In honor of Veterans’ Day, Special Collections would like to highlight two special military programs in TCU’s history.
During WW II, the U.S. War Department looked to colleges and universities around the country to meet the high demand for officer candidates needed by the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. TCU was selected to host both the V-5 Naval Aviation Training Program and V-12 Navy College Training Program.
In 1943, a Naval detachment came to TCU and lived in Jarvis Hall as part of the V-5 elementary pilot training program. The V-5 program continued at TCU until 1944.
In July of 1943, V-12 students began to move into Clark Hall, which was renamed U.S.S. Clark Hall. The V-12 students were required to dress in their Navy uniform at all times and kept a rigorous schedule of classes and training. “V-12 students will begin their day at 6 a.m. (0600); “chow” will be served at 7:15 a.m. (0715), 12 noon (1200) and 6 p.m. (1800). Lights out at 10 p.m. (2200).” (The Skiff, July 9, 1943) Despite their academic and service obligations, V-12 students could freely participate in student activities and joined clubs, played sports, and held student government positions.
The V-12 students chose from two majors: basic training, leading to a commission as a deck officer, or pre-med. The V-12 students took most of their classes with civilian students with a focus on physics, mathematics, chemistry, psychology, American history, American government, and English. Classes in Naval History, Engineering Drawing, and Celestial Navigation were offered to V-12 students only. In October 1943, the Navy also selected Brite College of the Bible to train V-12 men as Chaplains. The first TCU V-12 graduates were commissioned in 1944 after graduating from Midshipman School at Northwestern University.
As the war was winding down, in August of 1945, the Navy decided to end the V-12 program at TCU. Over 28 months, the program trained 754 men and one woman, Yeoman Camille Yater, and most received commissions as deck officers. Some became supply trainees or went into pre-aviation programs and others continued on to medical school. At a farewell dress parade , Lt. Commander Michael Schmidt awarded TCU with a “Mark of Commendation” from the U.S. Navy Department, stating, “the Navy is very appreciative of the fine work TCU has done in its officer training program through the V-12 unit.”
More information about theV-5 and V-12 programs can be found in Special Collections.
The Skiff, October 22, 1943; December 3, 1943; January 28, 1944; March 24, 1944; August 3, 1945; October 12 and 26, 1945
The History of Texas Christian University by Colby Hall, 1947, pp. 299-303.