PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s Cougar Battalion has received the “Outstanding ROTC Unit Award” from the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America. The Cougar Battalion was recognized as the top Reserve Officer Training Corps unit in the U.S. Army Fourth Region, which includes 74 colleges and universities in the western United States and Guam.
In addition, the Cougar Battalion was rated one of the three best units in the nation. The other two units cited were Penn State University in the Army’s First Region and Austin Peay State University of Clarksville, Tenn., Third Region. Some 35,000 students comprise the Cadet Command.
Lt. Col. C. H. “Pat” Armstrong, head of the Department of Military Science at WSU, was notified of the award in a letter from Col. Richard H. Mackey, Sr., commanding officer, Headquarters, U.S. Army Fourth Region, Fort Lewis.
“The Fourth Region sees WSU as being one of the premiere battalions in the region,” Armstrong said. “Our Cougar Battalion consistently demonstrates excellence in all evaluated areas. We are able to achieve excellence because of the quality of students at WSU and the tremendous support of the university and President [Samuel H.] Smith.”
The Cougar Battalion exceeded the U.S. Army Command requirements during the 1997-98 school year in a number of areas. The unit took special pride in growth of the battalion, up from 146 cadets in 1995-96 to 224 cadets last year. Twenty-four percent of the cadets in the WSU ROTC program are women.
The current Cadet Battalion Commander is Marina L. Ellis, a senior from Roy.
In addition, the 18 cadets representing the Cougar Battalion at the 35-day Advance ROTC Camp last summer at Fort Lewis surpassed the Cadet Command average in basic rifle marksmanship, land navigation or map reading, leadership and physical fitness.
Five WSU cadets earned RECONDO awards for their overall performance at Advanced Camp ’98. They were Chae Gayles, Tacoma; Patrick D. Gehring, Seattle; Jason G. LaNore, Lynnwood; Ricky A. Thomas, Spanaway; and Timothy D. Weldin, Pullman.
During the school year, WSU cadets regularly visit campus living groups to inform students about the ROTC program, classes, activities and scholarship opportunities. Last year, ROTC sent male, female and co-ed teams to the Ranger Challenge, organized the Sixth Annual WSU-University of Idaho Military Ball that attracted 400 cadets and their dates, arranged color guards and flag details for WSU athletic and special events, participated in the all-campus blood drives, prepared military equipment displays for WSU Armed Forces Day, and provided VIP drivers and escorts for the WSU President’s special events.