Tribute unveiled as U.S. Army prepares to mark 246th birthday

A milestone for the new National Museum of the U.S. Army, a stone-etched nod to Norwich University.

The museum, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, will reopen from its coronavirus pandemic shutdown on June 14 to celebrate the Army’s 246th birthday. When it does, Norwich alumni and other visitors will see a tribute to the university, installed along the museum walkway.

The black stone plaque features Norwich’s maroon logo, which features the face of university founder Alden Partridge, a U.S. Army captain. In silver letters, the plaque also notes that Norwich is the nation’s oldest military college and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. “Preparing citizen-soldiers to lead and serve,” the plaque says above the university’s “I Will Try” motto.

“As the museum tells the history of our American Soldiers and honors their accomplishments and sacrifices, we will also reflect on their more recent service to our nation.”U.S. Army Secretary John Whitley

Roger Schultz, president of the Army Historical Foundation and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, worked with Norwich University Executive Vice President David Whaley to create the plaque, which he called a unit tribute to the home of the United States’ original ROTC program.

“You know the story (of Norwich as ROTC birthplace),” Schultz said in an email. “And it is certainly fitting to have Norwich University on display.”

The museum officially opened in November, but was closed because of COVID-19. A  website description says the museum portrays Army history and traditions from soldiers’ perspectives, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting hundreds of artifacts.

“As the museum tells the history of our American Soldiers and honors their accomplishments and sacrifices, we will also reflect on their more recent service to our nation, including their contributions to COVID-19 and disaster-relief efforts, and the protection they provide us all,” U.S. Army Secretary John Whitley said in a statement, adding that June is Army Heritage Month.

Army sparkles on campus

In May, Norwich commissioned 98 Class of 2021 students into the U.S. Army; six U.S. Army ROTC cadets ranked among the top 10 of all cadets within Cadet Command; 23 were named Distinguished Military Graduates. (The U.S. Army Cadet Command, formed in April 1986, oversees more than 400 Senior Army ROTC units and more than 800 Junior ROTC programs.)

army museum
A view of the National Museum of the U.S. Army’s 8,600-square-foot lobby in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Photo by Duane Lempke, National Museum of the U.S. Army.)

Norwich’s Army ROTC detachment also won the 2020 Gen. Douglas MacArthur Award for the Cadet Command’s 1st Brigade.

The 1st Brigade, headquartered at Fort Knox, Kentucky, comprises all Army Senior Military Colleges — Norwich University, the University of North Georgia, The Citadel, Texas A&M University, Virginia Military Institute and Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University — and the four Military Junior Colleges: Marion Military Institute, Georgia Military College, New Mexico Military Institute and Valley Forge Military Academy & College. 

Norwich’s Commencement featured a keynote from U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

Click here for details on museum exhibits and admission.



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