Thursday, April 14, 2016 –
This year college campuses all across the country are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program and North Carolina A&T State University is no exception.
On April 14, the university, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, hosted an ROTC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at its Alumni Center, paying tribute to past and present Soldiers as well as those of the future.
Having first initiated the concept of formal military training on the North Carolina A&T campus in 1919, it wasn’t until 1942 that the program was officially designated ROTC with Capt. Robert Campbell at the helm as its first Professor of Military Science, or PMS.
Later, in 1947, the university commissioned its first group of eight officers into the Infantry branch.
One Officer of that first group of eight, retired Lt. Col. Reginald Reeves, was in attendance at the ceremony and says the ROTC program was quite different back in his day than what it is today.
“The students get a lot more training today than what we did back then,” he said. “They also have choices. There was only Infantry in my time. After we commissioned we went to Fort Benning and that was it.”
Reeves, who spent 20 years with the Army Reserve as a Civil Affairs Officer in Idaho, now practices law, praised the ROTC program and says it will continue to be a great benefit for not only students but also schools as long as they continue to support it.
Reeves was inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame in 2003.
This year, the school added 3 members to its long list of distinguished graduates.
One of those was Brig. Gen. Richard Sele, 108th Training Command (IET) Deputy Commanding General.
Sele received his commission at A&T in 1987 as an Ordnance Officer but later transferred to Civil Affairs. Following his commissioning he went on to Germany and then served as a liaison officer to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Desert Storm.
“Start Strong. These two words embody the profound impact that ROTC has on its graduates for the rest of their lives,” he said in his remarks to those in attendance. “It certainly had that kind of impact on me and I’m grateful for the opportunities that the Army afforded me over my career. Most importantly is the privilege to lead Soldiers.”
Sele gave credit to the ROTC program for giving him the tools he needed to succeed in his Military career.
“When young people become a part of the ROTC family, they’re leaps and bounds ahead of their peers in developing a sense of human decency.”
“Less than one percent of the American population has ever served in the Military. The responsibility for leading those Soldiers is enormous and falls on the shoulders of Officers like those who got their start in the ROTC program,” he added.
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Scott was a senior enlisted advisor for the ROTC program at A&T from 1985 to 1988. He made the trip to Greensboro to see Sele, as well as retired Lt. Col. James Davis, inducted to the Hall of Fame. Both of these men were under his tutelage during their time at the school.
“Thirty years later, it’s invigorating,” he said. “You can see the product of your work in the Cadets as these guys stand before you. I look at Lt. Col. Davis and I look at Brig. Gen. Sele and I think ‘all right, I must have done something right while I was here’ and for me it’s good to see that.”
In all, 43 former cadets of the A&T ROTC program now grace the walls with bronze plaques in their honor. Sele and Davis were joined by retired Lt. Col. Dianne Fisher as this year’s class of inductees. Fisher’s last assignment before her retirement in 1999 was as North Carolina A&T State University’s Professor of Military Science.
The day’s celebration concluded with a 5k run and 12 mile ruck march by current cadets in the A&T program.