UAB Blazer Battalion History
The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) began in the Fall of 1980 as part of a TRADOC project known as "Expand the Base". UAB was one of the forty-one universities from around the country selected to become an extension center. The thrust of the program was to increase the Army's output of junior officers. An extension center relationship was established with the University of Alabama.
As an extension center, no formal contract was initiated between the U.S. Army and UAB. Rather a "Memorandum of Agreement" was drafted and approved by the president of UAB and the Professor of Military Science (PMS) of the University of Alabama. This agreement directed the operation of an extension center predicated on academic credit for ROTC, university support facilities and equal opportunity to compete for ROTC scholarships with VA students.
The program grew from 12 cadets in September 1980 to 35 in September 1983. Officer production increased from four commissionees in FY '81 to 17 in FY '83. The program continued to show such significant potential that in October 1983 UAB applied for and received designation as a host institution.
Once designated as a host institution, the cadre strength increased from three officers and one NCO to a total authorized strength of four officers and four NCOs. This increase in cadre personnel allowed the department to expand its cadet enrollment by enrolling and recruiting from other local universities. Starting in the Fall of 1984, cadre began teaching MS I thru MS IV at the University of Montevallo. The detachment also established cross enrollment agreements with Miles College, Samford University, Birmingham Southern College, and Jefferson State Community College.
In the fall of 1983 a Ranger Platoon was established with an initial participation of three cadets. In the fall of 1985 the Cadet Corps was organized and recognized by the school's Student Government Association (SGA) as an official student organization.