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IU's Army ROTC program awarded 2016 General Douglas MacArthur Award

Mar. 8, 2017

IU’s Army ROTC has been awarded the 2016 General Douglas MacArthur Award for the best ROTC program in the 7th Brigade.

IU ROTC cadets

IU ROTC cadets during a Veterans Day flag-raising ceremony on the IU Bloomington campus. | PHOTO BY IU COMMUNICATIONS

This is the first time IU has received the award, presented by the U.S. Army Cadet Command and the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation. The award recognizes the ideals of “duty, honor and country” as advocated by MacArthur.

"I'm incredibly proud of all of the cadets and cadre in our program,” said Lt. Col. Todd Burkhardt, director and professor of military science at IU Bloomington. “They are committed to excellence and being part of a team. I want to thank IU for the amazing support that it provides to our program, which truly sets the conditions for our success.”

The General Douglas MacArthur Award is based on achievement of the school’s commissioning mission, cadet GPAs and standing on the command’s National Order of Merit List, cadets’ retention rates, Ranger Challenge competitions, Army training and physicality, as well as the 7th Brigade commander’s assessment and evaluation of the overall program. 

“A program is only as good as those who are in it, and the IU ROTC program has some of the most dedicated and hardworking cadets and cadre from across the nation,” IU ROTC cadet Connor Tooley said. “There is no question that the support from the university and its faculty have also played a critical role in allowing our program to be so successful and earn this award.

"I am beyond proud of the hard work that the cadets have put into earning this designation, and it serves as a reminder that one of the many reasons myself and many of my fellow cadets wanted to join ROTC was to become the best of the best our country and military have to offer.”

One winner was chosen from each of the eight ROTC regions, which include 275 programs nationwide. IU is one of 38 colleges and universities in its region, which covers Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

“There are many outstanding programs in the 7th Brigade, all providing students a unique opportunity to serve their country as an officer in the U.S. Army, Army Reserves or Army National Guard,” said Col. Lance Oskey, brigade commander at the U.S. Army Cadet Command. “However, this year the top ROTC program in the brigade is Indiana University. 

“All successful ROTC programs are possible only with a strong partnership with their host university. It is clear to me that the Indiana University community values and invests in their ROTC program. With great university support, the cadre and cadets have formed a highly successful ROTC program -- one that has earned the MacArthur Award as one of the top eight ROTC programs in the entire nation.”

Tooley said the program is preparing him to become a leader and has already begun shaping him for the future.

“ROTC has helped me by pushing me to be my best,” he said. “Being surrounded by such experienced cadre and successful cadets on a daily basis has encouraged me to push myself in academics, physical fitness and community service, which all help make a well-rounded leader.”

IU has the fourth oldest officer development program, following the United States Military Academy (West Point), Norwich, and the Virginia Military Institute. Military instruction was initiated on the IU Bloomington campus in 1840 by Jacob Ammen, a 1831 West Point graduate. The officer development program would be re-labeled with the establishment of the ROTC as part of the National Defense Act of 1916, which established an official ROTC program at IU in 1917.

Today, IU has 110 cadets, and on campus ROTC continues to be recognized for its outstanding program and cadets. This year, IU has 24 seniors who will commission; of those, all have received the military assignment they have asked for. Likewise, eight of IU’s 24 senior cadets were selected as distinguished military graduates, which is awarded to the top 20 percent of the nation’s 5,000 senior cadets, and four of those eight were recognized as being in the top 10 percent. 

Furthermore, 33 percent of IU’s Army ROTC senior class is in the top 20 percent nationwide, and 17 percent is in the top 10 percent nationwide.

“I am thrilled for IU Army ROTC and proud of the wonderful work of Lt. Col. Todd Burkhardt and his team,” said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. “They continue IU’s long tradition of military training, which began in 1840 and is one of the oldest programs of its kind in the country. The General Douglas MacArthur Award is also truly a testament to the hard work of our student cadets, who have gained world-class leadership skills, confidence and global understanding during their time at IU and in this fine program.”

An award ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. March 20 in President’s Hall at Franklin Hall. The ceremony will also be broadcast live online.

IU's ROTC program aligns with several priorities in the university's Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a commitment to student success.

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