V-12 Navy College Training Program
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V-12 Navy College Training Program
Robert F. Kennedy (second from left) completing his V-12 studies at Bates College in Lewiston. Pictured in background: a snow replica of a Naval boat.

The V-12 Navy College Training Program was designed to supplement the force of commissioned officers in the United States Navy during World War II. Between July 1, 1943, and June 30, 1946, more than 125,000 participants were enrolled in 131 colleges and universities in the United States. Numerous participants attended classes and lectures at the respective colleges and earned completion degrees for their studies. Some even returned from their naval obligations to earn a degree from the colleges where they were previously stationed.

The V-12 program's goal was to produce officers, not unlike the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), which sought to turn out more than 200,000 technically trained personnel in such fields as engineering, foreign languages, and medicine. Running from 1942 to 1944, the ASTP recruits were expected but not required to become officers at the end of their training.

History

The purpose of the V-12 program was to generate a large number of officers for both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to meet the demands of World War II, in excess of the number that was turned out annually by the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and standing U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School. Once enrollees completed their V-12-subsidized bachelor's degree programs, their next step toward obtaining a commission depended on service branch:[1]

Navy

  • Navy officer candidates were required to complete the V-7 United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School program. It was a short course of eight months. The first month was spent at Indoctrination School, a "boot camp" for officer candidates that had Marine Corps drill instructors. Pre-Midshipmen's School was a preparatory four-month course teaching military skills like seamanship, navigation, ordnance, and how to behave like an officer. Midshipmen's School itself taught academic skills and was three months long. Graduates were commissioned as ensigns in the U.S. Naval Reserve and the majority entered into active duty with the U.S. fleet.[2]

Marines

Inception

When the United States entered the Second World War, American colleges and universities suffered huge enrollment declines. Men of prime draft age who would normally have gone into college (or would have remained enrolled until their course of study was completed) were either drafted, volunteered for service, or dropped out and took jobs in agriculture or war-related industries. As a result, some colleges worried they would have to close their doors for the duration of the conflict.

On October 14, 1942, the American Council on Education issued a report on how best to use colleges and universities for the war effort. The plan recommended that a "college training corps" be established on college and university campuses, that members of the corps be in uniform and receive active-duty pay, and that graduates be trained in technical specialties that were of use to the Army and the Navy. President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed with this report, and asked the Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy how best they could use higher education in their mobilization plans. The V-12 Navy college training program and the Army Specialized Training Program were jointly announced on December 12, 1942.[3]

The V-12 program paid tuition to participating colleges and universities for college courses that were taught to qualified candidates. Those eligible included enlisted personnel who were recommended by their commanding officers, Navy and Marine Corps ROTC members, and later, high school seniors who passed a qualifying exam.[1] The V-12 program found more favor with college administrators than did the ASTP. Unlike the ASTP, V-12 students were allowed to attend classes with civilian students and participate in athletics. The majority of the basic curriculum consisted of classes already taught by civilian instructors. [4] Depending on the V-12 enrollees' past college curriculum, they were enrolled in three school terms, or semesters, which lasted four months each.

Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs, USN, the Chief of Naval Personnel, announced plans for the joint venture between the Navy and the colleges and universities during a national conference which was held at Columbia University on May 14 and 15, 1943. Administrators from 131 colleges and universities under contract with the Navy attended the conference along with Naval officers from the Bureau, who were designated as the administrators of the V-12 program.[1]

Captain Arthur S. Adams, from the Training Division of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, was the officer-in-charge of the V-12 program.[1]Richard Barrett Lowe, future Governor of Guam and American Samoa, was one of its early commanding officers.[5]

Scope

The primary purpose of the program was to "give prospective Naval officers the benefits of a college education in those areas most needed by the Navy." The Navy did not want to interrupt the "normal pattern of college life," so the goal was for the participants to eventually complete a degree in their field of study, while supplementing their course work with Navy classes, for which the colleges awarded regular academic credits.[1] To implement the program, the Navy contracted classroom, mess hall, and dormitory space for a "stipulated amount of instruction," and made use of each campus' instructors and administration, a much needed infrastructure that was already in place. The students were expected to "have the benefits of faculty counseling, of extracurricular activities -- in short, the best undergraduate education the colleges can offer."[1]

The V-12 program was economically and functionally beneficial to undergraduate colleges and universities in maintaining enrollments during a general mobilization of manpower for the war, and also met and exceeded critical needs of the military. The colleges and universities were "expected to keep academic standards high" and were ultimately placed in charge of the implementation, which was accomplished in six months. Captain Adams stated that the Navy had no intent of "taking over the colleges," but instead, the Navy wanted to take "full advantage" of each institution's academic resources and to make use of the experience and knowledge of the college administrators. This included all details of the program such as the length of the college day, scheduling of exercises, meals, recreation, textbooks, and class time.[1]

Participating institutions

Unlike the ASTP, the Navy predominantly chose small, private colleges for V-12 detachments. Of the 131 institutions selected for line units, approximately 100 could be considered "small," and eighty-eight were private institutions. Eleven were associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Land grant and state flagship universities accounted for only eighteen of the 131 detachments.[6] After the V-12 Program got underway on July 1, 1943, public and private college enrollment increased by 100,000 participants, helping reverse the sharp wartime downward trend.[1]

Midshipman Schools (V-7 Midshipman Program)

Line units

Medical units


Dental units

Theological units

Notable graduates

Alfred J. Eggers served as NASA's Assistant Administrator for Policy from January 1968 through March 1971. After that he accepted a position as Assistant Director for Research Applications at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Eggers came to the NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in 1944 from the Navy's V-12 college program.

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Cardozier, V. R. Colleges and Universities in World War II (1993) online
  • Westerlund, John S. "Anchors Aweigh: The U.S. Navy's WWII Port of Call at Flagstaff," Journal of Arizona History (2002) 43#1 pp 69-86. Arizona State Teachers College (now Northern Arizona University)

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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