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USI ROTC Cadet leadership to be honored for excellence in Wabash Battalion

The Wabash Battalion’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) unit has earned the 2021 MacArthur Award as the top program in the military’s 7th Brigade, a region covering 38 universities and colleges in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee, including the University of Southern Indiana. Cadets from USI make up one third of the Wabash Battalion. To recognize USI Cadet contributions to the overall success of the battalion, the 7th Brigade Commander will present an award to Cadet leadership at USI during a ceremony at 11 a.m. March 24 at the Griffin Center on campus. 

Additionally, the program was selected to compete for the overall 2021 Department of Defense ROTC and Partner Institution Excellence Award among Army, Air Force and Navy units. 

The U.S. Army Cadet Command recognized the unit’s achievements during the 2020-21 school year for readiness training and commissioning lieutenants for military service. Award-winning programs represent the Army’s ideals of Duty-Honor-Country and the legacy of leadership as practiced by General Douglas MacArthur, according to Army ROTC award guidelines. 

Wabash Battalion ROTC unit accomplishments for 2020-21 include: 

  • Commissioning 35 officers, far exceeding the 19-officer requirement. 
  • Six cadets ranked in the top 20% nationally and earned distinguished military graduate honors. 
  • Twenty-four cadets exceeded performance averages in areas of physical fitness, written land navigation, practical land navigation, weapons qualification and tactical performance evaluations during last summer’s training exercises. 
  • Cadets had key leadership roles in the “Bold Warrior”/Ranger Challenge team which had its best finish in the past 20 years against other senior ROTC programs in the 7th Brigade region. 
  • A 98% retention rate of students enrolled in the program from 2020 to 2021. 

“None of this would have been possible if not for the amazing support we receive from the colleges and universities that comprise our battalion,” says Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Benjamin Schneller. “The entire program is humbled by their generosity and commitment to helping us develop future leaders for the Army and our country. We thank everyone for their continued support.” 

The Wabash Battalion ROTC consists of seven colleges and universities in southwest Indiana for the 2021-22 school year. Among student leadership this year are senior cadets Wilson Henderson, Evan McCarthy, Nathan O’Connor, Adam Schmitt and Austin Tobin from the University of Southern Indiana, and Hank Bergmann of the University of Evansville.