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. 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 Cadre and staff in 1982 and was welcomed as a partner in the Academic community. In August of 1983, the UCCS ROTC Company was reorganized as a cadet battalion of two cadet companies and renamed the Mountain Ranger Battalion (MRB). The MRB includes partnerships with Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Christian University, and Colorado Technical University, as well as incorporating students from five other accredited schools.
The Mountain Rangers have received high accolades, being named the best trained ROTC Battalion in the nation in 1987, 1989, and 1999. In 1998, the 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. In 2002, the MRB was recognized as the top ROTC program in the state of Colorado.
In addition, the Mountain Rangers were also named the winners of the MacArthur Award in 1990, 1991, and 2013. This award recognizes the top 8 programs nationally out of 274. The MRB plays a vital role in UCCS’ earned gold level recognition for its support of the military community for 2017 and 2018 by the annual Military Friendly list by Victory Media. UCCS was one of 16 large public institutions with gold or top 10 status.
From UCCS’ 550-acre campus nestled into the Rocky Mountain Front Range, the Mountain Ranger Battalion cadets continue to excel and set the standards for ROTC programs across the nation. During each of the last two years, over 40 percent of our cadets have graduated with academic honors. Over the last two years at Advanced Camp, more than 66 percent of our rising seniors were rated as Outstanding or Excellent. In 2018, 100 percent of our seniors received their first choice of component (Active, Reserve, or National Guard), and 100 percent received their first or second branch choice (career field). The Mountain Rangers also participate yearly in the national Bataan Memorial Death March, the regional Ranger Challenge competition, and support various local community events.
The MRB shoulder insignia was adopted in November, 2014. The insignia reflects colors associated with UCCS, while the snow-capped mountains are a nod to Colorado Springs location. The swords represent the ROTC program and honor of being a Mountain Ranger.