Campbell Battalion welcomed a fifth school into its ROTC ranks on Tuesday after a collaboration between Campbell University and Central Carolina Community College was made official with signatures from the presidents of both schools.
Starting this fall, students from CCCC — which has campuses in Lee, Chatham and Harnett counties — will have the opportunity to become Army ROTC cadets and take military science courses on Campbell’s main campus in Buies Creek. CCCC joins Campbell, UNC Pembroke, Fayetteville State and Methodist in the Campbell Battalion, which commissions more officers in the U.S. Army than any other civilian school program in the nation and this year was one of eight programs nationally to receive a MacArthur Award as one of the best in the nation (an honor Campbell has earned two years in a row).
Officials from Campbell, CCCC and Fort Bragg — along with uniformed cadets — were on hand for Tuesday’s ceremony, held in the Taylor Hall’s Trustee Room. Also present was State Sen. Ronald Rabin, credited by both institutions as a driving force to make the agreement a reality.
“It’s not just a win-win situation [for Campbell and CCCC], but it’s a win-win-win-win,” said Rabin, a Vietnam War veteran and Silver Star recipient whose 12th Senate District represents Harnett, Lee and Johnston counties. “[CCCC President] Dr. Bud Marchant recognized early on that there are several very good young people in our high schools who want to attend our wonderful community college system, and this ROTC program is a good way to reach them. And for Campbell, it extends your network and brings in good people — well motivated folks — who want to serve our country.”
Marchant thanked Rabin for his “persistence and tenacity” Tuesday, saying that when the original idea was formed, ROTC programs across the country were not expanding. In June of this year, the U.S. government approved $716 billion for military spending in 2019, one of the largest defense budgets in modern American history. Marchant also pointed out that its graduates choose to transfer to Campbell more than any other school in North Carolina. The two schools signed an “articulation agreement” in 2008 to make the transfer process more seamless.
“Harnett County Schools has the largest JROTC program in the state, and Lee County isn’t too far behind,” Marchant said. “Many of those high school students would like to continue their training [while continuing their education], but frankly, many of them don’t see a path forward. This agreement shows these students that path. Thanks to Sen. Rabin, this will change the lives of so many students in our area in ways we don’t yet know. They will be eternally grateful for what you have done today.”
Campbell Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Mark Hammond called Tuesday a “proper celebration of a union of many resources that celebrate God and country.” President J. Bradley Creed also called Campbell a “God and country school,” and thanked all who have made the ROTC program a nationally recognized arm of the University.
“We’ve had ROTC at Campbell for almost half a century now,” Creed said, “and what a difference it has made in the lives of our students, many of whom go on to have wonderful careers serving our country. It’s been a joy seeing our cadets become officers and literally travel the world. This agreement is a great path of service to the young men and women who have a calling to join the service.”