Blue Ridge Battalion News

Follow the latest news and exploits of cadets, faculty, and staff in Army ROTC at VMI.


VMI cadets in Marine and Army ROTC raise their hands as they take their service oaths.

VMI Commissions New Officers - Over 170 Take Oath

It was an overcast day, but spirits were bright and hearts were full when more than 170 Virginia Military Institute cadets commissioned into the armed services in Cameron Hall, May 15 in the annual Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) joint commissioning ceremony.

Kenneth Dinkel ’25 and Alex Bodner ’26, first place winners of the two-person team match are flanked by second place winners, Paul Doty ’26 and Colin Russell ’26, and third place winners, Carter Hugate ’24 and Garret Kelenske ’24. —Photo courtesy of Kenneth Dinkel ’25

Combat Shooting Club Dominates at Competition

The combat shooting club team at Virginia Military Institute, coached by Paul Lahah, outperformed the competition at the 2024 ROTC College Clash Marksmanship Competition, April 19-21 at Fort Barfoot, Virginia.

Dakota Birdsong ’24, a cadet at Virginia Military Institute, poses with his bagpipe and VMI Pipe Band uniform, which includes a tartan.

Birdsong Excels with Bagpipes

Dakota Birdsong ’24, a modern languages and cultures major, has taken his skills with bagpipes from VMI Spirit Night, to Lexington events, and even to Troy, Ohio, where he is the piper for the American Legion. This March, he will look to add to his collection of medals for his musical skills..

VMI graduates toss their gloves in a tradition that concludes the commencement ceremony and their time in the Corps of Cadets at the military college.

Joyous Moments at December Commissioning and Graduation

The shortest day of the year was a great day of celebration, joy, and pride at Virginia Military Institute, as families and friends gathered in Memorial Hall surrounded by holiday greenery, to witness 35 cadets cross the stage to receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremony Dec. 21.

VMI cadets receive award plaques at an Army ROTC pistol competition.

Taking Aim: Cadets Bring Home Honors From ROTC Pistol Championship

Members of VMI's Army ROTC Ranger Challenge and Combat Shooting Team recently attended the 2023 College Clash Shoot Out competition hosted by the Virginia National Guard’s Marksmanship Training Unit, with four cadets nabbing top marks.

Students commissioning into the six military branches at VMI, a military college in Virginia.

VMI Commissions New Officers: History Made as They Enter Six Military Branches

Approximately 170 Virginia Military Institute cadets, commissioned into the armed services in Cameron Hall Monday, May 15 in the annual Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Joint Commissioning Ceremony. The historic day marked the first time VMI cadets were sworn in to all six branches.

The VMI team receives their Sandhurst Medallion for placing fifth overall at the annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at West Point.

VMI Places Fifth at Sandhurst

Team members of Ranger Challenge, the “varsity sport” of the program at Virginia Military Institute, placed fifth, winning a Sandhurst Medallion for the top five overall teams out of 48 teams in the annual Sandhurst Military Skills Competition at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.

Skiers, including Erik Gottman ’25, assist avalanche victims on mountain in snow. Helicopter in the background.

VMI Cadet Assists in Avalanche Rescue

When Erik Gottmann ’25, a cadet at Virginia Military Institute boarded a flight to Austria for a ski trip with his family over winter furlough, he had no way of knowing he and his brothers would be an essential part of a Christmas miracle.

VMI cadets throw their gloves in celebration of their graduation from the oldest state-sponsored military college in the country.

VMI Holds December Commissioning and Graduation

The day was sunny and brisk on Dec. 21 as 22 cadets crossed the stage in Memorial Hall to receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremony. The evening before, the Joint Commissioning Ceremony was held in which four graduating cadets were commissioned to the Army and one to the Navy.

Cadet Carter Hugate '24 holds VMI flag at Army Airborne School

Cadet Successfully Completes Army Airborne School

Carter Hugate ’24, a civil engineering major from Chesterfield, Virginia, is the second cadet to qualify for and successfully complete the Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, Georgia.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders