Updates and Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The first female battalion commander of the University of Tennessee’s ROTC unit was sworn in Thursday.

Cadet Lt. Col. Gwyn Ayer, a senior from Springfield, Va., will lead 250 cadets in the Army ROTC’s Rocky Top Battalion. Her selection was based on her academic accomplishments, performance at summer camp, and leadership skills, said Lt. Col. David A. Jones, UT professor of military science and tactics.

Ayer, who just completed an airborne training course at Ft. Benning, Ga., said she became interested in ROTC at the end of her sophomore year.

“I’m an Army brat — my father is still in the military — but I didn’t know much about the program until I got a letter that described going to Ft. Knox, Ky., for boot camp lasting six weeks.”

She accepted the offer and learned skills like rock climbing, rappelling and working together as a team. This past summer she was at Ft. Bragg, N.C., for six weeks of advance camp, and then spent three weeks at Ft. Benning, learning to “jump.”

She said she feels no pressure being the first female commander and has great support from the cadets and officers in the military science department.

After graduation from UT, she will enter active service in the Army. She is majoring in French and hopes to be assigned to the Army’s military intelligence school.