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ROTC returns to Harvard

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

On Monday, ROTC at Harvard University resumed its exercises on the Ivy’s campus–for the first time in 41 years. The Wall Street Journal reports:

After decades of chilly relations between the elite school and the military, dating back to the Vietnam War and persisting because of past military policies on gay soldiers, Harvard has welcomed back ROTC—the rigorous college program that trains students to be officers in the armed forces. […]

Amid the unrest stemming from the Vietnam War and subsequently from policies over gay soldiers, four of the eight Ivy League schools—Harvard, Yale, Brown and Columbia—parted ways with campus ROTC.

Three Ivies—Harvard, Yale and Columbia—moved to bring ROTC back after the 2010 repeal of the Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell policy for gays in the military. Those promises are coming to fruition this fall. Yale University is holding a “ribbon-cutting” on Sept. 21 to welcome back ROTC. Columbia University is bringing the organization back after 42 years. Later this month, Columbia will open a headquarters for the ROTC that it has built in the student center.

And from the Harvard Gazette:

Harvard opened an ROTC office in Hilles Hall for a Navy unit last September. The University opened a second office on campus in March after renewing ties with the Army ROTC. But until [Monday], no formal training had taken place on campus.

“It’s definitely cool to be a part of the experience of ROTC coming back to Harvard,” said Charlotte “Charley” Falletta ’16, a freshman from suburban Buffalo, N.Y., who was three days into ROTC. She credited the ROTC sophomores at Harvard with clearing the way, saying, “They were the pioneers.”

Attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point had been a possibility, “but it’s a really nice option to do ROTC here and get the Harvard experience,” said Falletta, 18. “I’m grateful — very grateful.”

Welcome back, Harvard ROTC!