By Mackensie Moore, Iowa State Daily
For the third year in a row, the Iowa State ROTC program has been awarded the MacArthur award, an award that honors the best ROTC schools in the nation.
A total of 275 schools make up the eight brigades in the country with Iowa State as a part of the third brigade, a brigade consisting of 41 schools — the second largest brigade in the country.
“The award is just recognition of the hard work and efforts that the cadets and everybody in the program has put in,” said Lt. Col. Richard Smith, professor of military science & tactics.
Since 1989, the MacArthur Foundation has been awarding schools as a way to recognize their cadets’ performance.
In the past, the award used to be given based on region and then was awarded based on the size of the program. Now it awards one school per brigade, recognizing the top eight schools in the country. Also, while the way the award has been issued has changed, the criterion has not.
Based on a speech World War II Gen. Douglas MacArthur, gave before he passed, a brigade is given the award based on the ideals of “duty, honor and country.”
Cadet Command and the MacArthur Foundation consider three main things for a battalion to win the award: its cadet retention rate, commissioning mission and performance and standing on the command’s National Order of Merit List.
“It’s a really well-rounded award because you have to have that balance of doing well academically, participating and having that leadership attribute,” Smith said.
These aspects are a combination of the 2012-13 school year seniors who enlisted after graduation, the current seniors’ scores who attended the Leadership Development Assessment Course this past summer and how well the program is retaining its cadets.
“It’s a team effort,” Smith said. “None of them do it alone because it’s the class that graduated, the ones about to graduate and [those] training the class about to go to camp — it’s all a true team effort.”
The cadets that are part of the program are proud of the award, as well.
Lazo said that the battalion sets up many extra training opportunities for cadets throughout the year — opportunities that better prepare them for camp and opportunities to help mentor them both academically and physically.
“It’s a testament to the constant work ethic that the cadets provide to the program,” said Cadet Jonathan Lazo, senior in political science.
Cadets also agree that the award is not about the cadets who have graduated or the current seniors, but that the award means the program is the best and it must be maintained.
“ROTC is a way of life for us,” said Cadet Matthew Wood, senior in political science. “We come here, we work hard and we want to set the standard for each class so that they can do well and do better than us.”
Cadet Jason Sadowski, senior in supply chain management, said that the award is good for the program and for Iowa State as a whole. Sadowski came to Iowa State from Wisconsin because it was the best program in the brigade, and he believes that attaining the MacArthur award will only help recruitment.
“It’s like the Iowa State basketball team winning the NCAA championship,” Sadowski said. “That’s what it is for us, we’re going out there and winning the top award for battalions in the country.”
Other than recruitment, the program is pleased with knowing that they are producing effective leaders.
“I know that we’re putting out some good, quality leaders and because of that, I know that the Army is going to be in good hands with these leaders,” Smith said.
Later in the semester, the program will be awarded the MacArthur plaque and streamer as recognition.