V-12 Navy College Training Program

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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 men were enrolled in the V-12 program in 131 colleges and universities in the United States. V-12 was similar to the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) which ran from 1942 to 1944 with a goal of providing more than 200,000 Army officers.

Richard Barrett Lowe, future Governor of Guam and American Samoa, was one of the early commanding officers.[1]

History[edit]

The purpose of the V-12 program was to grant bachelor's degrees to future officers drawn from both the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. Once they completed their baccalaureate program, the next step toward obtaining a Navy commission was to attend a U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School where the future officer was required to complete the V-7 program, a short course of four months, including one month spent in indoctrination school. Graduates from the midshipmen schools were commissioned as ensigns in the U.S. Naval Reserve and the majority entered into active duty with the U.S. fleet.[2]

Graduates in the V-12 Program from the Marine Corps reported directly to boot camp and were later enrolled in a three-month Officer Candidate Course. Once they completed the training, participants received their commission as Marine Corps second lieutenants.[3]

Program inception[edit]

When the United States entered the Second World War in the early 1940s, American colleges and universities suffered huge enrollment declines because men who would have normally gone to college were either drafted or volunteered for service. As a result, some colleges worried they would have to close their doors. After the V-12 Program was established on July 1, 1943, public and private colleges enrolled more than 100,000 men in the V-12 program which reversed the trend of declining college enrollment.[3] The V-12 Program, offered by the federal government under the direction of the U.S. Navy, paid tuition to participating colleges and universities for college courses that were taught to qualified candidates. The list included naval enlisted personnel who were recommended by their commanding officers, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps ROTC members and high school seniors who passed a qualifying exam.[3]

Captain Arthur S. Adams from the Training Division of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, was the officer-in-charge of the Navy College Training Program, V-12.[3]

Individuals who were accepted in the program were paid $50 per month and were required to wear Navy uniforms. The candidates also were subjected to rigorous physical training.[3]

Depending on students' past college curriculum, the candidates were enrolled in three school terms, or semesters, which lasted four months each. After the student successfully completed the V-12 Program, cadets in the Navy Reserve spent four months at a U.S. Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School while those from the Marine Corps reported to boot camp and after successful completion, they enrolled in a three-month Officer Candidate Course at Quantico, Virginia. Once they completed the training, participants received their commission as either Navy ensign or Marine Corps second lieutenants.[3]

Coordination with colleges and universities[edit]

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," but instead, the goal was for the participants to complete a degree in their field of study; while supplementing their course work with Navy classes, for which the colleges awarded regular academic credits.[3]

The Navy's plan was to contract not only classroom, mess hall and dormitory space for a "stipulated amount of instruction," but also plans were made to make use of each campuses 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."[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

Colleges and universities[edit]

During the advent of World War II, the U.S. Navy turned to liberal arts colleges to provide a basic education for their recruits.[4]

V-12 Line units[edit]

V-12 Medical units[edit]

V-12 Dental units[edit]

V-12 Theological units[edit]

Notable V-12 veterans[edit]

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.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]