The Central Washington University Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps program was established in January 1981 as an extension center of Eastern Washington University. The Military Science Department moved to Peterson Hall on 27 February 1981. Sergeant First Class Patrick L. Allen was the first cadre member of the Detachment. Major James M. Caesar became the first Professor of Military Science. The Detachment received Host status on 1 October 1987 and became its own independent program.
Bret Sarver, who commissioned on 12 June 1982, was the first Cadet to commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army at Central Washington University.
The Army ROTC program at Central Washington University has commissioned outstanding Scholar-Athlete-Leaders over the years. The program has commissioned a total of 293 Lieutenants to date. Twelve more Cadets will be added to this distinguished list by 30 September 2012.
Since 1988, Central's Army ROTC program has excelled in the Ranger Challege competitions. The Ranger Challenge team earned the Task Force Cascade Ranger Challenge Cup in both the 'Best' and 'Coed' team five out of seven years. The team placed first in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. The team finished 2nd overall in 2000, 2005 and 2006. In 2009 they finished 2nd and 3rd places.
The first place win in the Fall of 2011 advanced them to the International Sandhurst Competition held at West Point Military Academy in May 2012. With 55 total teams in the Sandhurst competition, Central finished 12th place overall and 1st place over the 7 other ROTC teams that competed.
The Army ROTC program at Central is called the "Wildcat Battalion," named after the University's mascot. CWU has consistently produced Distinguished Military Graduates and has been Nationally ranked in recent years. In 2004, the Wildcat Battalion was ranked 16th in the Nation out of 272 schools. In 2005, two Cadets were ranked 2nd and 13th out of 4,369 Army ROTC Cadets Nationwide. In 2006 and 2007, the Wildcats won the prestigious MacArthur Award for Best Medium Battalion and were ranked among the top 5% of the Army Programs Nationwide; and best overall school in the 13th Brigade. In December 2008 the U.S. Army Cadet Command announced CWU's Army ROTC program as the "Most Outstanding" Battalion over 273 units nationwide, for which they received the Order of the Founders and Patriots Award for Excellence. Governor Chris Gregoire, in a special ceremony in Olympia on 17 April 2009, issued a state-wide proclamation designating the day in honor of the CWU Army ROTC "Wildcat Battalion" for its National recognition.
In 2012 the CWU Army ROTC program was again recognized by Governor Christine Gregoire when she issued a second statewide proclamation designating a day in honor of CWU Army ROTC. This time the honor came for the programs National ROTC Champion Ranger Challenge Team.
In 2014 CWU Army ROTC won the 8th Brigade Ranger Challenge Competition again beating the 31 other ROTC programs in 8th Brigade from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii and Guam.
WILDCATS LEAD THE WAY!