Naval Ball and Dining-In
Since 1972, each Chief of Naval Operations has encouraged a Navy-wide birthday celebration to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service. The Navy League hosts this celebration of the Navy’s birthday in the Nation’s Capital, while simultaneously, our battalion celebrates in Urbana-Champaign. Honoring veterans and previous battalion members at a social dinner, this holiday is both reflective and joyous. Similarly, Dining-In is formal military function during UIUC’s second semester; it celebrates the memories of our unit, while bidding farewell to departing officers while welcoming new ones.
The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb is an annual event hosted by the NROTC that aims to bring together ROTC members to honor the first responders who lost their lives during the September 11th attacks. At this event, participants gather at Memorial Stadium to climb 1,980 steps, which reflects the same number of steps first responders took inside the World Trade Centers. For the 20th anniversary of the initial attacks, we open the Stair Climb up to campus students and staff so that they too can participate with us on this reflective and sobering experience. It is important that we do not let such significant events such as this escape from the minds of the future generations of Americans, lest we forget our nation’s history.
We will also be having a fundraiser to go along with the Stair Climb. To donate please use this link. The funds collected will go towards the Travis Manion Foundation which is an organization that takes donated funds to support programs that empower veterans and the families of fallen service members.
Military Appreciation Events
A variety of sports at UIUC hold military appreciation games during the school year, so it is our duty as a battalion to attend and support the US Navy and its veterans when the time comes. After the U.S.S. Illinois battleship was halted after the end of World War II, the ship’s bell, initially cast for the U.S.S. Illinois battleship, was sent to the University of Illinois NROTC while the rest of the ship was scrapped. Midshipmen of NROTC are in charge of ringing the bell when the visiting team kicks to Illinois, and for each point the Illini score. Whether it be a casual gathering at a wrestling meet or a formal occasion in Service Dress Blues, our battalion is properly prepared and engaged during every invitational event.
Every holiday season, our battalion volunteers for a locally-based charity event. Our members are designated shifts so that full participation is possible and the drive is well staffed. Previously, we have hosted a 10k charity run that raised ~$3k for the Children’s Oncology Service, as well an ILLINI veterans 5k. From the start of COVID, our battalion has used leftover recreational funds to start a donation campaign for the University of Chicago Medicine Response fund. The images featured are from our Marine Toys for Tots charity event for the county of Champaign, where new gifts and donations were packaged and sent to underprivileged children in need.
Out-of-State Drill Meets
Once or twice a semester, the WGNB travels out-of-state for drill meets against other universities. Recent meet locations consist of Madison, WI, Columbus, OH, New Orleans, LA, and Fort Collins, CO. Featuring events with Rifle Pistol, Squad and Platoon Drill, Endurance, Knowledge Bowl, Pull-up, Color Guard, and Intramural teams, we compete to prove our worthiness as the World’s Greatest Naval Battalion. Midshipmen are encouraged to compete in multiple events, all contributing to our inevitable victory!