University of Southern Indiana

Marching into history

The USI ROTC take a staff ride on the George Rogers Clark trail

ROTC students on the marchOn the 239th year anniversary of the victory of Fort Sackville and defeat of the British, February 24, the University of Southern Indiana Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) toured the George Rogers Clark Trail as a part of their staff ride. The cadets examined military weapons from the time period, watched demonstrations and even participated in a march from one site to another. This staff ride gave the cadets a better perspective of what challenges were faced, what the battle scene might have been like 239 years ago and how things have evolved.

Cadets analyzed key decisions made by leaders as well as what actions were successful and what influenced these choices.  These lessons are not only applicable to cadets’ own leadership styles, but also gives them a better appreciation and understanding of the environment a military leader works in. “It is imperative to learn from the mistakes and successes of our past leaders,” said USI CDT Jason Eagleson.

Visiting Fort Sackville, the cadets discovered how Gorge Rogers Clark led a small force of frontiersmen through the Illinois country to capture the British-held fort. Historians believe Clark secured the United States’ possession of the territory north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River.

Eagleson, a senior graduating in May, is the Wabash Battalion S3 (operations officer) and played a key role in planning this staff ride. He worked with the Executive Officer and Commander to fine tune the details of this event, ensuring its success. All of the planning tasks were divided up among the senior cadets and the Battalion staff.

ROTC groupHistory is repeatedly the most impactful teacher and staff rides give cadets an opportunity to learn from history, first hand. “I was most excited about the battle analysis discussion between the senior cadets,” said Eagleson. Each cadet was assigned a specific aspect of the battle to research from both the American and British perspective.

Staff rides are just one of the many opportunities ROTC cadets are exposed to at USI.

“At its core, ROTC is a college elective class with a lab,” said CPT Adam Balbach. “However, the experiences and development it provides cadets are unparalleled.”

Being challenged and pushed outside of their comfort zones, cadets learn how to communicate, problem solve and become leaders of character.

“ROTC is an incredible experience and is open to everyone,” said Eagleson. He encourages anyone who is even the slightest bit curious about the program to enroll to see what ROTC and serving our country is all about. More information available at

By Maria Scheller, Outreach and Engagement Content Marketing Assistant

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