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Air Force ROTC returns to Yale

Air Force ROTC will return to the Yale University campus starting in the fall of 2012. On Monday, the secretary of the Air Force and the president of Yale held a ceremony renewing ties between the school and military. Both the secretary and Yale’s president noted the crucial role of ROTC in ensuring that a broad range of perspectives are represented within the officer corps.

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley commented:

“It will be a reminder that while the United States military’s all-volunteer force remains one of our nation’s strengths, this strength depends upon broad participation by its citizens—participation that includes fellow Yale colleagues and must include men and women from every part of America.”

And President Levin noted the challenges posed by manpower and budget cuts:

“I commend Secretary Donley, General Rice and General Peck for seeing the big picture, and for seeing the importance, even in difficult financial times, of making it easier for future officers to get the benefit of a Yale education.”

The upcoming return of  on-campus Navy and Air Force ROTC to Yale proves that the obstacles to reinvigorating ROTC’s civic mission are not insuperable–so long as military and university leaders are willing to work together to make it a priority. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus  and Columbia president Lee Bollinger should heed Yale’s example, and work to strengthen the Navy ROTC presence on Columbia’s campus and in New York City.

(As always, the Advocates for ROTC has all the links you need.)


Gen. Marcia Anderson and the importance of ROTC

On Wednesday, Army Brig. Gen. Marcia Anderson was the focus of CNN’s “Red Chair Interview.” Gen. Anderson has been nominated for promotion to Maj. Gen.–a job that has as of yet never before been filled by an African-American woman. If Anderson’s promotion is successful, she will become the first.

Gen. Anderson, who first joined the Army Reserves in the late 1970s, got her first introduction to the Army during ROTC in college at Creighton University in Nebraska. As she explains it,

My decision to join the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in college was not part of my life plan. I simply needed some science credits, and military science met the “science” requirement for liberal arts majors. It also looked a lot like gym class, which I was quite confident I could do without too much trouble. I am very glad that I was wrong about the whole thing!

ROTC is about presenting you with challenges and testing you — physically, mentally and emotionally. I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes, rappelled, solved problems and met some amazing people the 32 years I have served my country. I would not trade one minute of it!

It’s fortunate for Anderson that Creighton offered ROTC. If she had decided to go to college elsewhere–in New York City, for example–chances are she never would have been introduced to ROTC, she never would have joined the Army, and she would never become the Army’s first female, African-American Major General.

We can only hope that students in New York City and elsewhere will one be afforded the same opportunities that served Marcia Anderson so well.


Sen. Chuck Schumer promotes ROTC in NYC

According to an article in today’s New York Post , Sen. Chuck Schumer

“yesterday urged the Navy to provide on-campus military training to help relaunch its ROTC program at Columbia University. Columbia last month agreed to allow the Navy back on campus for the first time since 1969, when it was banned amid Vietnam War protests.”

As AEI’s Cheryl Miller reported in last month’s Case Study of ROTC in New York City, New York City’s

“Navy ROTC program is located beneath Throgs Neck Bridge on the outskirts of the Bronx. It is almost completely inaccessible via public transportation—a significant challenge for cross-enrolled Navy ROTC students [like those at Columbia], who are required to attend classes and drill at Maritime three days a week.”