War Eagles: Auburn University’s Tradition of Training Soldiers
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As a land-grant university, Auburn University maintains a tradition of training American soldiers. Its Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) unit was once central to campus life, but in 1969 the university eliminated its mandatory ROTC program. Having offered a remarkable contribution to national defense, as a case study Auburn University Army ROTC embodies an exceptional microcosm for understanding how the United States government has prepared the Army to fight wars requiring mass mobilization. With the old model of cadet training based upon raising a mass army to fight wars in the industrial age and the new model based upon fighting wars with more powerful weaponry but fewer personnel in the modern age of science and technology, examining how these developments within the Army interrelate to the evolution of Auburn University Army ROTC provides an opportunity to consider the significance of how Auburn’s commitment as a land-grant university to supporting ROTC has remained constant, although the centrality of Army ROTC to campus life is dramatically different.