A Proud History-A Bright Future
The University of California, Davis ROTC Battalion has been proud to help develop the leaders of tomorrow.
The University of California, Berkeley began teaching ROTC at Davis in January 1923 under the direction of Colonel J.T. Nance. It began with seventy students being instructed by a single officer who came to Davis once a week. In December 1948, Colonel William L. Ritter, Professor of Military Science at Berkeley, and Robert G. Sproul, UC Davis President, proposed establishment of a permanent unit at Davis. The proposal was approved and implemented effective as of 1 August 1949. The unit was designated as Infantry Branch ROTC, commanded by LTC William E. Ball. In 1953, the unit became a General Military Science Unit. It was not until 29 June 1962 that the Regents voted to end compulsory ROTC at the UCs. Since then, ROTC at UC Davis has remained a completely voluntary program.
The unit adopted the Battalion name Forged Gold and the motto “Forging Leaders!” in the 1980s. Now a fully functioning, separate unit, the Forged Gold Battalion teamed up with CSU Chico, CSU Sacramento, and Simpson University, using UC Davis as the main unit home.
As the unit progressed forward it became known for more and more achievements. In 1988, UC Davis was deemed the best-trained school in the nation at the advanced. In 1997, Cadet Command recognized the Forged Gold Battalion as the top medium-sized school in the nation. In less than forty years, the Battalion went from an unsupported and compulsory course to a program of high-level achievement and ambition.
From 2002 on, the Forged Gold Battalion has been honored with individual and group achievements. To recognize the unit’s hard work over the years, the MacArthur Foundation honored the Forged Gold Battalion as the most outstanding Battalion in the nation. The MacArthur Foundation annually recognizes the top ROTC program of 275 host programs across the country. The foundation determines the best program based on its cadets’ performance at summer training and their standing in the National Order of Merit List.
Among the individual efforts, in 2004 a group of ambitious cadets signed up for the annual Bataan Memorial Death March in New Mexico. The five UCD students, along with 4,000 other participants from around the nation honored the history of the Bataan Peninsula during WWII. The UCD students entered in the ROTC heavy division, where each of the cadets finished the 26.2 mile course with a 50lb ruck sack, completing the course in 6 hours and 15 minutes and finishing 2nd overall. That same year, the Forged Gold Battalion entered the Military Co-ed heavy team who captured first place in their division, with a time of 6 hours and 44 minutes.
Currently, the Forged Gold Battalion consists only of UC Davis and CSU Sacramento. There have been many additions to the battalion, both Cadre and Cadets. The two schools work closely together in combined Battalion events such as Leadership Development Exercises, annual formal Military Balls, and a national physically and intellectually demanding team competition called Ranger Challenge. In 2007, a joint UCD/CSUS Ranger Challenge Team placed first in the regional Ranger Challenge Competition. In 2015, the combined team placed second in the regional competition.
The Forged Gold Battalion strives to reach new heights as one of the best ROTC programs in the nation by constantly working to stay in shape militarily, physically, and academically.
The Cadets of the Forged Gold Battalion are ready and willing to keep up and drive on in the face of an uncertain and constantly changing future. By living up to history of the Forged Gold Battalion, the Cadets know that they will be well prepared to lead the nation’s sons and daughters in anything the future brings.