Excerpted from the 1959 Year Book

From 1919 to 1959 Campion ROTC boasts colorful record of accomplishments

Back in 1919 when Campion was both a college and high school and the campus showed a yawning gap between Campion and Marquette Halls, Campion became one of the first schools in the nation to offer military training. Realizing its value from watching the 231 student inductees of the short-lived SATC (Student Army Training Corps) among the college students the fall of 1918, far-seeing Fr. Albert Fox S.J. president, petitioned the Army to establish a Reserve Officers Training Corps. The Corps was organized Nov. 1, 1912, into a senior section for college men and a junior section for high school students, and held its first official drill Tuesday, Jan. 28, 1919. Those hardy pioneers drilled for an hour Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons plus two 45-minute military instruction periods weekly. Thus was born ROTC at Campion.

The history of ROTC at Campion is one of progress and accomplishment. The first cadets drilled in olive drab uniforms with leather leggings and campaign hats, shouldering British Enfield rifles. In 1924 cadet officers sported sabers and Sam Brown belts. Six years later the Springfield M1903 rifle was introduced. In 1934 new uniforms of slacks and blouses with blue lapels became GI. Then in 1949 the Ml Garand rifle and in 1950 the Eisenhower jacket brought elegance and modernity to the battalion. Federal inspection beginning in May, 1925, and the fabulous Military Ball in 1950 have become the traditional annual highlights of the military department.

The accomplishments of the past forty years, both of the corps and of individuals, have been spectacular. Beginning with 1929, the Battalion has won honor ratings and the right to wear the red star every year except one. The drill team took 2nd and 1st in 1936 and 1938 in the state ROA drill competition. The rifle team won 1st in 1931 and 2nd place in 1936 in the 6th Corps (now the 5th Army) matches and 12th in 1936, 8th in 1938 and 1940, and a sparkling 3rd in 1953 in the William B. Hearst Matches in competition with all ROTC high schools in the country. The ROTC marching band won 1st in the 1936 district competition, played over a coast-to-coast broadcast from Villa Louis in 1942, and took 1st in the Wisconsin School of Music in 1952.

The record of Campion ROTC men in the service of their country is a glorious one. They merited 156 special American decorations: 1 Distinguished Service Cross, 11 Silver Stars, 3 Legions of Merit, 17 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 3 Soldiers Medals, 38 Bronze Stars, 38 Air Medals, 5 Army Commendation Ribbons, 30 Purple Hearts; and 10 special foreign decorations. Brig. Gen. John P. Henebry, class of 1936, the youngest ever to become a general, merited the Distinguished Service Cross (second highest military award given), as well as the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal. The late Col. Gregory J. Kessinich 14, invented the bazooka, a portable rocket launcher which is used for knocking out tanks, and for 30 years was chief of the patent section of Army Ordnance in Washington. Campion especially cherishes the memory of 65 of her Sons who died in service for their country, and in particular, the first chaplain to die in World War II, Lt. Aloysius Schmitt, '28, at Pearl Harbor.