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Military Science and ROTC

Military Science

The Department of Military Science was founded during the school year 1884-1885, when Michigan State University was known as Michigan Agricultural College, with the assignment of the first active duty Army officer as the professor of military science and tactics. Although military training had been present on campus before, there had been no structured program with government sanction until the assignment of a young infantry officer, Lieutenant John A. Lockwood, in the fall of 1884.


The Department of Military Science has undergone many generations of change and its history reflects the political, social, and economic realities of the times. Graduates of the program form a core of distinguished and successful alumni of the university in both the civilian and military community. This includes seven general officers, and more recently, State Senator William Sederburg, class of 1973. The traditions of the department and the mission of the Michigan State University Reserve Officers' Training Corps are best expressed in the Spartan Battalion motto, "Training to Lead".

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U.S. Air Force ROTC

The U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program based at Michigan State University, Detachment 380, was established in 1946 as a training program to prepare college students to become officers in the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Space Force. Students work with Detachment 380 to qualify for a commission while completing their university undergraduate degree requirements simultaneously.

Cadets receive an educational training program with Detachment 380 that emphasizes student involvement and the development of leadership skills. Cadets attend classes that are conducted as seminars requiring active student discussion. Through the program, cadets become involved in the management of their own cadet wing through a mandatory two-hour “leadership laboratory” every week. Corps positions are assigned to cadets, with responsibility increasing over their four years in the program. Cadets also participate in physical training, leadership projects, Air Force base visits, orientation flights, and common college extracurricular activities.

Detachment 380 also supports cadets at other state higher education institutions, including Lansing Community College, Olivet College and Western Michigan University. The Cadet Corps averages about 80 cadets between the five institutions. 


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