The Department of Military Science was established at South Carolina State University (formerly South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College) during School Year 1947-48. The first graduating class in 1949 consisted of six cadets: five received Regular Army commissions and one received a Reserve commission. Since the establishment of ROTC at South Carolina State University, 2040 students have received commissions in the Armed Forces as of May 2011.
The Army ROTC program was initially branch material, producing only Infantry officers. The program was supplanted in 1954 by the General Military Science Program enabling graduating cadets to select the branch of the Army in which they were most interested and qualified. From 1947 until 1968, enrollment in the ROTC program was mandatory for all able-bodied freshman and sophomore male students.
A cross-enrollment program was initiated in 1968 to permit students from other local institutions, which do not have a ROTC program to receive training at South Carolina State University, without transferring from the institution of their choice. To date, South Carolina State University has a cross-enrollment agreement with Claflin University, Voorhees College, Denmark Technical College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
During School Year 1972-73, the Department of the Army initiated, on a trial basis, a five-year program of enrolling women in ROTC. South Carolina State University was one of the ten institutions selected nationwide to participate in this program. The first females graduated in 1976. Since the enrollment of females, South Carolina State University has commissioned 267 females.
As of this date, fifteen South Carolina State University graduates have achieved the rank of General Officer with twelve commissioned thru the Army ROTC Program: Brigadier General (Retired) George B. Price, ’51; Major General (Retired) James R. Klugh, ’53; Lieutenant General (Retired) Henry Doctor, Jr., ’54 (deceased); Major General Arnold Fields, ’68, (United States Marine Corps); Major General George F. Bowman, ’69, (United States Army National Guard); Brigadier General Julius J. Lawton ’69; Brigadier General Clifford L. Stanley, ’69, (United States Marine Corps); Brigadier General Harold L. Mitchell, ’72 (United States Air Force); Major General Larry Knightner ’72 (United States Army Reserves); Brigadier General Nolen V. Bivens, ’76; Brigadier General Frederick J. Johnson, 76; Major General Abraham J. Turner,’76; and Brigadier General Stephen M. Twitty, ’85, and Rear Admiral John W. Smith, Jr.,’80, (United States Navy). Also, Brigadier General Amos M. Gailliard began his distinguished military career
at South Carolina State University Army ROTC program, ’51, (United States Army National Guard).
The Bulldog Battalion, averages approximately 100 cadets, continues to be recognized as one of the largest producers of minority officers for the Army.