100 Years of ROTC at Georgia Tech

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

More than a century ago, Georgia Tech students watched with what must have been foreboding as World War I swept across Europe.

They decided to form a student-run Signal Corps, to begin wearing uniforms, and to do what they could to help defend the United States should war come calling.

From that beginning, a rich tradition of military service was born. This year, the Institute is holding a yearlong celebration in recognition of 100 years of Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

In the years since 1917, graduates of the Institute’s Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs have gone on to distinguished careers as admirals, generals, Medal of Honor recipients, astronauts, and industry leaders. Many have gone to war. Not all have come back.

Like those who came before them, many of today’s ROTC students are among the most accomplished on campus.

“Tech doesn’t accept mediocrity in their students. It is famous for that,” said Colonel John Meister, professor of military science and commander of the Army ROTC unit, which, like the Navy and Air Force units, is part of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. “That reinforcement of achievement that they learn here at Georgia Tech translates very well to being an Army officer.”

More than 90 percent of Naval ROTC students maintain GPAs north of 3.5 even while taking on extra coursework required by the military science program, according to Captain Baron Reinhold, professor of military science at Georgia Tech and commander of the Naval ROTC program.

Students also participate in early-morning physical training sessions, marching drills, leadership work in the cadet corps, Greek activities, nonprofit organizations, clubs, and other activities. And their work continues beyond the academic year. Students often go into summer ROTC training camps, to summer internships, then back to school.

“I have no idea when they sleep, when they eat,” Reinhold said.