The Bear Battalion was established at Morgan State College in 1948 by the president of the college, Dr. Martin Jenkins. It is one of the only four Senior Army ROTC host programs in the state of Maryland. Originally affiliated with the Infantry Branch, it is now affiliated with the Ordnance Branch. The first two years of ROTC was mandatory for all male students. During the 1972-1973 school year, the Army for the first time authorized enrollment of women in ROTC.
Morgan State University has always had a proud tradition of producing top quality officers for the Total Army. More than 1,300 officers have graduated from the Bear Battalion. In 1979, Morgan State University produced its first General Officer, Brigadier General George M. Brooks. On 13 November 2001, General Larry R. Ellis received his fourth star and is now the fourth African American to reach the rank of General in the Army. He is the first from a Historically Black College or University. The Bear Battalion has produced 10 general officers.
The Morgan State University ROTC Program had its largest enrollment in a decade in the fall of 1998, with a freshmen enrollment of over a hundred cadets. Additionally, in the fall of 2000, Morgan State ROTC partnership program at Coppin State University enrolled over 100 cadets, the largest since the partnership started.
Morgan State University implemented a Room and Board Bridge Grant Program to reward the ROTC scholarship cadet and to assist in the recruitment and retention of cadets in the ROTC program.
In October 1985, the Morgan State ROTC Alumni Association was established. The association continues to be a key supporter of the ROTC program and sponsors cadets annually at the ROTC Military Ball.
The Morgan Enhancement Team was established to advise the U.S. Army Cadet Command in a cooperative effort to improve recruitment and retention of students in the ROTC program. The Morgan Team consists of seven alumni. The mission of the team is to assist with recruitment, retention, training and overall effectiveness of the ROTC program.
The U.S. Army Cadet Command has recognized the Bear Battalion in the top third of ROTC programs in the nation in 2001 and 2002. In November 2002 the Bear Battalion was awarded the prestigious General Douglas MACARTHUR Leadership Award for outstanding performance. The support of the University, Alumni Association and Enhancement Team was instrumental in the Morgan State University ROTC program achieving a superior rating.