ISU Army ROTC wins MacArthur Award


By Paul Ehrsam,



Iowa State’s ROTC Army division has won the prestigious MacArthur Award for the second year in a row, establishing itself as one of the top programs in the country.

According to the U.S. Army website, “The award is based on a combination of the school’s commissioning mission and its cadet’s performance and standing on the command’s National Order of Merit List and its cadet retention rate.”

On Feb. 21, the U.S. Army’s Cadet Command announced that the ISU Army ROTC was one of the eight schools among 273 ROTC programs nationwide to be awarded the MacArthur Award.

“We are now one of the top eight in the country, which makes 265 other schools want to be where we’re sitting at,” said Lt. Col. Richard Smith, professor of military science. “We’re up there with the big boys, and it’s that national-level recognition that means a lot to the program and the kids.”

Every year the U.S. Army Cadet Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation reward eight schools that best recognize the ideals of “duty, honor and country” as advocated by MacArthur.

“It proves to us, to school and the state what level we’re on,” said Adam Schilling, battalion commander and senior in industrial technology. “It means a lot to know that we won the MacArthur Award, because we train harder for it and it kind of sets us apart.”

Schilling believes that one reason ISU Army ROTC excels is because it strives not only to meet goals, but to exceed them.

“One thing that helps set us apart is we look to exceed the standard and we set that as our personal standard,” Schilling said. “For example, with the personal training tests, for us to pass you have to get a 180 out of 300, but we want to shoot for that 300. Even though you passed, it’s still not good enough for us; we want to train you to exceed the standard.”

Winning the MacArthur Award will hopefully spread the word to prospective students thinking about ROTC.

“When we have someone thinking about where they want to go to school, and know they want to do ROTC and want to be an officer they’re trying to figure out ‘Where do I want to go?'” Smith said. “You want to go to the best, and in the Midwest you want to come here.”

The principles cadets learn while working towards the MacArthur Award will stay with cadets long after they have left Iowa State.

“The effort, the motivation, the dedication they put in now will make them better officers later on, and will lead to great opportunities,” Smith said.