The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps activation ceremony officially established the Mocs Battalion on campus. During the ceremony, three battalion members were sworn in and contracted eight years of service with the Army.
The Color Guard at the activation ceremony was comprised of cadets from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, symbolizing the partnership of the Rocky Top and Mocs Battalions.
U.S. Army four-star General B.B.Bell participated in the ceremony. The UTC ROTC program holds the distinct honor of having General Bell among its graduates. Bell has attained the highest rank of any UTC ROTC graduate. He is currently the Commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea, and is among the most senior officers in the United States Army.
The activation ceremony began with Bell and Sergeant First Class Michael Bohannon uncasing the Mocs Battalion colors. The colors represent the heritage and history of the unit and the unity and loyalty of its soldiers. They are also the commander’s symbol of authority, signifying responsibility to the organization. The custodian of the colors is the senior military instructor, who is also the senior enlisted soldier in the unit and principle advisor to the commander.
During the ceremony, Bohannon passed the colors to Bell, who then passed the colors to Major Benjamin Smith, charging him with his responsibilities and authority as the commander of the Mocs Battalion.
Although there had been a military presence on the University campus earlier, it was April 7, 1950, when a unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps was officially established at the University of Chattanooga. The Reserve Officers Training Corps remained a successful and integral part of the university until 1994, when national level budgetary cuts and program reviews prefaced the closure of the program. During the next three years, the ROTC program at UTC was phased out and by the end of 1997, was no longer a part of the UTC campus.
The program began its return in 2005, when members of the US Army’s Cadet Command, along with representatives from the Tennessee Army National Guard, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and the University of Tennessee – Knoxville began to explore the reinstitution of ROTC on the UTC campus. Led by the efforts of Dr. Robert Swansbrough, Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the UTC Faculty Senate sought and gained final university approval in April 2007. Swansbrough was later awarded the US Army Cadet Command’s highest honor, the General William E. DePuy Award, for his contributions.
A full ROTC curriculum began on August 20, 2007 with the start of classes in fall 2007.