Of course Robert Taylor knew who William DePuy was.
Florida Tech’s distinguished dean of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts and its leading military historian, Taylor was well aware of Gen. DePuy’s writings and illustrious career, which included oversight of the ROTC program as the first commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command in 1973.
What Taylor did not know – but now will never forget – is that Gen. DePuy, an ROTC graduate himself, is also the namesake for one of the Army’s top awards associated with its ROTC program. Established in 2005, the national General William E. DePuy Award is presented annually to an individual who exerted a significant influence on the success of the Army ROTC program throughout the previous calendar year.
For 2022, that individual is Robert Taylor.
Presented the award in a surprise announcement at the end of his orientation chat with incoming ROTC cadets in mid-August, the normally loquacious Taylor was momentarily stunned into silence. “For once, I am speechless,” he said as the gathered cadets and ROTC leadership applauded.
“I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool stuff in my career, but one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my career is being with you and your colleagues,” he said, pausing to collect himself. “Thank you. This means a lot. Thank you all very much.”
From his wisdom as the teacher of the university’s military history course – a requirement for all ROTC cadets – to his invaluable assistance as guide and subject-matter expert on annual ROTC battlefield trips, Taylor has steadily helped elevate the 53-year-old program since his arrival on campus 25 years ago.
“There is no one in all of Cadet Command that is more deserving of this special recognition. Dr. Taylor goes above and beyond to support the future Army officers of the ROTC department,” said LTC James Crook, professor of military science. Crook and the Florida Tech Army ROTC staff nominated Taylor for the award.
“Each year over spring break, Dr. Taylor leads the ROTC Senior Trip, which has traveled to Normandy, France, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. where Cadets learn important concepts about military history by walking the grounds,” Crook said.