ROTC wins MacArthur award

Freedom — Cadets who have graduated from the ROTC program serve in various branches of the military all over the world. Photo provided

Liberty University’s ROTC Eagle Battalion and the University of Virginia’s (UVA) Cavalier Battalion program was recently recognized for their outstanding achievements, both in scholastics and military exercises.

In 2001, Liberty’s Eagle Battalion was re-established to partner with UVA’s Cavalier Battalion, which is based out of Charlottesville, to form one program in 2001, according to the ROTC website.

Every year, the MacArthur award is given to a brigade, and this year marks the first time that Liberty and UVA have been recognized. This award takes into consideration the academic and military performance of the Army ROTC cadets, including their GPAs and their performance at the Leader Development and Assessment Course, which the cadets participate in between the summer of their third and fourth year.

According to Capt. Ezzo, the recruiting operations officer for the ROTC program, the award also considers the ranking of cadets on the National Order of Merit List (OML), their ability to meet the commissioning goal and the retention rates of cadets from one year to the next.

Liberty and UVA have done and exceeded that criteria for the past three years, according to Ezzo.

“The current fourth year class at Liberty and UVA will commission 44 new Second Lieutenants in May, and of those 44, five were in the top 10 percent nationally, and 15 were Distinguished Military Graduates, meaning they were in the top 20 percent of the National OML,” Ezzo said.

Liberty and UVA’s program was chosen out of 38 schools in their brigade to receive the award for the 2011-12 academic school year, according to Ezzo.

“Being nominated for and winning this award is a testament to the outstanding quality of the cadets in the program and their willingness to be part of something larger than themselves,” Liberty and UVA professor of military science Lt. Col. Michael Binetti said. “It is also a great reflection of the tremendously talented cadre (squad) and staff who instruct the cadets and help ensure the program functions seamlessly on a daily basis.”

The MacArthur award is a wonderful way to recognize the hard work of so many people who make the program succeed, according to Binetti.

“I constantly tell people about how great our school, cadets and Army ROTC programs are,” Binetti said. “This award validates those claims.”

According to Ezzo, many of the students who are interested in the military program and wish to join Liberty and UVA’s program also compete for admission to the service academies.

“Recognition like the MacArthur award goes a long way to validate the quality of the Liberty University and UVA Army ROTC program, and articulates to students that we are capable of producing the same high quality army officers as West Point with a great deal of more personal and professional opportunities along the way,” Ezzo said.

Cadet graduates from the Eagle Battalion currently serve in various branches of the U.S. Army across the globe as they fulfill Liberty’s founding mission of serving Christ throughout the nations, according to the ROTC website.

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