Central Carolina Community College students will have an opportunity to take military science courses as ROTC cadets after an agreement the school signed today with Campbell University, home of one of the nation’s top ROTC programs.

CCCC will become the fifth school to join the Campbell Battalion, joining Campbell, UNC Pembroke, Fayetteville State and Methodist. Campbell commissions more officers in the U.S. Army than any other civilian school program in the nation and this year was one of eight programs nationally to receive a MacArthur Award as one of the best in the nation (an honor Campbell has earned two years in a row).

Officials from Campbell, CCCC and Fort Bragg — along with uniformed cadets — were on hand for Tuesday’s ceremony, held in the Taylor Hall’s Trustee Room. Also present was State Sen. Ronald Rabin, credited by both institutions as a driving force to make the agreement a reality.

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“It’s not just a win-win situation [for Campbell and CCCC], but it’s a win-win-win-win,” said Rabin, a Vietnam War veteran and Silver Star recipient whose 12th Senate District represents Harnett, Lee and Johnston counties. “[CCCC President] Dr. Bud Marchant recognized early on that there are several very good young people in our high schools who want to attend our wonderful community college system, and this ROTC program is a good way to reach them. And for Campbell, it extends your network and brings in good people — well motivated folks — who want to serve our country.”

Marchant said CCC graduates choose to transfer to Campbell more than any other school in North Carolina. The two schools signed an “articulation agreement” in 2008 to make the transfer process more seamless.

“Harnett County Schools has the largest JROTC program in the state, and Lee County isn’t too far behind,” Marchant said. “Many of those high school students would like to continue their training [while continuing their education], but frankly, many of them don’t see a path forward. This agreement shows these students that path. Thanks to Sen. Rabin, this will change the lives of so many students in our area in ways we don’t yet know. They will be eternally grateful for what you have done today.”