History of the Seneca Battalion
As one of over 300 institutions offering the Army ROTC program, St. Bonaventure University conducts a voluntary General Military Science program. The program was started in 1936 when Father Thomas Plassmann, University President, submitted an application to the War Department. The first two years of the program were mandatory for all students. In September 1936, the first class of cadets began training on campus and in 1939, seven second lieutenants were commissioned.
Twenty officers were commissioned in 1940 and twenty-four in 1941. During World War II, ROTC training was suspended at St. Bonaventure in favor of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). St. Bonaventure had the same status as an Army camp, and all the rules and regulations in force at Army bases applied on campus. Robinson and Falconio residence halls were built as military barracks and are still used as dormitories today. Members of the classes of 1941-42 joined the enlisted reserve as corporals and upon graduation went to the Officer's Artillery Basic School at Fort Sill , Oklahoma . The ASTP continued in effect until the end of the war in 1945, at which time the pre-war ROTC program was again instituted at Saint Bonaventure with all ROTC graduates being commissioned into the Field Artillery Branch.
During the school year 1969-1970, a General Military Science (modified) program was instituted. In 1969, the University decreased the mandatory enrollment in ROTC from two years to one year , and in the 1970, the University' Board of Trustees voted to drop the prerequisite of ROTC altogether and make it entirely an elective. The class of 1970 was the last class to be graduated and commissioning of cadets into all branches of the Army.
In addition to its main purpose of providing the future officer leadership of the United States Army, the ROTC program at St. Bonaventure makes significant contributions to the community. The Gold Bar Club, a military social club with membership open to all students , is involved with community affairs and sponsors the Annual Military Ball. The most visible aspect of the Saint Bonaventure ROTC program is the University Color Guard, which presents the colors in a stirring ceremony of precision drill movements before every home basketball game and other school events. The toughest and most respected aspect of our training program is Ranger Challenge. The Ranger Club provides adventure related activities to interested cadets such as snow-shoeing, rappelling, self-defense and survival training.