Detachment History

Detachment History

The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 provided states with federal funding and land to establish institutions of higher learning, with a requirement that the resultant university provide instruction in agriculture, mechanical arts, and military tactics. In 1867 the University of Illinois was established because of this act. The University officially opened in 1868, and the University’s Military Department was established the same year.

The University of Illinois has since produced thousands of officers to serve in the ranks of our nation’s military. Additionally, and of special note, one of the most prominent dates in Detachment 190’s history occurred on 11 February 1911 when President Taft presided as the reviewing officer at a Military Department ceremony.

During the early 1920’s, the Army-Air Corps selected the University of Illinois as one of the initial locations to establish a separate Air-focused ROTC detachment, due in large part to its strong College of Engineering. In 1949, following the establishment of the US Air Force as a separate military service, Air Force ROTC Detachment 190 was established.

Since then, General John J. Pershing has called the University of Illinois “The West Point of the West,” and to this day Detachment 190, and all ROTC units on campus, continue our tradition of excellence, producing some of the finest officers in the nation.

Det 190’s mission is to “Provide Detachment 190 cadets with a world-class pre-commissioning experience, combining superb mentoring, education, and training for the Air Force profession of arms.”


Currently, Detachment 190 has cadets from all across the country. Our cadets are diverse, studying engineering, business, nursing, foreign languages, and liberal arts; while our graduates move on to become pilots, weather officers, developmental engineers, intelligence analysts, acquisitions specialists, and many other thrilling careers. Specializing in leadership and mentorship, Detachment 190 boasts some of the brightest minds on campus, and will for years to come.