Our battalion was first formed as a Transportation Corps Unit in May 1951 when Georgia State was known as the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia. In the fall quarter of 1951, 319 cadets enrolled in ROTC, which had a cadre of four officers and four non-commissioned officers. In 1955, the ROTC Department evolved into a general military science unit. Instead focusing on training for the Army, the new curriculum’s purpose was to give cadets a general military education. The program’s structure, a 2-year basic course and 2-year advanced course, has remained intact to date. ROTC enrollment surpassed 1,000 cadets during the Korean War and nearly reached that level again during the Vietnam War. During this time all-male, full-time undergraduate students were required to participate in the program if they had no prior military service and met the physical, age and other eligibility criteria. As a result, enrollment in military science was greater in those early years than it has been of late. During the early 1970s, ROTC enrollment at Georgia State declined when the ROTC requirement was lifted and the all-volunteer system was initiated.
Enrollment in ROTC ran relatively low for the early part of the last decade, but with a new cadre, extensive recruiting efforts and the addition of our sister schools, the program has seen a boost in enrollment over the past couple of years. In 2006, official enrollment was as low as 30, but today the program stands poised to break more than 100 cadets in the coming year. Before, our cadre had offices only at Georgia State, but today we have offices at Georgia State, Morehouse and Clayton State. Just a few years ago the program had to struggle to find available cadre for training, but today’s primary task is fitting everyone in one room and figuring out where that room should be. Recent graduates are stationed anywhere from Korea, to Hawaii, to Germany.
As the program gains more numbers, strength and recognition on campus, we will continue to grow in terms of size and quality. Though recruiting efforts are always important to us, our cadre and cadets know before anything else we must ensure our cadets will begin their service well-trained and fully prepared to take on one of the most challenging jobs in the world. No other profession asks as much from recent college graduates as does the United States Army Officer Corps, and this fact will certainly never be lost on the cadre and cadets of the Panther Battalion.