The OU Army ROTC has its roots in the Student Volunteer Regiment, which was formed in 1917 as a result of the entry of the United States into the First World War. Then-University President Stratton D. Brooks approved the creation of an amateur military unit at the behest of the study body, which demanded instruction in basic military skills and tactics. The Regiment, however, lacked instructors, equipment, and formal support from the Army. Lasting only one semester, the Student Volunteer Regiment was soon supplanted by the Student Military Regiment, which was led by two retired Army officers who themselves hand-carved wooden military drill rifles.
The War Department finally granted formal support for military training at the University of Oklahoma in the fall 1918 with the creation of the Student Army Training Corps – a program designed to train students for immediate wartime service. With the abrupt end of the War, however, the program was short-lived, and it was soon replaced by the Reserve Officer Training Corps, which sought to train college-educated men for commissioned Army service.
Since then, the OU Army ROTC has continually produced Army officers – save a brief interruption during the Second World War, which was a war in which 503 OU Army ROTC alumni were killed. OU Army ROTC alumni have served in every major American war. Today, most recent graduates have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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