Brief History of the “Cardinal Battalion”
In August of 1982, The University of Louisville held its first Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) class. Initial enrollment was 31 cadets. In October 1982, General Isaac D. Smith, then Commander of Second ROTC Region, and University of Louisville President, Dr. Donald C. Swain, signed a contract which formally established the University of Louisville as a host institution for Army ROTC. The First Class of MS IV cadets were commissioned on 12 May 1984, and this year the University of Louisville Army ROTC Program will have commissioned over 400 cadets. The Army ROTC unit is located on the 2nd level in Russell E. Dougherty Hall, which was initially a Naval ROTC building.
The Army ROTC Cardinal Battalion offers many opportunities, in addition to instruction, on the road to an officer’s commission. Our Ranger Challenge team proudly boasts the following accolades:
- October 2008 and 2009: 7th Brigade Ranger Challenge Champions out of 40+ schools.
- April 2010: Sandhurst Competition ROTC Champions – a physically rigorous, leadership-focused team competition hosted by the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst at West Point, NY for all branches of military academies, international schools and ROTC.
- October 2019: 7th Brigade Ranger Challenge Runners-up out of 38 schools, qualifying to compete at the Sandhurst Competition
University of Louisville’s Army ROTC also affords the opportunity for students enrolled at other Kentuckiana schools and universities to participate in its program through the Metroversity partnership. Participating schools include: Bellarmine University, Spalding University, Sullivan University, and Indiana University Southeast.
Students who participate in the program get to experience activities such as rappelling, day and night land navigation, first aid training and road marches during training throughout each semester. Some of these training are conducted each week during lab sessions or during an off campus weekend field training exercise.
Other additional activities include the opportunity to qualify for the prestigious German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge or compete with other students as part of our award winning Ranger Challenge Team. In past years there have been both men’s and women’s teams to compete and win/place. Students can also volunteer to participate as one of our Color Guard cadets, who usually present colors at many of the Cardinals Football and Basketball games.
Recently, University of Louisville graduate and friend of the program, Madison Thompson, created a video which shows what it's like to be a member of the Cardinal Battalion.