The University of Arizona has a Rich Military History

It's easy to see how the University of Arizona is military-friendly in 2020. Our institution is recognized as the 18th best program for military veterans by Military Times. What many may not realize is that our campus has a deep historic connection to our nation's military that reaches all the way back to 1896 when Army ROTC was first launched. Scroll this page to explore that history!



US Army ROTC is launched at the University to train cavalry troopers on horseback. 


After 13 Wildcats were killed in combat during WWI, Berger fountain was dedicated in their honor by General Pershing.


In 1938, the University's oldest building was declared condemned by the City of Tucson. Navy ROTC stepped in to save the building, purchasing it and repurposing it for NROTC classrooms.

December 7, 1941

"A date which will live in infamy". Pearl Harbor is attacked in the morning over the course of 14 minutes, resulting in catastrophic loss of life. Among the destruction is the USS Arizona, which is sunk in the harbor. 1117 sailors and marines are killed on this ship alone.

1942 to 1944

During WWII, Bear Down Gym was used to house ROTC cadets preparing to commission as officers in support of the war. Additional billets and facilities were built on campus during this time.

1942 - 1945

For the years that the US was involved in WWII, the University of Arizona played host to Navy and Army ROTC training. These young prospective officers learned tactics for artillery and even learned how to fly airplanes here at the University of Arizona.

From the end of the war until 2001, the University of Arizona's connection to the military presented primarily through its ROTC programs. The University of Arizona is proud to host all three ROTC programs (Air Force, Army, and Navy which also contains Marines) as a land-grant institution. These ROTC programs have produced thousands of Wildcat leaders who have commissioned into the United States Armed Forces as officers, and continues to do so today. 

After the attacks on September 11th, 2001, and the subsequent campaigns that were fought in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, the University began to see more and more veterans attending classes. In the 2019-2020 Academic Year, there were over 1800 student veterans enrolled at the University of Arizona. This number has been around the same for over five years and continues to hold each year. We are proud to welcome those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and to thank you for your selfless service to a grateful nation. As the Fall 2020 semester progresses, we will be updating this portion of the website with photos of our student veterans. If you'd like to have your photo featured, please email it to us via the link below.