John Gallagher Inducted into University of Northern Iowa ROTC

Posted on in VGM News

October 1 marked another memorable Homecoming for alumni, students and fans of the University of Northern Iowa Panthers. One alumni had a particularly special day.

VGM’s John Gallagher was honored as the first inductee into the University of Northern Iowa’s Inaugural ROTC Hall of Fame. A special induction ceremony was held for Panther Battalion alumni and their family.     

“It was an incredible honor to be inducted into the inaugural ROTC Hall of Fame this UNI Homecoming weekend,” said Gallagher. “It was made even more special to have my bride of 33 years, Beth Gallagher, son Padraig and numerous friends in attendance.”

UNI’s ROTC program was started in 1980 as a satellite of the University of Iowa ROTC Battalion. Gallagher was an eager 19-year-old sophomore majoring in political science. “When I started, the UNI student senate voted to boycott the UNI ROTC. The Vietnam War was still on the minds of many students, and there were still protests taking place.”

One day, Gallagher stopped at a booth manned by two army personnel from the University of Iowa’s ROTC program. After much thought about his goals and life path, John thought this would be a direction for him.

While attending UNI, Gallagher received the Distinguished Military Student (DMS) award, and at graduation he received the Distinguished Military Graduate (DMG) award. These two awards are typically designated by the professors of military science on the basis of high moral character, military aptitude and leadership abilities. He became the first commissioned RA (regular army) officer at UNI.

John continued his Army career, earning the rank of captain. He served his country during the Cold War in the 3rd Infantry Division 32nd ADCOM in Germany and 10th Mountain Division in upstate New York.

Gallagher was also inducted into the ROTC Hall for Fame in Fort Knox, Kentucky, this past summer as part of the Cadet Command’s 100th anniversary celebration. John was inducted in the inaugural National Army ROTC Hall of Fame with 328 inductees and dignitaries such as four-star Gens. Carl Stiner, Dennis Via, Gordon Sullivan, George Casey and Carter Ham and a Colin Powell representative and three-star Lt. Gens. John Murray, John Mulholland and Hugh Smith.

To view an entire list of ROTC inductees, click here.