A Brief History
The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), as it exists today, began with President Woodrow Wilson signing the National Defense Act of 1916. Although military training had been taking place in civilian colleges and universities as early as 1819, the signing of the National Defense Act brought this training under single, federally-controlled entity:
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Army ROTC is the largest officer-producing organization within the U.S. military, having commissioned more than half a million 2nd Lieutenants since its inception.
ROTC and Ricks College
The BYU-Idaho Army ROTC's roots go back to the 1970's with Ricks College. It was a two-year program with only a few cadets. When President Henry B. Eyring was president of Rick’s College, said, "[The] ROTC was brought onto the campus in the last few years. I have been surprised at the reception of this large program. We began as a satellite program of Idaho State University; now we are almost as large as the Idaho State University program, because our young people have a feeling about their country. . . I think that in a country moving away from what might be called old-fashioned patriotism, Ricks is moving the other way."
BYU-Idaho "Viking Battalion"
Because Ricks College only offered two-year degrees, cadets in the Army ROTC would have to move on to finish their degrees and be commissioned at a different institution. This all changed in 2000 when Ricks College became BYU-Idaho. During this transition, BYU-Idaho saw its first students graduate and become officers in the U.S Army. Today, the BYU-Idaho Viking Battalion boasts more than 80 cadets with more joining every semester, making it one of the largest programs in the state.
View the video below about the ROTC program's heritage.