ISU Cyclone ROTC battalion wins third consecutive MacArthur Award

CycloneBattalion run

AMES, Iowa -- For the third year in a row, the Cyclone Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) Battalion at Iowa State University has been named one of the top eight battalions among the 275 nationwide.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox, Ky., has announced that Cyclone Battalion is the best of the 3rd Brigade's 41 battalions in the Midwest and will receive an elite MacArthur Award. The Command and the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation present the award to the top battalion in each of the eight brigades. Cyclone Battalion has won the award five times in the past eight years.

The MacArthur Award for the school year 2012-13 is based on a combination of the achievement of the school's commissioning mission, its cadets' performance and standing on the Command's national Order of Merit List, and its cadet retention rate. The award recognizes the ideas of "duty, honor and country," as advocated by MacArthur. The award will be formally presented later this semester.

"This award is appropriate recognition for the hard work, effort and amount of time each cadet puts in," said LTC Richard Smith, professor and chair of the Military Science and Tactics Department. "These are well-rounded, dynamic leaders who excel in fitness, academics and leadership. I couldn't be more proud of this group."

Cadet Steven Brown, a senior in finance from St. Louis, Mo., said he and his peers "stayed focused and strived for excellence" to win the award.

"An award like this doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, preparation, determination and hard work," Brown said.

And Smith added that winning honors like the MacArthur takes a team effort of instructors, cadre and all the cadets — whether freshmen or seniors who just graduated.

"They are a team; they put the organization and each other before themselves," Smith said. "It is just amazing to see how they have developed over the last couple of years. We couldn't ask for better students."

Battalion fall march

Each summer, all cadets who have completed their junior year attend the challenging summer ROTC Leadership Development Assessment Course (known as "LDAC"). Considered the most important training event for an Army ROTC cadet, the four-week summer capstone course incorporates rigorous training on a range of subjects designed to develop and evaluate leadership ability. Cadets are evaluated on physical fitness, leadership skills, communication, weapons training, land navigation skills and other subjects. Their LDAC scores figure greatly into various awards the battalion is considered for and the cadets' ranking on the national Order of Merit List, which determines their future career options within the Army.

"Winning the MacArthur Award for the third consecutive year stands as a testament to the hard work and legacy of achievement of my class," said Zachary Graham, a senior cadet majoring in anthropology from Cedar Falls. "Living up to the standard of those who have gone before us has not been easy, but through our training and dedication we have made it possible."

Headquartered at Iowa State, the battalion's 140 cadets also include students from Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, and Drake University and Grand View University in Des Moines.

Cadet Command and the MacArthur Foundation have given the awards each year since 1989. 
The other winners this year are the following.

  • Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., which represents Cadet Command's 1st Brigade. The brigade consists of the nation's six senior military colleges and five of the military junior colleges.
  • Niagara University, of Niagara University, N.Y., which represents 2nd Brigade. The brigade consists of the 42 senior Army ROTC programs in the Northeast. 

  • The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., which represents 4th Brigade. The brigade consists of the 38 senior Army ROTC programs in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., which represents 5th Brigade. The brigade includes the 36 senior Army ROTC programs in the Southwest. 

  • University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla., which represents 6th Brigade. The brigade consists of the 39 senior Army ROTC programs in the Southeastern United States and Puerto Rico. 

  • University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky., which represents 7th Brigade. The brigade consists of the 38 senior Army ROTC programs in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky. 

  • Pacific Lutheran University, of Tacoma, Wash., is the repeat winner for 8th Brigade. The brigade consists of the 30 senior Army ROTC programs on the West Coast, as well as Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.