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Reserve Officer Training Corps Records, 1890-2009

Collection Overview

Title: Reserve Officer Training Corps Records, 1890-2009

ID: RG 058

Primary Creator: Oregon State University. Reserve Officers Training Corps

Extent: 9.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Organized into 3 series: 1. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC); 2. Division of Military Science; and 3. Air Force ROTC.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Records document Army and Air Force cadet training at Oregon State University. The records include correspondence, reports, publications and scrapboooks of the Air Force ROTC program.

Items from this colleciton have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Scope and Content Notes

The Army Reserved Officer Training Corps is Series One. Documents include military exams, some with the answers provided. Series Two contains Division of Military Science Records, which includes information on early military uniforms, a cadets yearbook, reports, receipts, contracts, correspondence, military directives and orders. Series Three documents the Air Force Officers Education Program created in the 1960s. Documents include a House of Representatives bill that created this program, curriculum development plans, news releases, correspondence and three scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain photographs and news clippings of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) activities and honors bestowed on members. Of note is one news clipping of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Accession 2004:038 consists of 7 scrapbooks assembled by Naval ROTC (NROTC) staff which pertain to various aspects of the NROTC program at OSU. Primarily made up of photographs, these scrapbooks also contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, and event programs. In addition to documenting routine training exercises, dress reviews, and ceremonial events, these scrapbooks also record NROTC social activities such as dances, picnics, athletic events, and university traditions such as the "Little Colonel" pageant. One of the scrapbooks offers a historical narrative of the program, which includes the original application to establish the unit in 1945 as well as correspondence and meeting minutes from that period.

Accession 2004:047 consists of a scrapbook assembled by Naval ROTC students and staff, Naval ROTC program newsletters, and two freshman orientation manuals. In addition to newspaper clippings and photographs, the scrapbook also contains event programs and publications.

Accession 2005:065 consists of materials generated and collected by the Army ROTC program at OSU and includes briefing agendas and memoranda, certificates, correspondence, enrollment data, historical essays and reports, instructional materials, maps, newsletters, newspaper clippings, a poem, publications, reports, scrapbooks, and a student paper. Primarily documenting classroom instruction and cadet recruitment/enrollment, these records also pertain to annual field training camps, the Army Sponsor Corps, ROTC drill teams, engineering student cadets, campus opinions about the ROTC program, and news items about individual cadets and officers. The instructional materials include lesson plans, overhead transparencies, class handouts, informational reports and articles, course evaluation forms, and a videotape of a program on "Colored Cavalry."

Accession 2009:051 consists of a scrapbook made up of photographs and newspaper clippings reflecting the Army ROTC program in 1966/67. In addition to group and portrait shots of cadets in uniform, the scrapbook images and clippings document various groups within the program including the Black Bayonet Drill Team, the Raiders, the Drum and Bugle Corps, the Rifle Team, and the Army ROTC Women's Sponsor Corps. Activities depicted in the photographs include spring field exercises, summer camp, drill competitions, and classroom instruction. Two illustrations in the style of the "Peanuts" comic strip are also featured in this scrapbook.

Accession 2010:006 consists of materials generated by Air Force ROTC students and staff that include scrapbooks, a cadet operations plan, plaques, and crests reflecting five of the Air Force cadet squadrons. Made up of photographs and newspaper clippings, the three scrapbooks document Air Force ROTC cadets and staff involved in a variety of events, including: annual service reviews, tours of U.S. Airforce bases throughout the country, attendance at national conclaves, participation in community events such as parades, Joint Service Olympics, dinner nights, formal cadet inspections, invitational drill meets, and award ceremonies. There are also group shots of cadets by squadron. The plaques pertain to the Society of American Military Engineers Distinguished Student Post Award and Captain Eric Ball, former commandant of cadets. The crests were created by ROTC students as a morale-building exercise and are not considered official Air Force designs. Also found in this transfer is a wooden propeller initialed with the letters "AAS" and signed by various cadets.

Accession 2014:024 is made up of a charter for the Willamette Valley Chapter of the Air Force Association.

Items from this colleciton have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Courses in Military Science and Tactics were first taught at Oregon State in 1872. In 1873 Captain Benjamin D. Boswell was appointed Professor of Military Science and Tactics (1873-1876), the first U.S. Army officer on active duty to hold such a position in any land grant college in the West. The first cadet uniforms, worn at all times by male students, were gray with caps of the Civil War type. The more familiar blue uniforms were adopted in 1893.

ROTC at Oregon State University is made up of the Departments of Military Science, Naval Science, and Air Force Studies. In 1917, the Department of Military Sciences became responsible for all military training under the National Defense Act of 1916. The act expanded and standardized the training of Army Officers by colleges and universities and established the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). During World War II, OSU became known as the "West Point of the West" for commissioning more officers than any other non-military academy in the nation. At the end of World War II, the Secretary of the Navy commissioned the Department of Naval Science (ROTC) on this campus to provide the training of both Navy and Marine Corps officers. On July 1, 1949, the U.S. Air Force activated an AFROTC unit that is now called the Department of Air Force Studies. As of 1999, OSU is one of only 48 colleges and universities that offers education for all three military departments.

Originally, two years of military science and tactics were required of all able-bodied male students, but since 1962, ROTC has been voluntary. Since 1965, two-year programs have been available for students who have finished two years of college but have not taken ROTC previously.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 18 boxes, including 12 oversize boxes and 3 microfilm reels

Related Materials: Other military records in the Special Collections and Archives Records Center include the Ulysses Grant McAlexander Collection (MSS McAlexander), Oregon State University Military Photographs Collection (P 002), Army Specialized Training Program Records (RG 059), and the Students' Army Training Corps Records (RG 060).

Preferred Citation: Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Records (RG 058), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 19, 2015.


Oregon State University. Reserve Officers Training Corps
Oregon State University. Department of Air Force Studies
Oregon State University. Department of Military Science
United States. Air Force ROTC
United States. Army. Reserve Officers' Training Corps

People, Places, and Topics

Military education--Oregon--Corvallis.
Oregon State College--Examinations--Military art and science.
Oregon State University. Reserve Officers Training Corps

Forms of Material


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