Indiana Daily Student

Isom completes U.S. Army ROTC program

After more than 50 years, Larry Isom receives certificate of completion for ROTC requirements. See related story. Photos by Katelyn Rowe. Production by Leah Johnson. Music "Little Dipper" by Podington Bear.

Larry Isom is a finisher. As director of facilities for Residential Programs and Services, he’s the one people call to get things done. He sees projects through and advises the students he works with to complete their educations.

So when asked, “Did you ever not finish anything?” there was only one thing Isom said came to mind.

Isom had never gotten the chance to finish his time in ROTC.

In 1958, Isom left IU after three and a half years to join the United States Army with his twin brother. He was just a semester short of graduating from the ROTC four-year program.

“This has always been on his list to complete,” IU Police Department Capt. Greg Butler said. “He’s the type of individual that leaves 
nothing undone.”

On Monday, the 57th anniversary of his enlistment in the Army, Isom was presented a certificate of completion for having met all requirements of the IU Army ROTC program.

In a small gathering at IU’s ROTC offices, Butler read a letter from IU President Michael 

“It is clear that the time you spent here as an undergraduate student and Army ROTC cadet, as well as the personal and professional growth you acquired over the years, has carried you far in life,” the letter read.

Isom’s nephew, Col. Tom Isom, presented his uncle with an honorary set of lieutenant bars.

Twenty-six years ago on a cold February morning, Tom graduated from the Armor Officer Basic Course in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Larry was there. Then Tom served in Iraq, and Larry supported his nephew.

“He’s been there ever since for my career,” Tom said. “He mailed so much stuff in Desert Storm, I had to tell him to stop. You only need so much deodorant. It’s just been a remarkable connection.”

When Larry first joined the ROTC program at IU in the 1950s, it was a mandatory program with required summer training and instruction with the purpose of producing Army officers.

Larry said he watched Butler train police cadets during the morning for years. When he decided it was time to follow through with his ROTC training, he turned to Butler to weigh his options.

Butler then contacted the ROTC, which determined Larry’s training as an ROTC cadet and service as an Army medic qualified him to become an Army officer.

Larry’s certificate reads, “His dedicated duty is in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflects credit upon himself, Indiana University and the United States Army.”

IUPD Chief Laury Flint was in attendance as Larry 
received his certificate.

She said his institutional knowledge has been vital to the University.

“He did the right thing,” Flint said. “The reward was a long time coming.”

Larry said the recognition closed a chapter in his life.

“I’m so very pleased that we’re able to do this,” Larry said. “It means a lot to me. I’m very patriotic.”

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