Hanover College Triangle on
World War II Officer Training Program
April 17, 1942
Students at Hanover College did not write editorials or opinion articles about the war in the 1940s. Mentions in the Triangle of the war appeared if a boat ride or other activity was cancelled due to the war effort or, in the case of this article, when a program was installed in the curriculum to prepare men for Navy officer status. The Triangle devoted an entire page to applications, advertisements, and articles about the Navy V-1 Officer Training program, which suggests that the story was important to students.
During World War II, Americans made many efforts to support the war, including
financial support and soldier and officer recruitment. An example of this
would be the Navy Officer Training programs that were installed in college
curriculums to prepare men for the Navy while they received an education.
"With the nation's engineering schools heavily engaged in military research,
the United States Navy looked to liberal arts colleges to provide their recruits
with basic education" (Williams College). This program was like a regular
R.O.T.C. program, except it required college algebra and physics since it
was specifically for officer training. This program was put into effect because
the Naval Academy knew that the war needed more officers than they were able
to produce, and so these Officer Training Corps units were set up at colleges
throughout the country. This way, those men who wanted to receive an education
could do so, and they could receive officer training at the same time. This
would also solve the problem of colleges having decreasing enrollment due
to students and professors enlisting in the war. These recruitment and training
programs were introduced in colleges across the country in the late 1930s
but did not arrive at Hanover's campus until 1942. -Tara Holstine,
Sources: "The V-1 Program," The History of Science at Williams,
Williams Science Center, http://www.williams.edu/resources/sciencecenter/center/HistSci00/chapter3_3.html#V1
(accessed Sept. 2007); Ernest J. King, "Official Reports by Fleet Admiral
Ernest J. King, U.S.N.," <http://ftp.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/USNatWar/USN-IKing-1.html>
(accessed 19 Sept. 2007).
N.B. The text below is transcribed verbatim, including the occasional typographical error.
Added emphasis should now be given in fraternity rushing program to the fact
that Hanover College has been accepted as an accredited school for the training
of officer personnel under the Navy's new V-1 program of classification.
In the past organized men have complained about the difficulty of securing
men for school here, because of lack of military preparation of any sort. This
program makes Hanover as much of a officer's training school as any other institution
with an R.O.T.C. unit or cavalry unit. An advantage that the Navy program has
as against other types of reserve training is also apparent.
Only a small percentage of men (approximately the top one-fourth) who complete
the first two years of education in an R.O.T.C. unit are allowed to go into
advanced courses which qualify them as officers. The Navy V-1 system allows
any man who can pass the examination upon completion of the first portion of
the work to continue. There is not fixed mathematical ratio which keeps many
good man out, for all that are capable are eligible upon the basis of merit
These facts should surely be stressed in an attempt to bring Freshmen to school
here in face of lucrative offers of industry. Too, all men in school that are
now eligible upon the age basis should make immediate application for classification
as assurance of the attainment of a degree.
On last Friday, April 16, Professor Grant T. Wickwire attended a conference
of Navy officials and college representatives held for the purpose of clarifying
the new program of V-1 classification being inaugurated this week through-out
the nation. Two other Indiana schools, Butler University and Evansville College
were also present, as were college deans and Instructors from throughout the
east and south, including such school as Vanderbilt, Miami, and
All of these institutions, some 60-70 throughout the east, south, and middle
west, have been approved as schools capable and prepared to administer naval
Under the new plan all men who have attained the age of 17 years, and who have
not yet reached the age of 20 are eligible for training in the new officer personnel
recruiting plan to be placed in effect now that V-7 is to expire upon the first
day of May. Men who pass the physical examination, which is the normal test
given to all officers, midshipmen, and enlisted men, will start training from
the beginning of their Freshman year.
Upon completion of approximately 1 ½ years of college work, namely until
near the end of their Sophomore year for men enlisting as Freshmen this year,
an examination will be required. The first examination for men who are yet within
the age limit and now finished with one or two years of schooling will be given
on March first of 1943. This examination, as stated by Navy officials, will
not be difficult. It is frankly designed to weed out those who are slackers,
dodgers and the incapable before the navy expends any more money and effort
on their training. "Anyone," said Professor Wickwire, "who works
reasonable hard should pass easily, for it will be no more difficult than our
regular class tests to which any college student is accustomed. Anyway we are
used to the slackers failing, and certainly this time there is little room or
sympathy with such an attitude."
This examination is competitive designed to select the best men for training
as Naval officers. This does not mean that a certain percentage of men in college
will be weeded out automatically. The exam will be graded on a nation-wide basis.
So in our college it is quite possible for every V-1 man to qualify for a commission.
If your examination grade is not high enough to qualify for the final two years
of education necessary for a bachelor's degree you will be permitted to complete
that second or Sophomore year, and then will be assigned to active duty as Apprentice
Seaman. If you do pass the examination you have to alternatives. The first is
that you may volunteer for V-5, which is Naval Aviation, and train to be an
Officer Pilot. If, on the other hand, you wish to continue your college education
you may; for the Navy allows you to finish your Junior and Senior year in the
V-7 classification status. You then are inducted into active service as an Ensign
after completion of some fifteen more weeks of specialized training.
As was stated before, the training program allows the college men to pursue
their regular course studies with the exception of the Mathematics, Physics,
and Physical Education. Too, it should be reiterated that V-7 classification
for college Juniors and Seniors is to be closed upon May first on the assumption
that all interested men will have entered at the date. In the future the V-7
classification shall be drawn entirely from the men who successfully pass V-1
with its final competitive examination and wish to continue toward a degree
before active service with Navy. These required courses must be taken upon entrance
in the Freshman year of work.
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