Continued growth propels the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets to reactivate Mike Company
To prepare for its growth to 1,400 cadets, the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will formally reactivate Mike Company during Saturday’s change of command parade on the Drillfield.
Nine rising seniors and 17 rising juniors volunteered this semester to form the cadet leadership team for Mike Company, which was inactivated in 1970 during a decline in enrollment that continued for more than a decade and is being reactivated as the corps’ numbers continue to climb.
Rising sophomores and incoming first-year cadets will fill out the company through the normal company assignment process.
Cadet Fritz Silva, a junior in Air Force ROTC majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering will be the Mike Company commander this fall.
“I'm excited to see what my team and I will do for the future of Mike Company as well as what we can bring back from the old Mike Company,” said Silva, who will commission into the Air Force in fall 2022. His goal is to become a pilot.
"The biggest challenge will unquestionably be setting up the climate of the company, especially given the fact that all its members hail from different companies across the regiment,” Silva said. “My [cadet leadership] triad will get input from what the climate of the previous Mike Company was like thanks to its generous alumni, but ultimately it will be what our company as a whole decides upon.”
Affectionally called “Big Mike” by its alumni, Mike Company was central to the cadet experience, said Lewis “Bud” Jeffries, a 1964 graduate of the corps.
“M Company, for those of us that were in it 60 years ago, represented the very best traditions of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets. The cadet company of that era was the center of cadet life. The company was the way you identified yourself as a member of the corps, around which esprit was built and lifelong friendships were formed.”
Those bonds were celebrated during the Class of 1964’s 50th reunion, attended by nearly all of Mike Company’s alumni, he said.
“After being inactivated in 1970, M Company still lived as long as any one of us lived,” Jeffries said. “Now that Company M is being reactivated, may that same spirit and tradition be continued by a new generation.”
The last company reactivated was Lima Company in 2012, also spurred by a steady growth in enrollment.
This fall, the corps stood at 1,182 cadets, the largest regiment since 1968. The goal is to reach 1,400 in the coming years, supported by construction of a third cadet residence hall and the Corps Leadership and Military Science building to bring the corps and university ROTC staff under one roof, among other needs.
Mike Company will be part of 3rd Battalion.
During the 2021-22 academic year, the corps anticipates the reactivation of 4th Battalion, moving the Highty-Tighties from 3rd Battalion. The additional battalion will be needed to keep unit sizes manageable for both the cadet leadership, as well as the corps’ staff, said Maj. Gen. Randal Fullhart, the commandant of cadets.