During the mid 1960s, a group of Army officers assigned to the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, began to meet informally in order to get to know each other better. Many of these officers had known each other in college or during other assignments. They, of course, had one additional thing in common at the time – a desire to know how to "survive" at Fort Leavenworth. The group jokingly dubbed itself the "BLUE GEESE," a term well known at CGSC as the vehicle used to convey a special assignment to a student officer. When the school year ended, the group discovered that many were to be assigned to the Pentagon and other places in the greater Washington area.
Upon reaching Washington, several informal meetings followed. However, the emphasis was modified to deal with survival in the National Capitol Region and to address other issues of interest to the members. During the years which followed, many officers were reassigned in and out of the Washington area so the group continued to grow. The need for a more structured organization was also seen, so a formal meeting was held on October 9, 1974, to get the group formalized. BG Roscoe Cartwright, along with Colonel Robert B. Burke, led an initiative to formally organize the growing network into what became temporarily known as the "No Name Club" until they agreed on an official name. Shortly thereafter, on Dec 1, 1974, the "No Name Club" was assembled to vote on a name when it received news that General Cartwright and his wife had died in a plane crash earlier that day. The leader of the group, General Cartwright, who embodied the spirit of nurturing, commitment and mentorship was gone.
Soon after his tragic death, the "No Name Club," as an honorable tribute to his legacy, voted to name itself The ROCKS, Inc. and established the Roscoe C. Cartwright Scholarship Fund in the namesake's honor. Over the years, the ROCKS, Inc. has expanded its influence, both in and outside the military, and currently boasts over a dozen affiliations and 1200 worldwide members including former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin L. Powell. Speaking about the organization's namesake, one member, Brigadier General Roy Bell (Ret), described General Cartwright as one who would "take you under his wing" and help young officers make important connections and choose the right path as he did when General Bell was a young officer. This description aptly describes the legacy of mentorship left by General Cartwright and is one of the core raisons d'etre of the ROCKS, Inc.
The ROCKS, Inc. Originating and Charter Members
The ROCKS, Inc. is a tax-exempt non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) comprised of ROTC and Military Academy Cadets, active duty, reserve component, commissioned officers and active duty or reserve component warrant officers and Department of Defense GS12 and above civilians. The organization was formed to provide mentorship, professional development and social interaction to strengthen the officer corps. In addition to the R.C. Cartwright Scholarship Fund, the "Leadership Outreach" program provides the opportunity for teams consisting of ROCK members to visit Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide professional career development guidance to ROTC students.