U.S. Military Officer Training at SLII, SLI, USL, UL Lafayette
Military Officers have been graduating with a college degree from the instituiton known today as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for over 75 years. What began as then University President Fletcher’s request to contribute to the World War II effort via V-5,-7,-12 Navy pilot training programs in 1943 has continued through the decades. The big three military branches have all had a hand in the pocket of the Lafayette’s best and brightest. Navy 1943-1947, Air Force 1948-1990, Army 1990-present. The numbers and stories of the officers who have come out of Lafayette have stretched 8 decades and will continue to do so for many more years.
V-5, V-7, V-12 Navy Officer Training, 1943-1947
V-12: The V-12 Navy College Training Program was designed to supplement the force of commissioned officers in the United States Navy during World War II. Between July 1, 1943, and June 30, 1946, more than 125,000 participants were enrolled in 131 colleges and universities in the United States
V-7: Between 1940 and 1945 their junior officer candidates, many alumni of the Navy's V-12 training, completed a 30-day indoctrination course before entering the midshipman school's 90-day V-7 Navy College Training Program. After successful completion, graduates were commissioned as ensigns in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
V-5: Volunteer Naval Reserve class V-5 Naval Aviation Cadet (NavCad) program sent civilian and enlisted candidates to train as aviation cadets.
U.S. Air Force ROTC, 1948-1990
In 1949 AFROTC held its first Pass and Review the year after it was created. The Records and activities of the AFROTC are many and enumerated in the records of the year books. AFROTC with the Air Arnould Society participated in floats, parties and Balls. Officer Training was flourishing over the years after WWII and then as the Cold War opened and closed the program continued on. During the Vietnam War the ROTC Building, then on E Lewis Street, was the target of protesting students who caught the building on fire. In 1988 there was rumor of the impending closure of the ROTC Program but was put off and would stay open at least until 1990. They did indeed cease operations in 1990 but the Army promptly seized the opportunity to establish an extension program tied to the already well established McNeese State University Army ROTC.
U.S. ARMY ROTC, 1990 - Present
The UL Lafayette Army ROTC Program began in 1990 and offered the benefits of financial aid, comradery, a support system and a path to the profession of arms. The program was initially established as an extension program under the McNeese State University Army ROTC. In the summer of 1997, the program shifted its Army headquarters to the Louisiana State University's Army ROTC program. Although our Cadets respect their Army higher headquarters and recognize their membership in the Bayou Bengals ROTC Battalion, they continue to maintain their pride in their University and the fact that they are Ragin' Cajuns - "We bleed Black and Red!"
C-UL-ture of the Ragin' Cajun Cadets
In the years of Army ROTC being active on campus, many traditions and services have been provided by the program. Color Guards at University sporting and local Mardis Gras balls, participation at the 9/11 memorial ceremony and other Office of Veterans Services events, guarding of the graduating seniors' rings all night in the swamp each semester, and support to local Veteran and Patriotic organizations are all examples of how our future military leaders display their self-less service and dedication to our great Nation and community.