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Fighting Eagle History

April 19, 2017

Eastern Washington University has a long and proud tradition of developing leaders. Our Senior ROTC program was established at Eastern Washington College of Education, pursuant to an agreement between the school's governing authorities and approved by the Secretary of the Army on 16 June 1952.

Eastern Washington University Army ROTC is well represented in all of the major conflicts over the last 60+ years. Officers who earned their commissions at Eastern Washington have led Soldiers in Vietnam, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Kosovo, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and now Operation Resolute Support.

Fighting Eagles Battalion Alumni include distinguished professionals such as Major General (Retired) Kenneth L. Privratsky, Major General (Retired) Roger K. Bean, Brigadier General (Retired) Frederick G. Wong, Brigadier General (Retired) Gratton 'Neal' O. Sealock II, Major General (Retired) Scott G. West Lieutenant General Gary Volesky, current commander of I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.

From 1952 to 1968, when ROTC participation was mandatory for all qualified males at Eastern, the Cadet Corps grew from around 165 students the first year to 800 per year during the mid-1960s. Coinciding with a nation-wide change, Army ROTC became voluntary at (then) Eastern Washington State College in 1962. Nine Eagles made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation in Vietnam. They are remembered in our Cadet Hall Vietnam memorial.

Cadet Hall was built in 1956. Much of the ROTC program's training was conducted in the old Field House, until it burned down in 1977.  During the 1960s, 70s and early-80s, EWU and the ROTC program were known for their marksmanship teams. Cadet Hall had its own indoor range, renovated 2012, and was instrumental in training several Olympians, notably: LTC (Ret) Wanda Jewell and Launi Meili.

In 1980, shortly after EWSC became formally known as Eastern Washington University (1977), Eastern's Military Science Department was tasked to serve as the host institution for a "expand the base" ROTC program at Central Washington University. In 1988, CWU's program became an independent host program.  In 1990, EWU's ROTC program won the prestigious MacArthur Award, ranking us as one of the top programs in the nation. In 1995 and 1996, at Advanced  Camp,  our  Cadets  achieved  the  highest  scores  of  all  the  ROTC programs in the country. In 1999, we ranked eighth in ROTC programs nationwide for Advanced Camp scores.

In recent years, we have evolved into a program that is diverse, high-performing and proud, epitomizes the Army Values, and attracts talent; thus setting the foundation for continued growth and improved performance in the future.  Our overall numbers are on the rise, as are our diversity, our quality/talent, and our demonstrated performance.  The program is home to 85 Cadets in 2017 with nearly 50 of them contracted or on scholarship.

This year's senior cohort will commission 11 Cadets on to Active Duty.  In the last 6 years the Fighting Eagles have produced an average of three Distinguished Military Graduates (four in 2017) each year. The future of the Fighting Eagles Battalion shines as bright as ever while continuing to develop leaders of character for service to our great Nation.

© 2019 Eastern Washington University
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