Forged Gold Battalion History

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, University of California Davis President, proposed establishment of a permanent Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) unit at Davis, California. The proposal was approved and implemented effective as of August 01, 1949.

The unit was originally designated as an 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 University of California schools system. 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 California State University Chico, California State University 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 ROTC Program was deemed the best-trained school in the nation. 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.

Historical Photo of UC Davis Cadet
UC Davis Cadets are part of a program rich in history and tradition. Cadets of the past, present, and future continue to train diligently to become part of the elite force of Americans choosing to serve and lead the sons and daughters of America. Although this photo was taken in 1976, UC Davis Cadets still train with the same amount of heart, dedication, and commitment to excel.

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.

Currently, the Forged Gold Battalion consists only of University of California Davis and California State University Sacramento.  The two schools work closely together to resource, plan, and train during combined Battalion training events such as leadership development exercises, annual and traditional formal Military Balls, and a national physically and intellectually demanding annual team competition called Ranger Challenge.

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.

Forged Gold Alumni: "Forged Gold, Forging Leaders"