Since 1947, the military has had an official presence on campus through the University’s Army Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) Rattler Battalion. But you could say that when Lt. W.F. Cox was assigned to St. Mary’s as the professor of military science 1932, the armed forces took hold in St. Mary’s.

Though World War II forced the Rattler Battalion to disband for five years, the ROTC now has a permanent place in the academic world of the University. The program in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is led by a combination of military science professors and commissioned Army officers and non-commissioned officers.

Currently, S. Mary’s has 53 members enrolled in the Rattler Battalion Corp of Cadets, St. Mary’s ROTC program. Recently eight of them traveled to the nation’s capitol to attend the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Convention, participate in the annual “Army 10 Miler,” along with visiting some of the historical landmarks. At the AUSA students had second row seats to hear General Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody, the first female four-star General in the history of the Army.

St. Mary’s ROTC program has commissioned more than 1,300 officers, including many general officers, ranging from brigadier to lieutenant general. Two of them, the late Lt. Gen. William Schneider and retired Lt. Gen. Marc Cisneros, served as the 5th U. S. Field Army commanders. St. Mary’s University Board of Trustee Member and retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Alfred “Freddie” A. Valenzuela was the commander of the U.S. Army South moving the command from Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico to Fort Sam Houston. Before his retirement, he was the highest ranking Hispanic in the Armed Forces at the time.

Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Valenzuela will be on campus on Thursday, Nov. 11 for St. Mary’s annual Veteran’s Day Ceremony.

To help our alumni currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ROTC’s Marian Guard collaborated with the St. Mary’s men’s basketball team on “Operation: Drive to the Basket.” The event will be held during the men’s basketball season opener and encourages fans to donate non-perishable items not only for our alumni, but all those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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