Ram Battalion, alumni, and friends:

What a semester! I would be dishonest if I didn’t express some fatigue – running at the pace our tradition of excellence demands has worn this soldier out! Nothing some time on skis won’t fix!


We started the semester with a couple of amazing milestones. First, this fall saw the 140th year of military training at Colorado State University. For those of you not familiar with that long tradition, CSU’s second president – Charles Ingersoll – started a drill team in 1883 with fellow Civil War veterans to fulfill the military training requirement of the Morrill Act that founded land-grant institutions. In an appropriate celebration of that tradition, we welcomed 15 Rams cadets back from Cadet Summer Training with, again, truly impressive results. Our average platoon ranking (out of 45) was 14 (16 for 2022) and our Army Combat Fitness Test score average was 535 (up from 522 in 2022). We finished in almost every measured category in the top quartile of the nation. These cadets accepted and then met the challenge to represent our brand well! We also welcomed 47 new freshman students to the battalion in August, bringing us back to pre-pandemic enrollment numbers for that critical cohort.


Traditions around campus didn’t lose any steam as we headed into September. We again executed a great training event at Ben Delatour Scout Ranch in Red Feather Lakes with more than 100 cadets for the fall FTX. Comatose fired far more than it did in 2022, due to increased scoring at Canvas, but we also were able to use CSU’s OLDEST game-day tradition to open the Homecoming 5K race for almost 3,000 participants at the Oval …  at 0800 on a Saturday! We executed the 33rd running of the Bronze Boot Ball Run, again running farther than those Brown and Gold-clad cadets. Finally, we hosted nearly 200 of YOU at the third annual Alumni Rendezvous on Veterans Day (more on that below). Just before finals week, we were able to celebrate the seniors’ branch results – all desiring active duty received branch slots with nine of 12 receiving their top choices!

Commissioned Lieutenants

Of course, we didn’t stop until we commissioned the newest group of Ram Battalion lieutenants over the last two weeks, and they will represent us well in the field! 2LT Kat Efaw will serve in the USAR as an adjutant general officer. 2LTs Adam Parol and Adrian Marquez will first serve as detailed infantry officers before serving in the Signal Corps. 2LT Quinn Schneider will head to Fort Sill as an artilleryman and 2LT Adam Vogt will serve a detail in armor before serving also in the Signal Corps. I am truly proud of them – you can be too!

ROTC Rendezvous

Finally, the third annual ROTC Rendezvous was an amazing success! For those who were able to attend, the connection time was truly special – thank you. For those who were not able to make it, YOU MUST COME and drag your classmates along with you. While there were many special moments, my personal highlights:

-Induction of the second class into the Stalwart Wall of Fame. The Army inductee this year was Col. (Retired) Pete Bleich, our 20-plus year scholarship and enrollment officer. Over Col. Bleich’s career, our Battalion has made 407 lieutenants! His daughter, Maj. Emily Burkhard, ’12, and I are among them. Col. Bleich will retire in January, with a total of 46 years of service to our nation between active duty, U.S. Army Reserve, and Department of the Army civilian service.

-The Veteran Tailgate. Nearly 600 attended with great chow and “Comatose,” the Helles ale, brewed by ’97 grad Tim Seitz’s team at Anheuser-Busch.

-The hard work of the cadets, cadre, alums, and University partners being recognized by the Cadet Command commanding general during halftime on the field as the top-performing, Army ROTC program, of 274 programs nationally. With trepidation, I put this accomplishment here, but the award was earned by the hands of many – for them I am truly grateful. Read more about this.

-Four major financial gifts were made to advance our brand. Those gifts will help to ensure our tradition of excellence continues for many years, including a complete refurbishment of the cadet lounge. Thank you for the support!

How You Can Participate

Of course, we need to keep the energy around this space. MG Antonio Munera commented multiple times over the weekend that he has NEVER seen an event of this caliber focused on ROTC alums – including at the senior military colleges! So, we need your help:

-First, please consider serving as a “cohort champion” for next year’s event. Personal invitations from classmates will drive attendance. If you’d be willing to help, please let us know.

-Second, COME TO ROTC RENDEZVOUS 2024 (did I already say that?)!

-Third, please help us identify the next Army inductee into the Stalwart Wall of Fame. You can submit nominations.

Your tradition, your legacy is alive and well. The cadets, our community, and our University know the quality of our graduates and the value we bring to communities around the world.

Thank you for the continued support and for your advocacy of your ROTC Battalion, our Army, and CSU.

As always, I am EXTREMELY Proud to be, RAM TOUGH!

Matthew L. Tillman
Lieutenant Colonel, Medical Service Corps
46th Professor of Military Science
Colorado State University

Learn more about the Ram Battalion

Facebook: Colorado State Army ROTC
Learn more at our ROTC website and Annual ROTC Rendezvous page.
Support our students and programs through our giving page.

Previous Ram Battalion updates:
Spring 2023