January 29, 2016
Did You Know?: WWII training units
Members of the Curtiss-Wright Cadettes test the tolerances on a small gear made on a hobbing machine in a Purdue shop. (Photo provided by Purdue University Archives)
During the years of World War II, men and women came to Purdue for specialized training courses to assist them in many areas of the armed forces.
The training programs were created and designed by the United States Army and United States Navy and placed in multiple universities around the country for the duration of the war. Up until 1940, nearly one-sixth of the Field Artillery Reserve officers in the Army had been produced by Purdue. This gave the University the opportunity to house many armed forces' training programs. Below are a few examples of the training programs offered by Purdue.
The Navy College Training Program, also known as V-12, began on July 5, 1943, with 1,263 men, two-thirds of whom were sailors and one-third Marines. The program was designed to create a supply of trained naval officers to staff units of the U.S. fleet. The program was of a varied length of four to six terms at 16 weeks per term. Men of this training program were housed in Cary Quadrangle and various fraternities on campus.
The Curtiss-Wright Cadettes were a group of women who took specialized courses at Purdue that were directly applicable to working in the engineering department at the Curtiss-Wright Corp., a Columbus, Ohio, company that built aircraft for the U.S. military during World War II. The program began on Feb. 12, 1943, and lasted for two 12-week terms. In order to be accepted as a Curtiss-Wright Cadette, an applicant must have had at least a year of college with mathematics, a strong interest in aeronautics and the willingness to work hard for a goal. The cadettes were housed in Wood Hall.
Other programs included the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), a program that was inaugurated March 8, 1943, and trained men for the Army in three terms at 12 weeks per term; the Naval Training School for Electricians' Mates, one of the University's most successful war training programs, which began June 16, 1942; the School for Women's Army Corps (WAC) Personnel Administration, a program that began April 17, 1945, and ended Oct. 12, and which was designed to enable women to share with other students the most successful personnel practices.
Sources: H.B. Knoll, 1940-1945: A Record of a University in the War Years (West Lafayette, The Archives of Purdue, 1947), Purdue University Debris 1943
Writer: Aspen Deno, firstname.lastname@example.org