A Tradition of Service
MTSU students, faculty, staff, and alumni have served our country with great distinction
all over the globe. MTSU alumni have risen to the general officer ranks, have been
awarded honors as high as the Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Cross, or served
in historic units such as the famed Black Sheep Squadron of WWII, the Marine Raider
Battalions, the 101st Airborne's Screaming Eagles, or the 1st Air Cavalry. One MTSU
WWII pilot even named his P-38 Lightning aircraft, the "Blue Raider" (Ironic isn't
it that the aircraft type's nickname was "Lightning," the name of our university mascot).
This tradition of service to the campus, community, and country began shortly after
the university opened in 1911.
Approximately 230 students from Middle Tennessee State Normal School, or "Normalites," served in uniform during the Great War. During World War I, a Student Army Training Corps and a Machine Gun Regiment formed from the university's student body. During the last century, countless numbers of MTSU students have trained as aviators in our renowned aerospace program and have flown combat missions all over the globe, while others have served aboard ship or on the ground in the infantry.
Many other students also served in civilian roles with the Red Cross or with the Oak Ridge Laboratories. Even today, this Blue Raider Spirit of Service continues to make a vital contribution to U.S. national security.