The history of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS) began in 1965 with the founding of the institution, even though the program was hosted through other schools. Colorado College (CC) was the host until student unrest in the mid '70s caused the program to be moved to UCCS for a short period. Later, the University of Southern Colorado (USC) took over as host, keeping one senior sergeant at Colorado Springs.
The program gained momentum as enrollment increased from UCCS, CC, as well as Pikes Peak Community College (PPCC) and Colorado Technical College (CTC). ROTC students from UCCS were generally older than those from other schools and many were military veterans.
Because of the increased possibilities for Army officers in the Colorado Springs area, UCCS applied for and was granted Host Institution status in 1981.UCCS was assigned a Professor of Military Science (PMS), three assistant PMS's (APMS), four Non-Commissioned Officers, and one civilian in 1982. The University staff and faculty welcomed the ROTC program and its staff as partners in the Academic community.
In August 1983, the UCCS ROTC Company was reorganized as cadet battalion of two cadet companies and renamed the "Mountain Ranger Battalion."
The Mountain Ranger Battalion continued partnerships with CC, PPCC, and CTC, and also incorporated students from Regis University and the newly accredited Beth-El College of Nursing.
The Mountain Rangers have received high praise, being named the best trained ROTC Battalion in the nation in 1987, 99, and 89. They were named the winners of the MacArthur Award in 1990 and 1991, designating them the "Best ROTC Battalion, Small College" in the nation. The 1990 MacArthur Award was presented by the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Carl Vuono, to the PMS, Lieutenant Colonel Pieffer. In 1991, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell presented the award. In 1998, Major General Wallace, commander of Army Cadet Command, described the UCCS program as a "remarkable success" that" reflects the support given to the Army ROTC unit and students by the University" in a letter written to the UCCS Chancellor.