leadership in defending our Nation’s flag, principles and freedoms. By honoring those who serve today, we show our respect for those who have served in all others war in the past.


Our definition of a deserving cadet is one that “shows a high degree of patriotism to his/her Nation and has demonstrated a high degree of academic performance and leadership.”

ROTC/JROTC units are encouraged to work with their local (participating) Camps and Departments in determining any additional requirements that may be used to determine a “deserving cadet.”


The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is a training program of the United States armed forces present on college campuses to recruit and educate commissioned officers. It is designed as a college elective, and studies focus on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.

ROTC produces 60 percent of all officers in the U.S. armed forces, and 75 percent of U.S. Army officers.

Each of the services offer competitive, merit-based scholarships to ROTC students, often covering full tuition for college.

U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force ROTC students are referred to as cadets, while U.S. Navy ROTC students are known as midshipmen. US Marine Corps officer candidates commission through the Naval ROTC program.

Army units are organized as Brigades and Battalions. Air Force units are “Detachments” with the students organized into Wings, Groups, Squadrons, and Flights, like the active Air Force. Navy units are called NROTCU with an abbreviation of the host University or College. For example, the University of Minnesota unit is “NROTCU UNIV OF MN.” The students are organized as a battalion. If the Marine students are integrated with the Navy students, there are companies, but having the Navy students in Departments and Divisions like a ship, and the Marines in a separate company is not unknown.


The creation of a federally funded officer training program that would provide a larger pool of prepared military leaders began with the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the “land grant” colleges. Part of the federal government’s requirement for these schools was that they include military tactics as part of their curriculum, forming what later became known as Army ROTC with the passage of the National Defense Act of 1916.

In Antebellum America, nearly all colleges taught the classical liberal arts, which were deemed necessary for creating the well-educated leaders of their day. Believing the future of America required practical men of science and business, however, Representative (later Senator) Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898) of Vermont proposed the first of several Morrill Land-Grant Acts in 1857. Its goal was to encourage the creation of colleges that would emphasize the scientific study of agriculture and the “mechanic arts”, or mechanical and civil engineering, later to include the “industrial arts” as well. While passed by Congress in 1859, it was vetoed by President James Buchanan.

In 1861 Morrill resubmitted the act with the amendment that the proposed institutions would teach military tactics as well as engineering and agriculture. With the Civil War in its second year, Morrill understood that his plan would gain wider support if it included military training. Aided by the secession of many states that did not support the plans, this reconfigured Morrill Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 21862.

Officially titled “An Act Donating Public Lands to the Several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts,” each eligible state would receive under the act a total of 30,000 acres of federal land, either within or contiguous to its boundaries, for each member of congress the state had as of the census of 1860. This land, or the proceeds from its sale, was to be used toward establishing and funding the educational institutions described above. Under provision six of the Act, “No State while in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States shall be entitled to the benefit of this act,” in reference to the recent Civil War.

Representative Morrill did not originate the idea of creating colleges that emphasized a practical math and science curriculum, or that would train potential military leaders, although his vision for a nationwide system of colleges with that goal propelled an already established local example into a national vision. The model he had in mind already existed in his own state.

The creator of both ideals was Captain Alden Partridge (1785-1854), who established the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy at Norwich , Vermont , in 1819. As the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he had been continually frustrated by the Army brass, who insisted that the training of future officers should be based on the European model which, in his opinion, was impractical for an infant republic that required contributions from all its citizens, rich or poor, privileged or not. Leaving West Point , he determined that he would create a system of education that would meet the needs of the United States.

Partridge believed that the purpose of education was to prepare young people “to discharge, in the best possible manner, the duties they owe to themselves, to their fellow-men, and to their country.” He believed that his “American System of Education,” as he called it, was far more likely to meet the needs of the young nation. The liberal arts taught at Harvard, Yale, Princeton , and other colleges were impractical and not designed to train youth to fulfill the duties of citizenship. In fact, they were not liberal enough, excluding such vitally important subject such as modern languages, history, political economy, agriculture, and engineering. Anticipating changes in higher education that would take another half century to occur in the prestigious Eastern schools, he included these at Norwich, as well as physical education and field work in botany, mineralogy, surveying, engineering, and military science. Field trips to factories, navy yards, arsenals, railroads, bridges, canals, and historic sites introduced cadets first hand to the purpose of education—the ability to accomplish real things to benefit the nation.

At the heart of Partridge’s American System of Education was the training of citizen-soldiers who would become the leaders in industry, commerce, government, and agriculture during peace time, and skilled military leaders who could quickly strap on a sidearm and sword to lead local militias against an aggressive enemy during war. He shared Americans’ distrust of large standing armies, inherited from their fathers who had only a generation before fought the British for independence. Likewise, he knew that the small regular army could not expend valuable manpower in training raw recruits when they were needed to ward off the initial assaults. This should be the job of those educated in the knowledge needed to succeed in a republic, and trained in elements of military science and tactics.

Yet, he distrusted any elite social group in a republic, especially military elite—after all, this is why he left West Point . Military training had to remain an “appendage” to a general liberal arts education. His vision for education won national attention and was spread by his students wherever they followed the westward movement. It also inspired the creation of Virginia Military Institute in 1839 and The Citadel in 1842, as well as Senator Morrill’s Land-Grant College scheme. During the Civil War, Norwich graduates were in great demand as both Regular Army and militia officers, initially as training officers as the states desperately sought to create well-drilled regiments from the thousands of volunteers.

Among many graduates of Norwich who distinguished themselves in the Civil War are included the following:

  • Major General Grenville M. Dodge (1851) whose engineering skills amazed soldiers of both armies in the reconstruction of destroyed bridges and railroads, and later the entire nation as the Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad who built the first transcontinental railroad.
  • Colonel Thomas O. Seaver (1859), Commander, 3 rd Vermont Infantry, recipient of the Medal of Honor at Spotsylvania Courthouse, VA, on 10 May 1864 , where at the head of three regiments and under a most galling fire, attacked and occupied the enemy’s works.
  • 1 st Lt Edward B. Williston (1856), 2d U.S. Artillery , recipient of the Medal of Honor at Trevilian Station , VA , on 12 June 1864 , for distinguished gallantry.

A second Morrill Act followed the 1862 Act in 1890, intending to include the former Confederate states in the program. This act also required each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion, or else to designate a separate land-grant institution for persons of color. Among the seventy colleges and universities which eventually evolved from the Morrill Acts are several of today’s Historically Black colleges and universities.

With a few exceptions, nearly all of the Land-Grant Colleges are public.