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ROTC program at UW-La Crosse shutting down in 2015

LA CROSSE, WI (WTAQ) - UW-La Crosse will shut down its ROTC military education program at the end of the next school year in 2015. 

The Army pays for the program and its eight staff members. 

A letter from an Army official blames quote, "a reduction of resources" for ending the 40-year-old La Crosse program and a dozen other Reserve Officer Training Corps programs throughout the country. 

Local officials said the federal budget mess is not to blame. 

UW-La Crosse chancellor Joe Gow said the military program brought, "pride and honor to our campus, and I think we won't be the same without it." 

Juniors and seniors will be allowed to complete their education at La Crosse, but freshman and sophomores will have to enroll elsewhere for their ROTC training.  Wisconsin's remaining programs will be at Stevens Point and Eau Claire. 

Batallion Commander James Hill says faculty and enlisted staff members will work with students to review their options. 

Hill says the closure at La Crosse "heart-wrenching but necessary."  Gow says he hopes area lawmakers ask the military to reconsider.