Army ROTC game ball run is mission accomplished and ‘humbling’


Vet Home Marshalltown

Mission accomplished with military precision.

Army ROTC cadets running through uptown Marshalltown.
Iowa State’s Army ROTC cadets running through uptown Marshalltown.
Iowa State University’s Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets met their counterparts from the University of Iowa in Tama, Iowa, on Friday (Sept. 13). The Iowa cadets handed over the game ball to the members of the Cyclone Battalion, who ran it to Jack Trice Stadium.

It was the 28th year in which the ROTC cadets have run the ball from one campus to the host of the annual ISU-Iowa football game. After taking the handoff from Iowa, the ISU Cadets – who ride in vehicles from town to town – ran the ball through Tama, Marshalltown, State Center, Colo and Ames en route to the stadium.

The event is used to bring attention to Army ROTC and the universities and collect food and personal items for the Iowa Troop Pantry.

“It allows Army ROTC to be part of the greater community, to show we are part of the university and the Ames community,” Lt. Col. Richard Smith, commander of the Cyclone Battalion, said. “We represent something bigger than ourselves. We are proud to be in Army ROTC, to be the future leaders of the Army, but we are also proud to be Iowa State.”

The cadets toured the Iowa Veterans Home while in Marshalltown, meeting military veterans and their spouses who live at the state facility.

“The visit to the Veteran’s Home gives us an opportunity to not only pay our respects but to also honor the legacy of the veterans,” Smith said. “We are following in their footsteps. They have paved the way for our freedom, our freedom to chose to be in ROTC.”

Smith said it was “humbling” to visit with the veterans, especially when the cadets learned an Iowa Veterans Home resident, who was a USS Arizona survivor at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, died just a few months ago.

Although the Cyclones fell to Iowa, 27-21, during Saturday’s game, ISU did win the donation battle. The ISU cadets topped Iowa by acquiring more items such as canned goods, toothbrushes and foot powder, which will be donated to an Army unit stationed in Afghanistan.