ORIGINMilitary training made its first official appearance on the Missouri State University (MSU) campus with the initiation of the Student Army Training Corps late in World War I. During World War II, Springfield State Teachers' College (as MSU was called then) participated in the Air Corps Cadet Training Program from February 1944 to June 1945.
1952 - BEAR BATTALIONThe third and present phase of military training at MSU started with the activation of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Department in July 1952. The contract for the ROTC Program provided for annual production of not less than twenty-five officers. The first enrollment in the program was in the fall of 1952 when 382 students were enrolled. Other "firsts" that year included participating in the Missouri State Homecoming Parade and the Military Ball. This Military Ball proved to be one of the major social functions on campus and has continued as the highlight of cadet activities each school year.On May 1, 1953 the first regularly scheduled Annual Federal Inspection was conducted. Soon after, the ROTC Band was organized under the direction of the Music Department. In 1954, Southwest Missouri State College cadets provided an Honor Guard to greet the Army Chief of Staff, General Matthew B. Ridgeway, and Mr. Dewey Short, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
In 1952, Company "L" of the Pershing Rifles was organized as a Drill Team and was chartered into the National Society in 1963. The Rifle and Pistol Club was organized during the Fall Semester of 1955. The University Varsity Rifle Team also was established in 1955 and was sanctioned by the NCAA in 1986.
Missouri State University ROTC cadets attended their first summer camp at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1954. The following year, the cadets attended their summer camp at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 1956, MSU cadets went to Fort Riley, Kansas for summer camp and continued to attend camp at Fort Riley until 1964. In 1964, the cadets attended summer camp at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1968 summer camp was again changed to Fort Riley, Kansas. In 1991 the ROTC Advanced Camp (Camp Adventure) was moved to Fort Lewis, Washington where it is currently located. MSU cadets attend Leader's Training Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
1965 - SCHOLARSHIPS & PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLSIn the fall of 1965, two and four-year scholarships were initially offered in response to the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964. On March 19, 1965, the College Board of Regents authorized the President to sign an agreement establishing both the four-year program and the two-year ROTC program of instruction. On October 31, 1969, the College Board of Regents decided to make the Basic Course strictly voluntary, effective the Spring Semester 1970. Prior to that time, all physically fit male students entering MSU were required to enroll in the first two years of the ROTC Program. With the decision to make the first two years voluntary, enrollments in the Basic Course dropped significantly beginning in the Spring of 1970. As a result of the decreased enrollments, the Military Science Department offered courses at near-by colleges under a partnership agreement which allowed students at Evangel College, Drury College, College of the Ozarks and other schools to complete the ROTC Commissioning program without matriculating at MSU. Evangel College commissioned its first ROTC graduate in December 1974. Also during the Spring Semester of 1970, one and three-year ROTC scholarships were offered in addition to the two and four-year ROTC scholarships.
1973 - FEMALE CADETSOn May 28, 1973 the Board of Regents at Missouri State University approved the inclusion of women cadets in the ROTC program. Nineteen female coed cadets enrolled in the Fall Semester in Military Science courses, and their number increased to 27 in the Spring Semester. The first female officer of the Missouri State ROTC program was commissioned in May 1976.
In 1994, Missouri State ROTC dedicated the new rappelling tower in memory of Major General Jarrett J. Robertson in ceremonies attended by his classmates including Lieutenant General John E. Miller. Also in 1994, the Association of the United States Army ROTC Company and the Reserve Officers' Association Sub-Chapter were formed and received their charters from their respective national headquarters.
2002 - 50YR REUNIONIn the fall of 2002, the University celebrated the Military Science Department's 50th Anniversary during Homecoming weekend, by honoring all past and recently commissioned officers from MSU ROTC as well as all Veterans. The MSU Homecoming theme that year was "Let Freedom Ring" - certainly appropriate in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11. A U.S. Special Forces jump team delivered the game ball while the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus sang our National Anthem, two A10 Thunderbolts conducted a fly-over of Plaster Stadium and a football field-sized American flag was unfurled at half-time while the 82nd Airborne Chorus gave a patriotic performance; many Alumni gathered at mid-field to be honored in the celebration.
As of May 2011, Missouri State University and its associated partnership colleges (Evangel University, Southwest Baptist University, Drury University, Baptist Bible College , College of the Ozarks, and Central Bible College) have commissioned 1,779 Army officers. Among this number are eleven General Officers: Lieutenant General Neal T. Jaco, Lieutenant General John E. Miller, Major General Fred F. Marty, Major General Robert L. Gordon, Major General Robert F. Pennycuick, Major General David E. White, Major General Jarrett J. Robertson, Brigadier General William A. West, Brigadier General Tony L. Stansberry, Brigadier General J. Marty Robinson, and Brigadier General Karen Dyson.