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Cadets on Drill Field

WITH MILITARY PRECISION: Cadets participate in a pass in review and parade on the Drillfield in October 2020. (Photos by Cadet Claire Seibel)

TO PREPARE FOR ITS GROWTH TO 1,400 cadets, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets plans to reactivate two key units from the past.

The most visible change will be the re-establishment of a 4th Battalion and the hiring of a fourth deputy commandant to provide oversight. Mike Company also will be reactivated.

The goal is to keep unit sizes manageable for both the cadet leadership and the corps’ staff leadership, said Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, commandant of cadets.

Cadets on Drill Field

The aforementioned units were deactivated in 1970 during a decline in enrollment that continued for more than a decade. The perseverance and generosity of corps alumni reversed that trend by raising tens of millions toward cadet scholarships and serving as volunteers to help ensure the program’s future.

The goal is to grow cadet enrollment to 1,400 by the mid-2020s.

In the fall 2020 semester, 1,182 cadets, the largest corps since 1968, tackled an ambitious schedule of academics and training.

Among them was Cadet James Ryal, a junior in Army ROTC majoring in economics in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. He said the growth of the corps provides new opportunities for cadets to take on leadership roles.

“It is a great time to be in the corps, but it is challenging because we must provide a consistent, top-notch military leadership development experience to every cadet who walks through our doors,” said Ryal, who is serving as the regimental command sergeant major this semester.

“We must do all this while adjusting our playbook because of COVID, new rules, regulations, and other challenges.”

Shay Barnhart is the communications director for the Corps of Cadets.