Cadet Activities

Department of Military Science - Spartan Battalion

Michigan State University

Cadet Activities

There are many extracurricular opportunities within the Spartan Battalion for our Cadets to reinforce leadership and individual skills, group participation, and earn points to compete for active duty and branch choice.

Color Guard

Color guard at Michigan State versus Wisconson Basketball GameThe Spartan Battalion's Color Guard is a unique extracurricular group in Michigan State University’s (MSU) Army ROTC program. Its mission is to “execute professionalism and be the face of the Michigan State University Army ROTC program.” It is comprised of highly motivated Cadets who want to contribute more to the Spartan Battalion and become highly trained in drill and ceremony. Since it became a formalized organization several years ago with a centralized command structure, the Color Guard has achieved high prestige within the ranks of the Spartan Battalion and the university. Cadets who participate in the Spartan Battalion Color Guard have the special opportunity to play a central role in many events such as the annual Homecoming Parade, Veterans Day Ceremonies, the annual MSU ROTC Military Ball and multiple home NCAA sporting events for football, men’s and women’s basketball, ice hockey, and others. Cadets train hard every week in order to carry out their missions in an organized, professional manner in any location at any time. The Color Guard’s role is highly crucial in all these events and are complimentary to the MSU Marching Band in honoring America with the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Cadets who choose to join this exciting club commit several hours weekly to rehearsals for upcoming events while maintaining their status as full-time students and Cadets. Participation in 4 events is required to earn the Color Guard ribbon and participation in 7 events is required for the distinguished white Color Guard Chord. Other great incentives include tickets to MSU sporting events, and the opportunity to meet many MSU legends, such as MSU football coach Mark Dantonio, men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo, and MSU and NBA stars Draymond Green and Magic Johnson. The Spartan Battalion Color Guard has also been featured on ESPN’s national broadcasts and have witnessed some of the greatest games in recent MSU athletic history.


The Spartan Battalion's Pathfinders was established as an Orienteering Club at Michigan State University in 1987. Over the years, it has branched out to cover more diverse training. The Pathfinders meet each Wednesday and its charter provides for the development of members' individual land navigation skills and leadership abilities. In addition to land navigation, Spartan Battalion Cadets who become Pathfinders also train in topics such as: infantry tactics, rappelling, first aid, and helicopter operations. The training provides Spartan Pathfinders with numerous opportunities to develop leadership skills and lead fellow Cadets in the execution of training.

The Pathfinders also endeavors to provide an environment for the development of a high level of physical fitness among its members. The Michigan State University Army ROTC Spartan Battalion recognizes the importance of well-developed land navigation skills and strong leadership to the success of the Soldier in combat. The Spartan Pathfinders provide an enthusiastic group of Cadets who not only learn more and develop themselves, but also encourage other members of the Spartan Battalion to do the same. The Spartan Pathfinders have provided a large number of highly ranked Cadets who have served in important leadership positions within the Spartan Battalion, such as battalion commander, company commander, and command sergeant major. These same Cadets have gone on to successful military careers as commissioned officers in the United States Army.

Ranger 1

Ranger 1 develops high physical, disciplinary and tactical skills and prepares many future officers for effective combat arms leadership. The club accepts cadets who meet its stringent standards. Ranger 1 has many traditional annual activities including: a 5-mile unit ruck march, rappelling from the top of Spartan Stadium, arduous term-long recruit training, patrolling and squad tactical exercise requirements each term.

The club is steeped in history. In 1962 a group of energetic ROTC cadets realized a need for more challenging leadership and tactical training in order to better prepare themselves to lead combat units in the growing conflict in Indochina. The Army approved Spartan Counter Guerilla Company for activation in 1963. In the fall of 1965 the Army renamed the organization Commando 1 and a year later redesignated it Ranger 1, the title it carries today.

Ranger 1 continued to “Lead the Way” at MSU ROTC during the 1970’s. On 29 November 1973 Ranger 1LT Michael P. Mulvaney reported completion of the Demonstration Hall rappel platform; the tower benefits hundreds of cadets, firemen, and recreational mountaineers. On 17 January 1974 the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry assigned the black and gold shoulder cord as a Ranger 1 uniform accouterment.

Ranger 1 sends many of its members to U.S. Army Airborne, Air Assault, and Northern Warfare courses. The unit justified its reputation by selecting its best to compete nationwide for an opportunity to take on the U.S. Army’s Ranger course. During the 1970’s and 1980’s Ranger 1 won, on average, one allocation per year and, except for serious injury, that member of Ranger 1 won the coveted Ranger Tab.

Ranger 1 continues its mission of training MSU ROTC cadets for combat arms leadership. A demanding 10-week recruit phase identifies those who have the desire and drive to meet the stringent standards. The club only accepts a few recruits each term into Michigan State University’s premier leadership proving ground.

Bold Warrior Challenge Team

The Bold Warrior Challenge Team is a Spartan Battalion sponsored extra-curricular group. Its main focus points are leadership development, military skill training, and physical excellence. The Spartan Battalion's Bold Warrior Challenge Team is given the opportunity to complete annually in the fall semester 7th ROTC Brigade Bold Warrior Challenge Competition which tests mental fortitude and agility, military skills proficiency, and personal fitness. The Spartan Battalion trains one team of eleven cadets (nine primary, two alternate) to represent Michigan State University in this challenging event.

A typical week for the Bold Warrior Challenge Team involves physical training Monday-Friday mornings, as well as, military skills training on Thursday/Friday afternoons. In addition to the 7th Brigade competition itself, Cadets on the Bold Warrior Challenge Team are given opportunities to go on filed training exercises, practice shooting regularly, and if victorious at the 7th Brigade competion, compete in the international Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at West Point in the spring semester. For the last four years (2013-2016) Michigan State University has placed first in the 7th Brigade Bold Warrior Challenge Competition and was selected to represent 7th Brigade ROTC in the international Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at West Point.

To join the Bold Warrior Challenge Team, you must pass an initial tryout in the first several weeks of the fall semester and be selected by the team captain to continue training.

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