The South Carolina State University Senior Reserve Officers Training Corps is being recognized for its commitment to sustaining excellence in military service and leadership.
Also known as the Bulldog Battalion, the organization has been a source of military education and mentorship since 1947, equipping adaptive leaders with critical thinking skills and the moral character to lead the nation's armed forces.
It is the Bulldog Battalion's unwavering faithfulness to its obligations to serve and protect the nation and its citizens that has earned its designation as the exemplification of loyalty for the month of May as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.
Lt. Col. Folden Peterson, an S.C. State military science professor who directs the organization, said he was excited about receiving the honor.
"It gives our organization another opportunity to showcase our program to a much larger audience. Since July 1, 1947, when the War Department established an ROTC program at South Carolina State College, we've produced 2,123 second lieutenants for the armed forces -- not just the Army," Peterson said.
"We are also recognized as one of the largest producers of minority officers for the United States Army. The Bulldog Battalion currently sustains an enrollment average of 135 cadets per year," he said.
Peterson said it is the strength of a cross-enrollment agreement between S.C. State and other local institutions, including Claflin University, Voorhees College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, that has contributed to the organization's overall success.
Under the agreement, students from other local institutions without an ROTC program are permitted to receive training at S.C. State and remain at the institution of their choice.
"The success is through the combined efforts of our partner schools. Our institutions have been interlaced through a cross-enrollment agreement since 1967. To date, our military alumni have served in every branch, or job specialty, and every component, including active duty, reserve and National Guard," Peterson said.
He added, "We've also served in every war since World War II because a few of our cadets served in the armed forces prior to coming to Bulldog Battalion."
Loyalty is perhaps best expressed in the oath of office that all members of the armed forces must uphold:
"We are bound to bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, our unit and our soldiers, which includes the cadets in our program. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone."
Peterson said, "A loyal soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow soldiers. The same applies to our cadets. This is one of several character traits embedded in our military education.
"Loyalty is not a negotiable requirement -- it's a necessity."
He said fulfilling obligations with a spirit of teamwork, respect, selfless service and moral principle are what is key to maintaining a culture of excellence within the organization.
"Because iron sharpens iron, our universities are aligned in the same manner, enabling our cadets to be some of the very best students upon departing their institutions at graduation," Peterson said.
He said the Orangeburg County Community of Character honor is a platform from which the organization can continue to cultivate its mission. He praised the OCCOC for its efforts to spread good character.
Peterson added, "We are honored to have received this recognition. We endeavor to develop more partnerships with our community and state. Through this venue and others, we are looking to expand the numbers enrolled in our program."
For more information on the S.C. State ROTC program, visit http://www.scsu.edu/armyrotc/newsletter.aspx and http://www.scsumilitaryalumni.com/.
Bulldog Battalion wins character award for loyalty
May 27, 2017 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer