Appalachian State University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, has spent this year celebrating its 50th anniversary.

ASU's ROTC has 140 cadets currently enrolled in the program, and the university's Mountaineer Battalion first launched in 1969 at the height of the Vietnam War.

In the five decades since, the battalion has commissioned 950 officers, including Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley ’84, director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, and Maj. Gen. John Evans ’88, commanding general of U.S. Army Cadet Command. Both were on hand, along with other officers from the Mountaineer Battalion, at the Heroes Day event at ASU's football game against Texas State in November.

ROTC is a leadership course in which college curriculum is paired with field training so that students learn to lead others, motivate groups and conduct missions as an officer in the Army.

Upon graduation from Army ROTC, cadets earn the bar of a second lieutenant.

ROTC cadets take an oath to commit themselves to graduating from Appalachian and serving as an Army officer on active duty in the Army Reserve or with the National Guard.