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Navy ROTC returns to Yale

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Yale ROTC students during WWII

At Yale University, this fall semester marks the first time in 40 years that Navy and Air Force ROTC students will once again take up training on the school’s campus. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the ROTC program is scheduled for September 21.

The Boston Globe reports:

Since the Ivy League school agreed last year to bring back ROTC in the wake of the ‘‘don’t ask, don’t tell’’ repeal, military officials have welcomed Yale faculty members on base tours and taken some for a ride on a nuclear-powered attack submarine.

The commanding officer of the [Naval Submarine base, 50 miles from the University], Capt. Marc Denno, said in an interview that he hopes to develop an even tighter relationship–and perhaps inspire Yale-educated officers to pursue careers in the submarine force.

‘‘The synergy is obvious and necessary,’’ said Denno, who noted Yale now has the only Naval ROTC program in Connecticut. ‘‘We’re pretty excited about it.’’

Eleven Yale undergraduates, including one sophomore, are enrolled in the Naval ROTC unit.


While ROTC hasn’t had a presence at Yale since the Vietnam War era, its return renews a long military tradition. The inventor David Bushnell is credited with creating the first submarine ever used in combat while studying at Yale in 1775, and one of the original six Naval ROTC units was established at the university in 1926.

Students enrolled in the ROTC program receive scholarship money in return for agreeing to military service after graduation.

The Yale midshipmen had a weeklong orientation program at U.S. Navy installations in Newport, R.I. The Groton submarine base is expecting to support the students in a number of ways, including hosting them for visits to use training and team-building equipment. […]

Military officials say Yale faculty members have shown enthusiasm for the renewed relationship.

Vincent Wilczynski, a deputy dean at the Yale School of Engineering & Science, is one of two faculty members who accompanied the crew of the submarine USS Missouri on a three-day sea transit this spring. He said he was struck by the complexity of the submarine as an engineering platform and the young age of the sailors responsible for the nuclear plant.

‘‘It was tremendous,’’ Wilczynski said. ‘‘It was a good reminder of the end game of what we’re teaching in the classroom and what we’re teaching in the lab.”

Read more about our ROTC coverage here, and check out Cheryl Miller’s 2011 report Underserved: A Case Study of ROTC in New York City here.