A detachment of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) was established in 1947 on what was then the Santa Barbara College of the University of California. The College and ROTC, located on the Riviera above the City of Santa Barbara, moved to its present location in 1954 into what was previously a Marine Corps Air Station. The College reached "General Campus" status in 1958 and was renamed the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). The University grew in size during the 1960s from about 2,400 to over 12,000 students.
The first three graduates of the ROTC Program at UCSB were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in 1949. As of today, over 1,300 men and women have been commissioned from the Surfrider Battalion into the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve or U.S. Army National Guard.
Participation in ROTC became voluntary in 1962 which led to a temporary decline in the number of students participating in the program. By 1975, however, recovery was well under way and the number of officers commissioned has since risen steadily. 1973 also saw the opening of ROTC to women. Women cadets at UCSB were among the first to hold the position of Cadet Battalion Commander and to be recipients of the prestigious George C. Marshall Award.
From 1947 to present, the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps at the University of California at Santa Barbara has provided the nation with highly motivated lieutenants trained to lead and command. The legacy of the proud Surfrider Battalion continues to prosper at UCSB, Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College and California State University at Channel Islands.