In November 2013, the ROTC program at ETSU was facing a possible shutdown after the 2014 school year.

Congressman Phil Roe, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker were able to get the program on a two-year probationary period so it could improve the commissioning rates of the program.

The target for the commissioning rate is about 15 new commissions per year. In 2015, it was able to commission a total of 21 second lieutenants and is on track to commission 20 by the end of this school year.

“If you are a student that wants to serve, that wants to develop as a leader and can benefit from scholarships, this is the place to do it,” Lt. Col. Glen Howie, a 22-year active duty service member, said.

The program encourages freshman and sophomore students to try out the program for a semester, and if they don’t like it, they do not have to stay in the program, and the classes count toward elective credit.

“You learn a lot about leadership that you can apply, whether you serve in the military, or you can apply it to your civilian job a lot of the skills that we teach you here,” Howie said.

The program is currently focusing on recruiting students in STEM programs and building up the program that exists currently.

It conducts training drills during the week to help the students focus on critical thinking during tense situations. The program also serves as the color guard for many of ETSU’s sporting events, sends recruits to leadership camps and partakes in many other community outreach programs.

The recruits are primarily made up of students that have never served, but there are some prior service members and reservists who are part of the program.

Looking toward the future, the target of the program is around 20 new commissions per year to create a buffer for the program.