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Department of Military Science Records

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Collection Summary


UA 6.7


College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Military Science Records


Department of Military Science, College of Arts and Sciences, South Dakota State University




2.84 linear feet (2 records center boxes, 2 document cases) realia, photographs




South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.

Access note

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Preferred Citation

Name of item . College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Military Science Records. UA 6.7. South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


The Department of Military Science, also called Army ROTC, trains and develops Cadets to be leaders – leaders in the Army and leaders in today’s world. The department commissions officers into the active Army, Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve. The collection is composed of records of the Military Science Department, ROTC records and scrapbooks for the Pershing’s Rifles and the Pershingettes. Material is composed primarily of newsletters, programs, clippings, and photographs.

Historical Note

Military instruction has always been a part of life at South Dakota State University. The Morrill Act of 1862, which established the land grant colleges, required the colleges to provide instruction in "military tactics." At South Dakota State University, formal military classes began in September 1884 under the leadership of Professor Robert F. Kerr. Lectures, recitations and regular drills formed this instruction. Until 1918, the college fulfilled the military requirements with mandatory drill work and coursework led by civilian instructors. With the passage of the National Defense Act in 1916, the Reserve Officers Training Corps, known at ROTC, came into being and replaced the less formal military training at all land grant colleges, including South Dakota State University. The headquarters of the ROTC were at the local land grant colleges, and the training curriculum was set by the War Department. The colleges were given personnel and equipment to carry out the curriculum.

General Omar Bradley was a former Professor of Military Science here at SDSU. Although he is more well known as being the commander of the largest field force in military history during World War II, and the first ever Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it was he who dubbed SDSU Army ROTC "The West Point of the Plains." This title is still used frequently and proudly by all of its members past and present.

ROTC required all underclassmen to participate in basic military training for their first two years. Selected upperclassmen were allowed to participate in advanced work on a voluntary basis. At first, training was provided in a number of different service branches. By 1942, when the DePuy Military Hall was constructed, training at the university was limited to Army and Air Force ROTC. At South Dakota State University, the Army and Air Force ROTC continued to provide compulsory training for all freshmen and sophomore men until 1969, when the Board of Regents made ROTC voluntary. Although the numbers decreased, students continued to participate in the program, and do so still.

The Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) provides leadership, management, ethics, and personal confidence training to prepare cadets for responsibilities as commissioned officers in the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, and active duty. Classroom instruction, hands-on training, and field training encompass the values and skill sets necessary for success. Opportunities abound for specialized training.


This collection is arranged into three series:

Series 1. Departmental records

Series 2. ROTC records

Series 3. Military Organization scrapbooks

Contents Note

Series 1. Departmental records.

The series is composed of material from the Military Science Department at South Dakota State University that does not necessarily deal directly with ROTC (Army or Air Force) on the campus. Included are programs, clippings, a course catalog, a scrapbook, books and artifacts. Some items of note include a file of clippings dealing with the death of Omar Bradley and registers of graduates and former cadets of the United States Military Academy from 1802-1978. Other interesting items consist of dance cards for military balls held in 1912 and 1913. The artifacts consist of two hats used by cadets around 1888 and 1927. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order.

Series 2. ROTC records.

The series is composed of material produced by the Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs on the campus of South Dakota State University including Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC. Folders contain programs, newsletters, pamphlets, posters, announcements, invitations, photographs and an artifact. Topics covered include Governor's Day, awards, military balls, recruitment, and commissioning exercises. The artifact in this series is a 48-star United States flag that was used by the ROTC color guard prior to 1958. The photographs consist mainly of Army ROTC photographs of field training at various locations (Palisades State Park near Garretson, South Dakota; Oak Lake near White, South Dakota), Camp Adventure Training, awards banquets, Dining-In, Commissioning ceremonies, ROTC Days, Governor's Day, and Hobo Day parade float entries. Folders are arranged in alphabetical order.

Series 3. Military Organization scrapbooks.

Composed of scrapbooks created by the Pershing Rifles, Company K, 2nd Regiment and their sister organization, the Pershingettes, Company K-2 between 1964 and 1978. These scrapbooks consist of photographs, clippings, and notations. Scrapbooks are arranged in chronological order by organization.

Key Words

Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (U.S.)

Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (U.S.)

Bradley, Omar N. (Omar Nelson), 1893-1981

Corbett, Keith, Lt. Col, ROTC

South Dakota State University. Department of Military Science.

Container List

View container list on Open Prairie

Department of Military Science Records Container List. UA 6.7

1. Departmental records11Appomattox Day, 1865-1923, sponsored by the Cadet Officers' Mess (program)1923
1. Departmental records12Bradley, Omar (clippings about his death)1981
1. Departmental records13Clippings (general)1991
1. Departmental records14Corps of Cadets: Military balls (dance cards, invitation)1902, 1912-1913
1. Departmental records21Dakota Agricultural College cadet hat1888 circa
1. Departmental records15Disabled American Veterans of World War banquet (program)1921
1. Departmental records16Excursion to SDSC - Military Maneuvers by the cadets (clipping)1910
1. Departmental records17Military Science and Tactics, Course of Study and Regulations (catalogue)1902
1. Departmental records18Orders - Correspondence - Captain J.C. McArthur1904
1. Departmental records19Promotion and Pinning Ceremony for Brig. Gen. Keith W. Corbett (invitation, program)2006
1. Departmental records110Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the United States Military Academy, 1802-1976 (book)1976
1. Departmental records111Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the United States Military Academy, 1802-1978 (book)1978
1. Departmental records112Scrapbook1894-1980
1. Departmental records113Second Annual Banquet of States (program)1928
1. Departmental records22South Dakota State College military hat1927 circa
2. ROTC records31Air Force ROTC: Cadet Guide (booklet)undated
2. ROTC records32Air Force ROTC: Change of Command (programs)1989-1990
2. ROTC records33Air Force ROTC: Dining Out (program)1988
2. ROTC records34Air Force ROTC: Governor's Day (programs, memorandum, news release)2000, 2004-2007
2. ROTC records36Air Force ROTC: Recruitment (posters, pamphlets, postcards)1994, 1997, 1999, 2001, undated
2. ROTC records35Air Force ROTC: The Navigator (newsletter)1997-2002
2. ROTC records37Air Force ROTC: Wings (newsletter)1997-1998
2. ROTC records38Air Force ROTC: Wingtips (newsletter)1966-1972
2. ROTC records39Army and Air Force ROTC: Hall of Fame Ceremony and Military Recognition (programs)1987, 1990
2. ROTC records310Army and Air Force ROTC: Military ball (programs)1947, 1999, 2003-2005, 2007
2. ROTC records311Army and Air Force ROTC: Recruitment (pamphlets)undated
2. ROTC records312Army ROTC: Army ROTC at South Dakota State University (booklet)1974 circa
2. ROTC records313Army ROTC: Army ROTC Times (newsletter)1978
2. ROTC records314Army ROTC: Awards Banquet (programs)1981, 1991
2. ROTC records315Army ROTC: Cadet Cadence (newsletter)1987-1996, 2007
2. ROTC records316Army ROTC: Commissioning and Pinning Ceremony (invitation)2010
2. ROTC records317Army ROTC: Recruitment (pamphlets)1988-1989, undated
2. ROTC records318Army ROTC: SDSU ROTC (newsletter)2002
2. ROTC records319Army ROTC: Summer Internship at Camp Challenge (announcement)2001
2. ROTC records320Army ROTC: West Point of the Plains Battalion (newsletter)1999
2. ROTC records321ROTC: 48-Star United States flag1958 circa
2. ROTC records323ROTC: All-Class Reunion (invitation)2008 September 5
2. ROTC records322ROTC: Commissioning Exercises (invitation, program)1962, 1967
2. ROTC records324ROTC: Jackrabbit ROTC Finish Line event for American Cancer Society, 2nd Annual (poster)2005
2. ROTC records325ROTC: Military Field Day (programs)19271928, 1930
2. ROTC records326ROTC: Military Tournament (programs)1922-1924
2. ROTC records327ROTC: Photographs1902, 1967-1979, 1987, 1990-2002
3. Military organization scrapbooks41Pershing Rifles, Company K, 2nd Regiment1964-1972
3. Military organization scrapbooks42Pershing Rifles, Company K, 2nd Regiment1973
3. Military organization scrapbooks43Pershing Rifles, Company K, 2nd Regiment1974-1975
3. Military organization scrapbooks44Pershing Rifles, Company K, 2nd Regiment1975-1978
3. Military organization scrapbooks45Pershingettes, Company K-21968-1972
3. Military organization scrapbooks46Pershingettes, Company K-21972-1978

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers without restrictions. The materials in the Archives do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Researchers conducting extensive research are asked to make an advance appointment to access archival material. Please call or e-mail prior to visiting the collection and indicate as much detail as possible about a particular topic and intended use.

South Dakota State University supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted as a result of their fragile condition or by contractual agreements with donors.

Copyright note

Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.

Arranged and Described by

Crystal J. Gamradt, 1999 March 2, additions made 2013 August 27.