History of Army ROTC at TU

The Junior Infantry Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) was established at Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute in February 1919. Captain Russell Smith, Infantry, was detailed to duty as Professor of Military Science and Tactics (PMS&T), with one commissioned officer and three enlisted assistants assigned. All male students over the age of fourteen who were in good physical condition were required to enroll in the unit.

This program was designed to motivate and give future leaders values and standards to live by each day. Military instruction was conducted between 4:00 and 5:00 pm, three days a week. Lieutenent Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. (Brigadier General, Retired), reported for duty at Tuskegee in 1920 as the PMS&T, relieving Captain Russell Smith, who became the assistant PMS&T. There were no available replacements for Lieutenant Colonel Davis upon completion of his tour in 1924, therefore, the junior unit was discontinued.

The school, however, continued military training for qualified students under the provisions of paragraph 55-c of the National Defense Act using certain members of the previous PMS&T's staff as instructors who had served in the Army during World War I. In 1933, the Junior Infantry Unit (ROTC) was reestablished under the command of Colonel Benjamin O. Davis Sr., former PMS&T. During the school year of 1937-38, Captain Charles Ecton served as PMS&T and Captain Walter J. Love served as Assistant PMS&T. Captains Ecton and Love were subsequently employed at Tuskegee on the staff of the Dean of Men. During the school year 1939-40, the War Department detailed Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (Lieutenant General retired) to Tuskegee as PMS&T. At the beginning of the school year 1941, the Senior Infantry Unit (ROTC) was established.

 Lt. Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr.

The United States Air Force found its roots in the United States Army as the Army Air Corps. The aviation training program had its beginnings under Lieutenant Colonel Herbert A. Barrow, Infantry, PMS&T, during the school year 1946-47. Fourteen advance course students made up this first class of aviation training cadets. These cadets trained with Army ROTC students in field work and general military subjects. The subjects that were purely aviation related were taught separately.

In September of 1954 the Army ROTC program at Tuskegee Institute was redesignated as a General Military Science (GMS) program. In September 1960, under the guidance of Major Burton W. Lewis, Professor of Military Science (PMS), the Army ROTC at Tuskegee Institute adopted the modified GMS program. In the new curriculum, certain academic courses offered by the college were substituted for military contact hours, formally required under the previous program of instruction. The ROTC curriculum was revised in the school year 1968-69.

The Army Flight program commenced in September 1968. The first class graduated four cadets. In 1973-74, ten students (one-third of the Military Science IV class) enrolled in the flight instruction program, the largest class to pursue flight training since the inception of the program. The Army flight program was terminated at the end of the 1975-76 school year. Based on current trends and recommendations by the Professor of Military Science, all four years of ROTC became voluntary in the 1972-73 school year. Females were officially enrolled for the first time in September 1973. Tuskegee University (redesignated from Tuskegee Institute in 1985) is currently one of 270 colleges and universities in the United States that offer the Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (SROTC) program for the development of commissioned officers to become members of the active or reserve component Army.

The following is a listing of the previous ROTC commanders (PMS&T/PMS) at Tuskegee University:

CPT Russell Smith, 1919-1920
COL B.O. Davis, Sr., 1920-1924; 1931-1938
MAJ William H. Wallcott, 1924-1931
CPT Charles Ecton, 1938-1939
LTC B.O. Davis, Jr., 1939-1942
MAJ John A. Welch, 1942-1947
LTC H. A. Barron, 1947-1950
MAJ Wallter H. Dabney, 1950-1951, 1952-1957
MAJ Elmer Hatton, 1951-1952
MAJ Conway B. Jones, 1957-1958
MAJ Burton Crocker, 1964-1967
LTC Robert W. Everett 1967-1970
LTC Arthur H. Seabrook 1970-1973
LTC James R. Adams, 1973-1976
LTC William D. Gess, Jr., 1976-1980
LTC Donald L. Scott, 1980-1981
LTC Hardy L. Graves, 1981-1984
LTC Lee C. Gamble, 1984-1987
LTC Arthur L. Holmes, 1987-1990
LTC Charley H. Walker, 1990-1992
MAJ Herbert Jordan, 1992-1993
LTC Ron Adkins, 1993-1994
LTC Johnny Pierce, Jr. , 1994-1997
LTC Ralph L. Poole, 1997-1999
LTC Johnny Pierce, Jr., 1999-2004
LTC Iris Hurd, 2004-2007
LTC Augustine Clark, 2007-2010
LTC Robbie Cross, 2010-Present


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