Students and Alumni gather to celebrate 70 years of FAMU ROTC


Integrity, leadership, and legacy were among the many values recognized during the Florida A&M Army Reserve Officer Training Corps 70th anniversary week held from Feb 24 – Mar 3.

Beginning in 1948, The FAMU ROTC was implement as a part of the Florida Normal & Industrial College for Colored Students Morrell Act of 1890 in efforts to recruit African-Americans into the military. However, as the number of participants began to grow, The Rattler Battalion quickly became more than a means of military recruitment, but an impactful influence that extends past the highest of seven hills.

“This program has really become one of the premier leadership platforms for not just FAMU but also for the local community and for the nation.” said Professor of Military Science, LTC Edwin H. Escobar.

The annual week of events honored the outstanding progress of the FAMU ROTC while strengthening the program’s alumni network and educating all students on the development and leadership opportunities available.

Last Tuesday, the Rattler Battalion brought army style fitness to the quad  with an obstacle course along with rock climbing, tug-o-war, and other engaging actives. The following evening, the Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. collaborated with ZipSweat Fitness to commemorate the program by hosting their staple event “BN Shape” in the FAMU Recreation Center.

Senior ROTC cadet and Spring 17 initiate of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Rudsheld Rickie Plaisir said that these events are important to the lineage of the program and showcase the standards members are taught to live by.

“We are always trying to recruit to show people that it’s not the stigma of going to war or the military only being for white people,” said Plaisir. “We want to show that this is more of a lifestyle that teaches leadership and integrity. It’s a way to develop yourself no matter what field you are interested in.”

Last weekend was kicked off with an alumni 3 mile battalion run around campus on Friday, followed by The two day Army ROTC Leadership Conference later that evening. During the conference, alumni were welcomed back to host panels that expressed the importance of African-Americans in the military while showcasing  ratter’s worldwide presence within the army.

The annual Military Ball ended the week of events, bringing together cadets and alumni for a final 70 year legacy celebration along with the family of fallen soldier and FAMU ROTC alumnus, First Lieutenant Samuel Herold. Guest speakers included alumnus and Army Col. Michael McLendon, U.S. Special Operations Command J7 Joint Collective Training chief and FAMU President Larry Robinson.

Graduate Business Administration student and cadet Baidy Gadio says he is proud to be apart of such an important legacy and he knows that it will only continue on.

“The program has been able to sustain itself and it is here to stay. 70 years is just the beginning.” Gadio said.