No.40 War Course, No.1 School of Physical Training and Drill, 1942

No.40 War Course, No.1 School of Physical Training and Drill, 1942

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No.40 War Course, No.1 School of Physical Training and Drill, 1942

This picture shows No.40 War Course, No.1 School of Physical Training & Drill, RAF St. Athan, during 1942. Some of the men signed the back of the photo.

Many thanks to Jennifer Deane for sending us these pictures. Her father Corporal Kenneth Briggs is the second man on the middle row)

What the History of the Army’s PT Test Can Teach Every Man About Complacency and Readiness

Both soldiers and civilians alike have always taken an interest in the tests the Army uses to assess physical fitness and readiness for combat.

For soldiers, the reason for their interest is obvious — how they do on the test is linked to job performance, retention, and advancement.

Civilians are interested because they’re curious about the standards those who protect their country are required to meet, and wonder how’d they do in measuring up to those standards themselves.

Each of the various iterations that the Army’s physical training test has gone through since it was first introduced almost 75 years ago offers an interesting snapshot and reflection of the country’s general culture at the time. The standards of the test have evolved, along with changes in gender inclusion, scientific knowledge of health and exercise, and the shifting demands of various wars.

The test’s standards have generally toughened during times of war, and softened during times of peace, and the difference between these poles has roughly translated into the difference between a focus on combat readiness, and a focus on general fitness.

The current Army Physical Fitness Test centers on the latter, but that hasn’t always been the case. Today we’ll trace how the modern PT (Physical Training) test came to be, what came before, and where the test may be going. It’s a subject worth learning about for soldiers and civilians alike, not only because it’s pretty fascinating, but also for its wider implications it’s quite an instructive case study in understanding the human cycle of laxity and vigilance.

Ready for Battle: The Physical Combat Proficiency Test

“Over a period of years and the course of several wars, the costly lessons learned from our past military experiences led to an increasing interest in the physical condition of the fighting man. With this interest has come the ever increasing realization that our troops must be well conditioned to operate effectively. No longer can we afford emphasis on physical fitness during wartime and de-emphasis during peacetime. It is evident that, in spite of increased mechanization and modern weapons, physical readiness retains a vital place in the life of each individual solider and in every unit within the Army.” —FM 21-20, Physical Readiness Training (1969)

Historians of military fitness have long observed that an emphasis on physical training waxes during wartime, and wanes during peacetime — both in the armed services and in the population at large. Civilians and soldiers simply aren’t as motivated to stay strong and fit when there isn’t an immediate threat to deal with nor a strong likelihood of being called to serve in combat. As a result, when a draft is instituted, a large portion of eligible men are found unfit for service, and the military initially struggles to adequately train their troops and bring them up to speed.

As the war progresses, the impact of soldiers’ physical inadequacy on casualties and success is clearly realized and real-time lessons from the battlefield emerge as to the kind of physical training and skills that are needed to address these deficiencies. These insights make their way into the military’s official PT programs in the later stages of the war, and are codified in manuals in the years following the conflict’s conclusion…only to be relaxed and modified once more as troops settle into a peacetime routine and no imminent crisis seems to loom.

When WWII broke out, for example, half of the first two million men called up by the Selective Service were found unfit for duty, and 90% of these rejections were due to deficiencies in health and fitness. For this reason, the military started scientifically researching the best ways to exercise its men and prepare them for combat. The result was the introduction of a robust physical training program, as well as the Army’s first physical fitness test. The test consisted of a 5-event battery of events: squat jumps, sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, and a 300-yard run (you can take the test yourself here), and was designed to test the kind of muscular endurance and anaerobic capacity soldiers would require on the battlefield. The physical training program and test were developed during the war, and then codified in a PT manual in 1946.

Yet in the years following WWII, physical training standards once again grew lax. As many military strategists felt that the advent of nuclear weapons had made ground warfare largely obsolete, an emphasis on physical readiness waned and soldiers were allowed to grow softer. Consequently, American troops struggled in the Korean War, and military analysts traced many of the conflicts’ causalities to a lack of physical hardihood and preparation for the rigors of battle.

And so the oscillating pendulum of physical readiness swung back again by the end of the 1950s, the Army took the lessons it had learned in Korea and began to draw up new standards for soldiers’ physical fitness — ones aimed specifically at enhancing their focus on combat readiness. The necessity of these efforts was made clear as combat operations in Vietnam got underway in the 60s the military got real-time data back from the field as to how soldiers needed to be trained in order to withstand the kind of guerilla warfare being waged in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

  1. Running — Distance and sprint running on road and cross country.
  2. Jumping — Broad jumping and vertical jumping downward from a height.
  3. Dodging — Change of body direction rapidly while running.
  4. Climbing and traversing — Vertical climbing of rope, poles, walls, and cargo nets. Traversing horizontal objects such as ropes, pipes, and ladders.
  5. Crawling — High crawl and low crawl for speed and stealth.
  6. Throwing — Propelling objects such as grenades for distance and accuracy.
  7. Vaulting — Surmounting low objects such as fences and barriers by use of hand assists.
  8. Carrying — Carrying objects and employment of man carries.
  9. Balancing — Maintaining proper body balance on narrow walkways and at heights above normal.
  10. Falling — Contact with the ground from standing, running, and jumping postures.
  11. Swimming (in specialized situations) — Employment of water survival techniques.”

To gauge whether a soldier had gained the required aptitude in these physical skills, and was prepared for the demands of battle, the Physical Combat Proficiency Test (PCPT) was created. It consisted of five events: low crawl (40 yards), horizontal ladder/monkey bars (20 feet long), grenade throw (sometimes substituted for a 150-yard man carry during basic training and for combat-support troops), ‘dodge, run, and jump’ (agility run), and a 1-mile run. While completing the test, soldiers were required to wear their combat uniform (sans jacket) and boots.

4 of the events of the PCPT. Image Source

All male soldiers were required to take the PCPT to graduate basic training, and periodically throughout their enlistment. Women, who were then part of the separate Women’s Army Corps, took a much lighter and less strenuous test, which consisted of arm circles, body twists, a bent-over “airplane” exercise, sit-ups, and jumping jacks.

From Readiness to Fitness: What Happened to the PCPT?

The Physical Combat Proficiency Test was arguably the Army’s high-water mark for the testing of functional fitness. But even though the PCPT was a rigorous test that closely linked its standards with the standards of “job performance” in combat, it didn’t last.

Within just a decade, several factors originating from the civilian world would combine to create a very different test.

First, in 1975 President Gerald Ford signed a bill allowing women to enroll in the nation’s service academies for the first time. As performance on the PCPT was a part of graduation requirements, as well as Officer Evaluations Reports, some officials worried that women would struggle with the test’s standards, especially when it came to the horizontal ladder, and that their low scores would hold them back from advancing to leadership positions.

Then in 1978, the Women’s Army Corps was disbanded, and female soldiers were integrated into non-combat male units. In conjunction with this change, the Army wished to create a sex-integrated fitness test that could be taken by all of its troops.

There were other changes to the make-up of the Army as well. After Vietnam, the military once again became an all-volunteer force, and some of the new recruits were not as fit as the exiting veterans. Obesity began to be a problem in society as whole, and in the military as well, spurring the Army to become increasing concerned about keeping down the weight of its soldiers.

At the same time, an emphasis on cardio-respiratory endurance was coming to dominate the health and fitness discussion in the civilian world. Slow, long distance running/jogging was rising to prominence, and the military began to see aerobic health as the most important determiner of overall military fitness (as well as a way for potentially obese soldiers to keep off the pounds).

As the Cold War continued, there also remained those who felt, the wars in Korea and Vietnam not withstanding, that ground combat was a thing of the past, and that as warfare became more and more mechanized, combat would become less and less strenuous thus, while it was desirable for soldiers to maintain a general level of health, a high level of fitness and combat readiness would be unnecessary.

In addition to these factors, the Army was keen to come up with a PT test that, unlike the PCPT, didn’t require any equipment and thus could be done cheaply and in any conditions.

So it was in 1980, that the Army introduced a new fitness test for its soldiers: one that was deemed more equitable for women, included gender normed standards, focused on general fitness, health, and weight control, and required no equipment. The PCPT’s five, combat-related events became three: 2 minutes of sit-ups (rest/pauses allowed), 2 minutes of push-ups (ditto), and a 2-mile run.

The test was at first called the Army Physical Readiness Test, but in 1985 the name was changed to the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) to better reflect its new emphasis, as well as a change made that year in what a solider was allowed to wear for the test whereas they had formerly had to complete the test in their combat uniform and boots, now they could take the test in their PT uniform (shorts/t-shirts) and sneakers.

Overall, the new APFT was more accessible and less rigorous rather than centering on assessing a soldier’s readiness for combat, as the PCPT had done, it aimed to gauge whether or not he or she was living a generally healthy lifestyle.

From a Focus on Fitness to a Flirtation With Readiness, and Back to Fitness Again: The Aborted Army Physical/Combat Readiness Tests

While the Army’s physical training test was changed in the 80s, the physical training program remained largely the same, and still retained an emphasis on combat readiness — at least on paper (how PT is carried out on the ground depends on the preferences of whoever is leading it). The Army encouraged its troops to see the APFT as only a snapshot of their health — a check of their minimum baseline of fitness — and not to build their physical training regimens around it.

But, because scores on the test are kept as part of officers’ official files and repeated failures can result in a soldier being separated from the service, in practice, PT invariably began to focus more and more on preparing soldiers to pass the APFT’s 3 events. The result was widespread “teaching for the test,” so to speak. Or as is often said in leadership circles, “you get what you measure.”

This wouldn’t be a problem if the APFT was widely believed to accurately measure soldiers’ overall fitness and readiness for combat. But it has instead found much criticism on these points from the very beginning.

Critics of the APFT feel it is too easy, provides too narrow a snapshot of a soldier’s all-around fitness, and has little connection to the physical tasks actually required in combat. For starters, the test emphasizes low intensity, cardio-respiratory exercise, whereas combat is most likely to tax a soldier’s anaerobic rather than aerobic capacity in battle, soldiers are far more likely to have to sprint, than to have to run for 2 miles non-stop.

Then there’s the limited range of physical skills and capabilities tested by the APFT’s 3 events: sit-ups are widely considered an outdated exercise altogether, and there is no assessment of a soldier’s ability to lift, carry, pull, and climb, even though studies have shown that these are the most common physical tasks required of soldiers:

MOS=Military Occupational Specialities=Army jobs. Chart Source.

As Gen. Mark P. Hertling, of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) put it:

“Today’s PT test does not adequately measure components of strength, endurance, or mobility. The events have a low correlation to the performance of warrior tasks and battle drills [known as WTBD the critical physical skills needed to survive in combat] and are not strong predictors of successful physical performance on the battlefield or in full spectrum operations.”

All of which is to say, that many military fitness experts feel the APFT only gauges physical health in a very narrow way, and fails to gauge physical skill it’s a general fitness test, rather than a combat fitness test, but doesn’t even serve that first purpose well.

Concerns over the weaknesses of the APFT were easier to overlook during peacetime, when the combat readiness of troops could be viewed more abstractly, and didn’t have life or death consequences. But during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cycle of laxity/focus on the importance of physical training turned round once again.

Many lessons were learned from soldiers’ deployments and battles in the Middle East, while in the civilian world, exercise trends and sport research were pointing away from endurance cardio and towards the value of high intensity exercise and CrossFit-style “functional” fitness workouts.

Thus in 2010 TRADOC released Training Circular 3-22.20, which provided a new emphasis on incorporating warrior tasks and battle drills into physical training. (The circular was then codified in the PT manual in 2012.) The Army began to talk of turning their troops into “soldier athletes” or “tactical athletes” who had the strength, endurance, agility, and coordination to fight and win on the battlefield.

Then in 2011, TRADOC announced that the Army would be replacing the APFT with not one but two tests that were meant to better correlate with the new priorities of the physical training program.

  1. 60-Yard Progressive Shuttle Run (5-yd, 10-yd, and 15-yd round trips = 60 yds)
  2. One-Minute Rower (rather than done on a rowing machine, this was to be a core-testing exercise performed on the ground and done non-stop)
  3. Standing Long-Jump
  4. One-Minute Push-up (done non-stop without rest)
  5. 5-Mile Run

Overall, the APRT was designed to up the intensity factor of the test, and assess both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

A demonstration of the hurdle and casualty drag components of the eventually aborted Army Combat Readiness Test. (Image Source)

  1. 400-meter run
  2. Obstacle course with low and high hurdles and crawling obstacles
  3. 40-yard casualty drag
  4. 40-yard run with ammo cans on a balance beam
  5. Sight picture drills with your weapon while moving through obstacles
  6. 100-yard ammo can shuttle sprint
  7. 100-yard agility sprint

Together the tests were designed to create closer alignment between soldiers’ physical readiness training and the physical requirements they were tested on PRT would drive the test, rather than the other way around. And most importantly, it was hoped the test would provide an accurate assessment of whether or not a solider was ready for the rigors of combat.

The implementation of the APRT and ACRT was described by TRADOC as “the final step in the Soldier Athlete initiative to better prepare Soldiers for strenuous training and the challenges of full-spectrum operations.” All that remained to be done was for different channels of the Army to review the requirements and for the test to be administered to thousands of troops in order to establish baseline standards.

Yet, just a year after they were announced, the new tests were scrapped, or rather put on indefinite hold, pending further research. The reasons for the reversal were never made entirely clear. The cost of the equipment required, that the events weren’t proven to be linked to combat job performance, or that some commanders were simply resistant to the idea, were all cited as rationales for the change of course.

And so the Physical Fitness Test of sit-ups, push-ups, and running continues to remain in place. With combat positions opening to women, there’s been talk of the introduction of a new kind of functional, job-specific, gender-neutral test, in which recruits must qualify to be eligible to serve in certain positions. It’s still in the works.


“Few recruits are physically fit for the arduous duties ahead of them. The softening influences of our mechanized civilization add difficulties to the problem of conditioning men and thereby make physical fitness more important than ever before. Even within TOE [support staff/non-frontline units], labor saving devices and mechanized equipment exert this softening effect. If men are to be developed and maintained at the desired standard of physical fitness, a well-conceived plan of physical readiness training must be part of every training program.” —FM 21-20, Physical Readiness Training (1969)

Throughout the seven-decade history of the Army’s PT test, the rigor of its standards, and whether it emphasized combat readiness or general fitness, has fluctuated along with the cycle of peace and war.

In peacetime, when the prospect of serving in combat seems remote, physical training relaxes and soldiers grow softer, content to maintain the minimum baseline of fitness required by a milder PT test.

In wartime, the vital importance of physical readiness is once again made patent and proven in the field, and these lessons lead to the toughening of PT training and tests.

The lesson in all this for both soldiers and civilians is clear: complacency kills.

Ground warfare is obsolete…until it isn’t. Mechanization is going to make battle a cakewalk…and yet the need to carry 60-100 pounds of gear while dragging a 200-lb comrade stubbornly sticks around. Everyone is sure a big crisis requiring the reinstitution of the draft will never, ever happen…right before it does.

The takeaway of course for all individuals is never to allow things like institutional bureaucracy or gender politics or cultural fads to set your personal standards for physical prowess. To always exceed the minimum. To remember that what you measure is what you get, and to set goals accordingly. And to strive to be not just healthy, but skilled — not fit for life, but ever ready for action.

A Historical Review and Analysis of Army Physical Readiness Training and Assessment by Whitfield B. East

Miscellaneous Campus Features

Alumni Gateway—Constructed 1912-1914 cost approximately $4,000. Gateway faced directly down Main Street. Presented to college by alumni in 1914. Removed 1936. Read a history of the gateway, with images of proposed designs. See Gateway Entrance below.

Alumni Gateway, New—See Gateway Entrance below.

Alumni Mall—Originally called the Mall. Lies on 0.74-mile stretch between Main Street and War Memorial. Four-lane street, divided by a wide grassy strip. Constructed fall 1950-spring 1951 cost $117,045. Name changed to Alumni Mall in 1996.

Amphitheatre (Garden Theatre)—A 1,500-capacity outdoor theatre located southeast of Duck Pond dedicated Aug. 24, 1935.

April 16 Memorial—Constructed in 2007 to honor the 32 lives lost in two campus shootings on April 16, 2007 dedicated Aug. 19, 2007 located at base of the reviewing stand on the Drillfield. Each victim represented by one Hokie Stone engraved with his or her name. Replaced an impromptu memorial placed on the site by students within days after the shooting—that memorial also included a Hokie Stone for each victim.

Biomarkers—First one installed in 1998 59 completed by 2010. Brief biographical sketch of each person for whom a building is named, cast in bronze and placed on a Hokie Stone pedestal in front of building that bears that person’s name. A project of University Relations and landscape architect’s office most biomarkers funded by gift from Class of 1953 five funded by Class of 1999.

Caldwell Statue—Sculpted by Larry Bechtel. Erected 2006. Represents first student to register. Gift of Class of 1956. Unveiled Oct. 20, 2006, behind Brodie Hall.

Cowgill Plaza—Situated between Cowgill Hall, Burruss Hall, Hancock Hall, and Johnston Student Center. Completed in 1969 approximately 30,000 sq. ft. Built of concrete, it originally contained four raised shrub/tree beds and was used by architecture and building construction students for various displays and competitions. Made handicap-accessible in 1987. Remodeled in 1996 to accommodate pyramidal skylights for new underground building, Burchard Hall, which was constructed directly beneath the plaza.

Drillfield—The original drill area in the 1870s lay in the area north of the First and Second Academic Buildings. Later the drill area was moved behind Lane Hall (Barracks No. 1). In 1894, President McBryde designated a small section of the horticulture farm as an athletic field and drill field. Initially, the area was called Sheib Field, named for Edward E. Sheib, professor of English and history who helped financially support the football team. Parts of the present Drillfield area have been known by the following names: Sheib Field (1894-1902) Gibboney Field (1902-09), named for James Haller Gibboney, first graduate manager of athletics Miles Field (1909-26), named for Clarence Paul “Sally” Miles, baseball and football coach and director of athletics Drillfield (fall of 1926-present). Stroubles Creek, which once ran open through the south portion of the Drillfield, was covered by a conduit in the summer of 1934. The first asphalt walks (two of them) were poured during the summer of 1971. In the spring of 1997 approximately 3,000 students, faculty members, and staff members formed the number 125 on the Drillfield in celebration of the university’s 125 th anniversary, and the formation was photographed from an airplane. Following the shooting deaths of 32 students and faculty on April 16, 2007, the Drillfield became a gathering place for mourners and the site of a temporary and then a permanent memorial. In Nov. 2007, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other friends of the university formed the words “VT thanks you” on the field to thank the countless people who came to the university’s support after April 16, 2007. The words were photographed from a passing satellite and by a photographer in a helicopter.

Duck Pond—Construction started 1934 with funds supplied by Civil Works Administration ($18,821 for three projects). Named “Duck Pond” by students. Fed by Stroubles Creek and smaller lake, the Ice Pond, slightly above and to north. The two ponds serve as year-round homes principally to flocks of Canada geese and mallard ducks. See Ice Pond.

Foundry/Forge Shop—Constructed 1882 razed 1917.

Gateway Entrance—Completed 2005 accessed from Duck Pond Drive gift of Class of 1952. Entrance to Holtzman Alumni Center. Symbolizes original Alumni Gateway (see above).

Graduate Life Center Plaza and Amphitheatre—Constructed early fall 2009 as part of Library Plaza (see below) cost $330,000. Includes fountain and raised area for outdoor performances. Sponsored by Class of 1959, Class of 2009, Parents Fund, and Graduate School. Ribbon cutting held October 2009.

Greenhouses—Nine greenhouses constructed over a period of time. (1) Construction year unknown 21,933 sq. ft. Addition constructed 1959, 2,313 sq. ft. Second addition constructed 1966, 5,523 sq. ft. Third addition constructed 1988, 2,856 sq. ft. Total area: 21,933 sq. ft. (2) Constructed 1973 1,953 sq. ft. (3) Constructed 1973 1,953 sq. ft. (4) Constructed 1973 1,953 sq. ft. (5) Constructed 1973 1,707 sq. ft. (6) Constructed 1973 1,833 sq. ft. (7) Constructed 1973 1,978 sq. ft. (8) Constructed 1973 1,632 sq. ft. (9) Constructed 1973 1,632 sq. ft.

Horticulture Gardens—See Hahn, Peggy Lee Garden Pavilion and Horticulture Garden under Buildings.

Human/Animal Bond Bronze Statue—Sculpted by Gwen Reardon from concept by Terry Lawrence. Erected 2005 unveiled Sept. 9, 2005, at entrance to Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Major funding provided by Jane Talbot, wife of the late founding college dean Richard B. Talbot, and her family.

Ice Pond—Built winter 1880-81 to supply ice to college. Used in that capacity until 1898-99, when use of a refrigerating plant was inaugurated. Fed by a branch of Stroubles Creek. Lies slightly above and to north of Duck Pond and feeds the latter body of water. See Duck Pond.

Library Plaza—Completed 1983 approximately 43,000 sq. ft. Connects Newman Library, the University Bookstore, Squires Student Center, and Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown. One section includes Graduate Life Center Plaza and Amphitheatre (see above). From 1990s until 2009, included a sunken, pentagon-shaped amphitheatre with a fountain at one end and seating on the other four sides. Kiosk added in 1989 gift of Class of 1982 removed a few years later. The site of the plaza originally served as a street extension of College Avenue from Otey Street to Drillfield Drive.

Perry Street Parking Deck—Construction 2009-10. Parking for 1,200 vehicles cost estimated at $30 million.

Ready to Serve Statue—Life-size bronze German shepherd police dog culpted by Larry Bechtel. Erected 2009. Dedicated Oct. 16, 2009. Located adjacent to main entrance to Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Funded through private donations. Project, which was spearheaded by Officer John Hoover, was a partnership between Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Police Work Dog Association, and U.S. Police Canine Association.

Reflecting Pool—Located between University Club and Faculty Center. Constructed 1934 removed 1965 for construction of Donaldson Brown Center. See Donaldson Brown under “Buildings.”

Regional Stormwater Management Facility at the College of Veterinary Medicine—Constructed 1997-98 to control stormwater runoff and to prevent the buildings that house the College of Veterinary Medicine from flooding.

Rock, The—See World War I Memorial.

Satellite Tracking Station—Constructed 1974 430 sq. ft. cost $174,447 (includes operation costs). Addition 1976 416 sq. ft. Total area 846 sq. ft.

Seismograph Station—Completed fall 1962 cost $50,000. This 681-sq-ft. underground reinforced concrete structure was part of the Vela Uniform Program of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey that monitored the testing of nuclear weapons during the Cold-War era. The station was also part of the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network (WWSSN), which provided scientific data that led to the development of the theory of plate tectonics and revolutionized the earth sciences in the late 1960s. The Blacksburg station, known officially as BLA, is one of the few original WWSSN stations still recording ground motion and is famous for its continuous operation since Sept. 1963. The instruments comprising the station have changed over the years, from seismographs recorded on photographic paper that had to be developed by hand every day to modern instrument systems that monitor different components of the seismic wavefield and send data by satellite telemetry to researchers around the world. The station houses seismographs that monitor high-frequency motions from local and regional earthquakes and hosts a very high-precision Global Positioning System transceiver, which measures the long-term motion of the North American lithospheric plate. The station is an element of the U.S. Geological Surveys’ Advanced National Seismic System is part of the NSF-sponsored Earthscope Plate Boundary Observatory and is a key element of the Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory, which monitors earthquakes in eastern North America. It is also one of NOAA’s baseline absolute gravity measurement stations. An original long-period seismometer is on display outside the Department of Geological Sciences Museum on the second floor of Derring Hall. The scheduled construction of roads near the station will destroy the site for purposes of future geophysical research.

Sochinski-McKee Marching Virginians Center—located on Southgate Drive within sight of Lane Stadium, features a 4,300-square-foot building offers space for percussion practice, restrooms, and storage space that includes shelving appropriate for the smaller instruments and places to hang the tubas a connected 7,000-square-foot open-air pavilion that provides covered space for the full band to practice, rain or shine a full-football-field-size synthetic turf field with lights, public address system, and an obervation tower. The center was a collaborative effort by the Department of Athletics, the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and band alumni. Construction on the $4.75 million facility started in 2014, and it opened in fall 2015. On March 21, 2016, the Board of Visitors approved a resolution to name it the Sochinski-McKee Marching Virginians Center. The naming is to honor Dr. James Sochinski, Director of the Marching Virginians from 1976 to 1981, and Mr. David McKee, Director of the Marching Virginians from 1986 to that time (and he still holds that position in 2017). An initial resolution in June 2014 would have applied the name at the time when both Dr. Sochinski and Mr. McKee had been retired from the university for one full year. But a major donor requested that the naming be moved up to ensure that the honorees are able to realize and celebrate this honor during their lifetimes.

Virginia Tech CAVE®—Located at Waste Policy Institute at the Corporate Research Center Aug. 1997 operational Dec. 17, 1997 grand opening April 17, 1998 moved to Torgersen Hall Aug. 13, 2000 operational as originally proposed March 26, 2001. Invented at University of Illinois and a registered trademark of University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Designed to be a useful tool for scientific visualization. The Virginia Tech Cave® is a room-sized (10 x 10 x 9 ft.), high-resolution, 3D video and audio environment. Graphics are rear projected in stereo onto three walls and the floor and are viewed through stereo glasses. When the viewer moves within the display boundaries, a supercomputer updates the perspective and stereo projections of the environment, making the images move with and surround the viewer. To the viewer, the 3D image space appears to extend to infinity. This virtual environment serves as a bridge between research and education.

Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport—In 1927 the Virginia General Assembly authorized 35 emergency landing fields in Virginia as part of the National Airways System authorized by Congress the previous year. One of those fields—a 1,800-ft.-long grass strip—was constructed in Blacksburg in 1929, with Virginia Tech supplying the site and funds for half of the construction and the state paying for the other half. Permission to operate the airport was granted on Aug. 5, 1931. In 1939 the national defense department located a Civilian Pilot Training Program at the airstrip, which spurred construction in 1940 of a maintenance hangar completion in 1941 of a 2,850-ft.-long paved runway alongside the grass strip and the completion in 1942 of a classroom, shop, and office spaces. Virginia Tech paid $15,000 toward these improvements, while the Works Progress Administration contributed $294,142. Flight training from 1940 to 1942 reached the levels of commercial pilot and navigator. Both the army and the navy used the facility for flight training. The National Youth Administration recruited high school graduates, who lived in barracks at the airport and received training in aircraft mechanics. Flight training by the defense department continued at the airport into the 1960s. In 1963 President T. Marshall Hahn emphasized the need for an airport that could serve technical and scientific industries he predicted would locate in Blacksburg, which would require the removal of the train tracks that served Blacksburg. The last train into town arrived on June 30, 1966, and work to remove the tracks commenced. Enlargement of the airport with a new runway graded for 6,000 ft. (4,600 ft. paved) to cross the old 2,850-ft. runway commenced in 1965 at a cost of $551,540 the Federal Aviation Agency supplied $275,770 of the cost. The runway was completed in 1966, lights were installed in 1967, an AM radio beacon was added in 1969, and a “T” hanger on the northwest side of the airport was added in 1970. In 1986 a taxiway was constructed parallel to the runway, with sequentially flashing lights added the following year and an automatic weather observation system added in the late 1980s. In 1991 the runway was extended 350 feet, along with a parallel taxiway. In 1995 the airport gained a 6,890-sq.ft. terminal, terminal apron, and parking lot. A parallel taxiway was added in 1999 cost $3,128,500. In 2002 airport management was transferred to an airport authority representing Virginia Tech, Montgomery County, and the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, and the airport’s name was changed to Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive Airport. In 2008 plans were under way to add 14,000 sq. ft. to the runway. Today the facility encompasses 248 acres of land.

Water Tower (Tank)—Erected in 1896 as part of campus water system designed by Professors William F. Patton and Lingan S. Randolph 110 ft. high held 50,000 gallons of water. Disassembled 1957.

West Campus Signature Gateway—Constructed 2008 cost $325,000 located at West Campus Drive entrance to campus off Prices Fork Road gift of Class of 1958. Dedicated Oct. 3, 2008.

Wind Tunnels—The university started acquiring wind tunnels in 1958. The various wind tunnels include the following: (1) Stability wind tunnel, originally built at NASA Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in 1940 acquired 1958 erected 1959-61. (2) Open-jet wind tunnel constructed by Virginia Tech faculty. (3) Boundary layer wind tunnel, acquired or built around 1978. (4) Subsonic wind tunnel. (5) Low-speed compressor cascade wind tunnel. (6) Transonic cascade wind tunnel. (7) Supersonic wind tunnel installed 1963. The trio of hypersonic, subsonic, and supersonic wind tunnels at one time created the most comprehensive combination of wind tunnel testing facilities on any campus in the U.S.

World War I Monument—During commencement ceremonies in 1919, Virginia Tech unveiled a monument erected by the class of 1919 “in memory of the alumni of Virginia Polytechnic Institute who gave their lives in France—1917-18.” The monument, known popularly as “The Rock,” was unveiled in a simple ceremony by Charlotte Matthews Moore, widow of Lt. Arthur Blakie “Rusty” Moore, one of the 11 dead being honored. Beginning with the unveiling ceremony and throughout the years since the unveiling, all cadets salute the monument as they pass it. It has also been the site of Memorial Day ceremonies.

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Christchurch's First Squadron

The Air Training Corps movement began in Christchurch in August 1941. The RNZAF sent SQNLDR W. H. SHEPHERD, to announce its proposal for the Air Training Corps and to recruit potential Officers. SQNLDR SHEPHERD spoke to local groups and organisations deemed to have both an interest in the proposal and the necessary skills to support it. Such groups included the Returned Servicemen’s Association, Rotary Clubs and local schools. Clearly the meetings must have been successful, within two months Christchurch had its first Air Training Corps Squadron.

October 1941 saw the formation of the first Christchurch Squadron, No 6 Squadron (of no connection to the current No 6 Squadron located in Auckland). The Squadron was formed as part of the initial wave of Air Training Corps Squadrons, which began in Wellington with No 1 Squadron. PLTOFF G. S. TROUP was appointed as the Commanding Officer of the new Christchurch Squadron. Soon after No 6 Squadrons formation, No 17 Squadron was formed under the command of PLTOFF G. Maxwell KEYS.

No 17 Squadron Formed

There has been some debate over the years as to whether No 17 Squadron was formed in 1941 or 1942. The answer can be found in the type-written words of the Squadron's first Commanding Officer, PLTOFF G. Maxwell KEYS, "In January 1942, No.17 Squadron was formed with Headquarters at the Christchurch Technical College and given to me to command. "

Wartime Structure and Training

The structure of the Squadrons at that time was quite different. Both No 6 Squadron and No 17 Squadron worked together, delivering different aspects of the overall training programme. Together they formed the Christchurch Wing. No 6 Squadron’s training was centred on the first 21 assignments of the aircrew pre-entry course, while No 17 Squadron focussed on the ground trades. Foot drill was taught by the Non-Commissioned Officers of the Wing Headquarters. The Christchurch Wing also made best use of civilian expertise. Civilian Instructors provided instruction in the more complex subjects of engineering and mathematics. There was also Government involvement, with FGOFF K. MUFF of the Physical Welfare Section of the Department of Internal Affairs, overseeing the physical training. It is reported that by Christmas of 1941 the strength of both Squadrons totalled 176 cadets, 9 officers and 4 Civilian Instructors.

During the Christmas break of 1941 Officers undertook further training courses at various RNZAF Stations. The courses saw additional officers selected and commissioned for service in the Air Training Corps, among these Officers were the first secondary school officers in the Christchurch Wing. Alongside the growing community involvement in the Corps, the RNZAF was also increasing its involvement and support.

A increase in RNZAF support saw specialist RNZAF Non-Commissioned Officers assigned to the Christchurch Wing of the Air Training Corps. These new instructors brought with them a wealth of experience, with most having served overseas as aircrew or with the Ground Training Depot at home. Among the first of these specialist Non-Commissioned Officers was SGT R. L. WOODFIELD, who would go on to become a Commanding Officer of the Squadron (1946-1969).

No 31 Squadron Formed

In 1943 the Christchurch Wing experienced an influx of new recruits. Numbers were so large that a third Squadron was formed - No 31 Squadron (of no connection to the current No 31 Squadron located in Morrinsville). The new squadron held its first parade on March 3rd 1943, at West Christchurch High School (now Hagley College). The Squadron had a clearly defined role as a recruiting Squadron for the Christchurch Wing. Its initial role was to recruit and train new cadets to a set standard, after which the cadets would transfer to either No 6 or No 17 Squadron.

No 31 Squadron was formed with a team of Officers, comprising of: FGOFF L. W. STEWART (Commanding Officer), PLTOFF C. H. PERKINS, PLTOFF H. R. LAKE (Adjutant), with Dr L. W. FRASER, and Mr T. M. PENNEY.

Wartime Social Activities

Christchurch Wing social clubs and groups:

  • Tramping Club (1942),
  • Football Teams (1942),
  • Hockey Teams (1942),
  • Harrier Club (1942), and
  • Christchurch Wing Band (1943).

Tramping Club

In the 1942-43 Christmas break the 31 members of the Tramping Club crossed from Canterbury to Westland via Harper Pass.

Christchurch Wing Band

The band was formed in early 1943 by PLTOFF HATCH of the Christchurch Technical College (now CPIT), it was the first Air Training Corps band in the country. The band was popular among the Cadets and had a strength of 68. Art Union funds were raised and earmarked for purchasing brass instruments for the band, however the band opted instead to loan its instruments. In February 1943 the band ambitiously accompanied the Christchurch Wing for the trooping of the colour at Lancaster Park Christchurch.

Despite the bands success it was ultimately disbanded.

Roll of Honour

A timeline of Commando Training

The first call for volunteers for ‘Service of a hazardous nature’ was in the early months of 1940 and for the new Independent Companies. Many of these men went onto action in Norway almost immediately with little training. On their return Winston Churchill wanted his own Corps of ‘shock troops’ to start afresh. Lt Col Dudley Clarke, who was then Military Assistant to the Chiefs of the Imperial General Staff, is generally credited with the initial outline plan of their formation. His plan was approved and the name agreed on. Thus the ‘Commandos’ were formed.

A majority of volunteers for the Independent Companies went onto join the newly raised Army Commandos. Further volunteers came from all sections of the Field Army.

Training was not centralised at the time of the formation of the Independent Companies and the first Commando units, each unit being responsible for its own training (see above photo of No 2 Commando training in Scotland)

A Combined Training Centre (CTC) at Inverary [view course dates] and Special Training Centre (STC) at Lochailort (see above photo) had been established. The latter consisted of Nissen huts and tents, with the headquarters installed in Inverailort Castle, about 27 miles West of Fort William. A powerful team of instructors were gathered there, with many going on to became well known leaders of irregular forces, including the Chindits and Special Air Service, all being formed after the Commandos. The Instructors included Lord Lovat, Brigadier 'Mad Mike' Calvert, Colonel Spencer Chapman, Major Peter Kemp, and the Sirling brothers Bill and David.

Additionally other officers and NCO's with a wide range of experiences from arctic exploring to rugged campaigning on the North West frontier of India, plus those well versed in signalling, demolitions, and shooting. Two of these Instructors were Messrs Fairbairn and Sykes of Shanghai Police fame. These two men, more than anyone else in the British Army were responsible for the introduction of unarmed combat and close quarter fighting.

From July 1940 officers and selected NCO's from the newly formed Commandos attended STC courses, and then returned to blend the techniques and skills acquired with the other new ideas being developed within the training regime of their own Commandos.

The castle of Achnacarry, and the grounds, was the seat of Sir Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel, Chief of the Scottish Clan Cameron, who in June 1940 had given hospitality to No. 1 Independent Company. In December 1940, Achnacarry, as well as nearby Achdalieu Lodge, were officially brought into use as part of the the new Training and Holding Wing for the main Special Training Centre (S.T.C.) at Lochailort and remained as such for the next year.

A decision was made to centralise all Commando training at Achnacarry. In December 1941 Achnacarry was re-designated as The Commando Depot, and passed under the authority of the Special Service Brigade. T he first courses began in the months of February/March 1942. Achnacarry was now the training centre for all Commandos in the UK and was known as the Commando Depot, later renamed the Commando Basic Training Centre [read more here].

For Commandos already deployed overseas, additional training areas were set up including the Training and Holding Unit at Geneifa beside the Great Bitter Lake in the Middle East

Historical note

The first Commandos were all Army Commandos. Twelve Army Commandos were raised in 1940 and had been involved in operations since then.

It was not until February 1942 that the first Royal Marine Commando unit was raised initially designated simply as the 'Royal Marine Commando' then redesignated as 'A' RM Commando when a second RM Commando was formed. This second unit was designated 'B' RM Commando. Shortly afterwards both were redesignated as No.40 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines, and No.41 Royal Marine Commando, Royal Marines. These would be the only two RM Commando Units raised initially from volunteers as with their Army Commando counterparts.

There were also Royal Naval Beach Commandos and RAF Servicing Commandos, and groups given Commando designations for a limited period or a specific purpose such as No.14 Commando, No.62 Commando, and 142 Commando Company.

From August 1943 onwards a further seven RM Commandos were raised from disbanded Royal Marines Bn's.

All would have to pass the same strict selection and training as the Army Commandos. Those Marines from the disbanded RM Bn's who for whatever reason did not proceed to the Commandos, were posted to other areas in the Corps, primarily Landing Craft duties.

View a Roll of Honour of those who died at training centres: WW2 Training Centre Deaths

Read about the origins of the green beret here: History of the Commando Green Beret

Read about the origins of the fighting knife here: History of the Commando Fighting Knife

View a brief outline on this link to other Commando Training Centres from their formation until the present time.


The WWII Fitness Test

1. Pullups 1. Pullups
2. Squat Jumps 2. Squat Jumps
3. Pushups 3. Pushups
4. Situps 4. Situps
5. 300-yard Run 5A. Indoor Shuttle Run
5A(1). 60-Second Squat Thrusts


This event requires a horizontal bar. This may be made of a pipe or gymnasium horizontal bar, or other rigid horizontal support which is not over 1½ inches in diameter. The bar should be high enough to permit the performer to hang at full length without touching the ground. A height of 7 feet, 9 inches to 8 feet is recommended.

Starting Position. Hanging at full length from the bar with arms straight. The forward grasp is used with the palms turned away from the face.

Movement. Pull up until the chin is above the level of the bar. Then lower the body until elbows are completely straight. Continue for as many repetitions as possible.

Instructions. The men should be told that it is permissible to raise the legs and flex the hips when pulling up but not to kick or execute a jerking motion with trunk or legs. The body must be kept from swinging. The chin must be raised above the bar. The arms must be completely straight at the bottom of the movement.

Administration and Scoring. Each time the performer pulls his chin above the bar in correct form, he is given credit for one pullup. He is not credited with a pullup if he fails to raise his chin above the level of the bar or if he stops to rest. If the performer does not straighten his arms at the bottom of a movement, if he kicks or jerks, only half a pullup will be counted. If there are four half-pullups, the performer should be stopped and retested later. If the performer starts to swing, the judge should stop the swinging with his hands. Some such aid as a resin-bag or a cake of magnesium carbonate should be available to prevent the hands from slipping.


Starting Position. Squatting on right heel with fingers laced on top of head, palms down. The feet are 4 to 6 inches apart with the heel of the left foot on a line with the toes of the right foot.

Movement. Spring upward until both knees are straight and both feet clear the ground. Jump just enough to permit straightening the knees without touching the ground. Do not jump any higher than necessary to accomplish this purpose. Keep the upper body erect. While off the ground, reverse the position of the feet bringing the right foot in front. Then drop to a squat on the left heel. Keep the knees pointing forward. Spring up again and continue for as many repetitions as possible.

Instructions. The men should be told that the most common errors are: getting the feet too far apart, forward and backward, and failing to squat down on the rear heel. The correct position should be demonstrated clearly, and the men should be given sufficient practice to master it. The action must be continuous throughout. Before beginning the event, the men should be told that it requires courage almost to the same extent as it requires strength and endurance and that they should not give up until they cannot make another movement.

Administration and Scoring. The performer is credited with one squat jump each time he springs up from the squat to the erect position and returns. The movement is not scored if he fails to descend to a complete squat, if he does not straighten his legs completely and reverse his feet while he is in the air, if he removes his hand from his head, or if he discontinues the movement and comes to a stop. If he loses his balance and removes a hand from his head momentarily, or falls but immediately recovers and continues, he shall not be penalized. If the performer gets his feet too far apart but comes to a squat on the rear foot, there is no penalty. Some men cannot squat all the way down on the heel. If they go down as far as possible they should not be penalized.


Starting Position. The performer assumes the front leaning rest position with the body straight from head to heels. His palms are directly underneath the shoulders and elbows are straight. Fingers pointed forward. The judge sits on the ground beside the performer, with one palm down on the ground underneath the lowest part of the performer’s chest.

Movement. Lower body until chest touches the ground (in informal practice), or touches the hand of the judge (in formal testing). Elbows must point directly to the rear. Return to the original position by straightening elbows. Keep the entire body in a straight line throughout. Repeat as many times as possible.

Instructions. The performer is told: that the arms must be straight at the start and completion of the movement that the chest must touch the judge’s hand and that the stomach, thighs, or legs must not touch the floor. Hands and feet must not move from their positions. He is also told that the whole body must be kept straight as he pushes the shoulders upward that is, the shoulders should not be raised first, and then the hips or vice versa. The judge uses his free hand to guide the man in case he is raising his hips too much or raising his shoulders first. In the first instance, he taps the man on the top of the hips to straighten them out in the second case he taps underneath the abdomen to make him raise his abdomen with the same speed as his shoulders.

Administration and Scoring. The performer is credited with one pushup each time his arms are completely straightened and the exercise is performed in acceptable form. There is no penalty for the hips being slightly out of line if the whole body is moving upward at about the same speed. The men may proceed but may not stop to rest. If a man violates any of the instructions given above, he is credited with a half-pushup. If and when the performer is no longer able to hold a correct front leaning rest, the test is terminated.


Starting Position. Performer lies on his back with knees straight, feet approximately 18 inches apart and fingers laced behind head and elbows on the ground. The scorer kneels on the ground at the performer’s feet and presses the performer’s ankles firmly down against the ground.

Movement. Raise upper body rotating it somewhat to the left, and then forward far enough to touch the right elbow to the left knee. The knees may bend slightly when sitting up. Lower the body until the back and elbows again touches the ground. Again sit up, but this time rotate the trunk to the right and touch left elbow to the right knee. Again lower the body until the back touches the ground. Perform as many situps as possible in two minutes. Rest pauses are permitted during the test but count toward the 2-minute period.

Instructions. The performer should be warned that he must keep his knees straight until he starts to sit up that he must touch his knee with the opposite elbow and that he may not push up from the ground with his elbow.

Administration and Scoring. Performer is given credit for each situp completed within the 2-minute period. No score is given if he unclasps his hand from his head, if he pushes up from his elbow, or if he keeps his knees bent while lying back on the ground. He is not penalized if the elbow misses the knee slightly. He must, however, sit up far enough so that the elbow almost touches the knee. Time should be announced every 20 seconds. At the end of 2 minutes, the timer calls: STOP and the judge counts the full number of situps completed before the stop command.


A course 60 yards long is laid out on flat level ground with lanes 4 feet wide for for each runner. Both ends of the course have cross-marks at right angles to the lanes. The cross-mark at one end serves as a starting line the one at the other end, as a finish line. In the middle of the cross mark at either end of each lane is a stake which is at least 1½ feet high. If possible the lanes should be marked out in lime. If there are no lanes, it is recommended that the stakes be numbered or painted different colors. Each performer must run around his stake without grasping it.

Starting Position. Standing behind the starting mark in the lane with rear foot braced by another man’s foot placed crossways behind it.

Movement. At the starting signal, run to the stake at the farther end of the lane. Run around the stake at the finish line. Then return and run around the stake at the starting line. Continue until five lengths of the course, or 300 yards have been run. Make each turn from right to left. The run will finish at the opposite end of the course from which it started.

Instructions. The men should be told to run about 9/10ths full speed, to run straight down the lane, to turn around the far stake from right to left without touching it, and to return running around the stakes one after another until they have traveled five full lengths. The men should also be instructed to walk around slowly for 3 or 4 minutes after completing the run. Recovery will be much more rapid if they walk than if they lie down.

Administration and Scoring. Each runner has one inspector, or judge, who stands at the finish line. The judge watches his runner to see that he makes the turns properly and observes all the rules. This inspector also holds the man’s card and records his performance. A timekeeper stands on one of the lines in the middle of the course, 20 feet away from the finish line. The men are started by the starter with ordinary signals of: “Get on your mark get set go.” Since the timer starts his watch by the “go”, the starter should also use a hand signal.

When the first runner is about 30 yards away from the finish line, the timer begins to count the seconds aloud using “hup” for the half-seconds. For example, he counts 󈬜, hup, 45, hup, 46, hup, 47, hup, 48, hup …… etc.” The judge for each man listens to the count and at the same time watches his runner. He then records the last full second or half-second, which was counted before the man reached the finish line. After the inspector records the time on the man’s scorecard he returns the card to him.


A course 25 yards long is laid out on the gymnasium floor with a lane 4 feet wide for each runner. The lanes should be marked on the floor with water-solvent coloring, chalk, paint or adhesive tape. Turning boards are placed at both ends of the course. Each turning board is placed at a 45º angle, facing inside the lane and toward the runner. The turning boards must be firmly braced and made of heavy material. They should be from 12 to 16 inches in width. The lower edges of the turning boards are flush with the end of the lines of the running area. The number of each lane will be painted on the face of its board.

Starting Position. Ready for a sprint start, with one foot braced against a turning board and the other foot and the hands extended into the lane.

Movement. On the starting signal, run to the turning board at the other end of the lane. Touch board with foot or feet. Turn and continue running until completing ten shuttle trips or laps (for a total of 250 yards). Touch the turning board at the end of each lap, except the final one. At the end of the final lap, the runner will continue across the turning board. Any footwork may be used in making the turn provided the foot or feet touch the turning board each time.

Instructions. Each runner must stay in his own lane. Any method may be used in making the turn, although it is recommended that the forward foot touch the block on the turn. In the event a runner falls or is hindered by another participant entering his lane during the progress of the run, he may be permitted to repeat the run later in the same period.

Administration and Scoring. This event is administered and scored as the 300-yard run. The time of the run is taken as the runner’s body passes beyond the turning board on the final lap.


When it is not possible to employ the indoor shuttle run as a substitute for the 300-yard run the 60-second squat thrust should be used.

Starting Position. Attention.

Movement. Bend at knees and hips and, squatting down, place hands on ground shoulder width apart. Keep the elbows inside the knees. Thrust feet and legs backward to a front leaning rest position. Keep body straight from head to heels. Support weight on hands and toes. Recover to the squatting position. Then recover to starting position.

Instructions. The men should be told that in executing this movement for speed the shoulders should be well ahead of the hands when the legs are thrust backwards. Extending the legs too far backward, so that the shoulders are behind the hands, makes it difficult to return to the original position with speed. On the preliminary practice, the performer is told he will score better if he does not make a full knee-bend, but bends his knees only to about a right angle and that he should keep his arms straight. It is not a failure if he bends his arms but the performer will not be able to score as well.

Administration and Scoring. A score is given for the successful performance of each complete squat thrust. No score is given if: the feet start backward before the hands are placed on the ground the hips are raised above the shoulder-heel line when the feet are back or the performer does not fully recover to the erect position on the fourth count. The judge should not count aloud as this is apt to confuse other nearby judges. If the man is performing the event incorrectly, the judge should coach him, or stop him and have him repeat the test after more coaching.

The Second World War at UNB

The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 signalled significant changes for UNB as a whole, with numerous male students enlisting throughout the war and the entirety of the female student population occupied with aiding the war effort. Two women in particular took up the call to arms Barbara and Margaret White, identical twin sisters, became the first co-eds in the class of 1943 to join the Armed Forces, enlisting in the Women's Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The White sisters left UNB in the winter of 1943 before completing their year, but they were able to return to Fredericton and receive their degrees in May. The twins garnered a great deal of attention at Encaenia when they attended wearing their "Air Force Blue" uniforms.

UNB women students helped the war effort by knitting for the soldiers and organizing teas and dances to raise money for the Red Cross, though students activities at the university were generally curtailed. The Junior Tea, an elaborate social event at UNB that was traditionally held in the spring and organized by the junior women in honour of the senior women was cancelled in 1941 due to the war because the women decided to focus on the war effort. This decision was an unpopular one, with the junior class ostracized for a time, but the women felt the Tea to be "frivolous" during a time of war.

All women students were also expected to participate in a war service program. This included three hours a week of physical training and drill as well as lectures and courses in first-aid. In 1943, UNB became the first university in the Maritimes to establish a unit of the Canadian Red Cross Corps (CRCC). The CRCC unit was intended to train college women to be a "disciplined body of women workers" for the Red Cross. Despite an initial excitement over the program, the UNB Corps was soon disbanded as its members decided it would be more useful to volunteer at the Blood Processing Laboratory or to produce demanded materials such as bandages, as the lectures and drill were reportedly viewed to have little practical benefit. A contributing factor to the women's dissatisfaction with the CRCC was the issue of uniforms while their male counterparts received free uniforms, the women were expected to pay for theirs, which cost approximately ten dollars at the time. As many of the women could not afford this extra expense, they wore white armbands adorned with a red cross.

A number of war-time student groups formed, engaging in various activities intended to help in the war effort. The War Effort Committee collected funds through several means, donating these funds to the war effort. The War Savings Stamps Committee had students pledge to buy stamps from them throughout the school year, the proceeds of which were donated to the war effort.

The Second World War also saw a number of military contingents hosted at UNB.

The Canadian Officers Training Corps saw its highest enrolment since the First World War, while the University Air Training Corps, and University Naval Training Division were both formed during this era.

Once the war had ended, UNB saw its highest enrolment ever as 326 veterans brought the total count of students to over 700. The provision of accommodations for these students was accomplished by housing them at Alexander College another 175 students enrolled in January of 1946. 

Part II -- Marine Corps Training Stations

The President's "limited emergency" proclamation of September 8, 1939, which authorized an increase in the Navy's personnel, also called for an increase in the regular strength of the Marine Corps from 18,000, as it then stood, to 25,000 men, and authorized the Corps to call its reservists to active duty. As at the naval training stations, the training facilities of the Corps were soon overtaxed by the increased flow of recruits.

At that time, the continental training establishment of the Marine Corps comprised three bases -- at Quantico, Va., Parris Island, S.C., and San Diego, Calif. The facilities at Quantico, occupying 5,600 acres fronting on the Potomac River, were used primarily for secondary training, special schools, and officer training. Parris Island, occupying a 7,000-acre island between the Beaufort and the Broad rivers, was equipped to furnish basic training to recruits. The Marine Corps base at San Diego had a dual role. It served as home base for the Fleet Marine Force and also provided basic training to recruits and operational training to activated Marine Corps units.

All three Marine Corps stations were geared to the peacetime level of Corps activity, and their development reflected the period of strict naval economy that prevailed after World War I. They were quite inadequate for the task of forging a large number of men into efficient tactical units prepared for the complicated operations which were to characterize the war in the Pacific.

There was a ready response to the President's proclamation and the call for recruits. Within a few months, the size of the Corps approached the new personnel ceiling. Fortunately, some modest extensions and improvements of the Parris Island

and San Diego establishments, undertaken by the PWA and the WPA in 1938, reached the usable completion stage in the fall of 1939 and were immediately utilized by the initial wave of recruits. However, the new load was much too great for the facilities available, and tents and other temporary housing devices had to be pressed into service to alleviate the congestion.

Conditions were particularly bad at San Diego, which at that time could normally accommodate 3,000 men, and in December 1939, a contract was signed for the construction of a so-called temporary encampment. The new facilities, completed in June 1940, provided accommodations for 2,000 more men, two battalion camps, each composed of four two-story frame barracks and a mess hall. In addition to the new personnel structures, ten prefabricated steel storehouses were constructed at the station at the same time.

The restricted land area of the San Diego base was an inherent handicap to its further development, however, and, as the training load continued to grow, the training station was forced to overflow into another location. Early in 1940, a 9,000-acre tract of level land was acquired at Kearney Mesa, 16 miles north of San Diego, and a 2,000-man tent camp, called Camp Holcomb, was erected there.

The service facilities for the camp, comprising mess halls, latrines, a dispensary, a post exchange, and the necessary roads, water lines, sewers and water lines, were completed in May 1940, and the new camp was immediately put to use.

Chapel at Parris Island, S.C.

The National Defense Program

The regular Navy appropriation act for the fiscal year 1941, which became law on June 11, 1940, contained authority to increase further the strength of the Marine Corps to 34,000. Existing inadequacies at the Marine Corps bases were also recognized, and $4,500,000 was appropriated for temporary housing facilities. In addition, Quantico was granted $116,000 for barracks for hospital corpsmen and quarters for nurses, and Parris Island was given $400,000 to permit the construction of a mess hall and galley.

The first step taken under the new authorization was the further development of the newly completed tent camp at Kearney Mesa. On July 6, 1940, temporary facilities to accommodate two battalions of infantry and one of artillery were contracted for, these facilities comprising 12 two-story 250-man, frame barracks, quarters for officers, and the necessary complement of miscellaneous buildings and utilities. Thereupon, the new camp was redesignated Camp Elliott. At the same time, the construction of seven large permanent storehouses and other improvements of a more minor nature was put under way at the main San Diego base.

Less than a month later, on July 31, 1940, the enlargement of recruit training facilities at Parris Island, roughly equivalent to the expansion at Camp Elliott, was begun. Here, also, twelve 250-man temporary barracks were built, together with houses, and other administration and auxiliary facilities. In addition, the permanent mess hall and galley, specifically authorized in the appropriation act, were included in the contract. Construction was just barely under way, however, when Parris Island, on August 11, was subjected to a violent storm, of hurricane force. The damage to the station's facilities was severe and widespread. Instead of proceeding with the new construction, the contractor was directed by the Bureau to suspend the planned operations and to concentrate his activities on the repair and restoration of the damaged facilities. Inevitably, this diversion of the contractor's efforts delayed the completion of the new facilities, and it was not until the following May that the new barracks were ready for occupancy.

The contract for corpsmen's barracks and nurses' quarters authorized for Quantico was signed on

Married Officers' Quarters, Camp Lejeune
More than 200 of these 7-room quarters were built at this isolated station.

July 11. It was understood that although the station's operations would be improved by the new facilities it was not to be expected that its training capacity would be augmented thereby.

During the summer of 1940, Marine Corps recruiting proceeded at a lively pace. By September 23, the enlisted strength of the Corps had reached the 34,000 figure authorized. Further authority was granted by the President to increase the strength to 38,600 by December, a figure that was attained by the middle of November.

Increased population at all the training stations was straining available facilities. Parris Island, particularly, was in need of help, for it had been badly injured by the August hurricane, and the trainee load had overtaxed all its service facilities. While damage repair was still under way, early in October, a broad program for improving the station's auxiliary structures was put under contract. A mess hall, a garage, officers' quarters, an administration building, a post exchange, a laundry, several barracks, magazines, improvements to the hospital and water supply and sewage disposal systems were among the facilities added.

At about the same time, the capacity of Quantico to perform its secondary training function was moderately enlarged by the construction of a two-story barracks to house the station's school detachment.

Divisional Training Facilities at New River

The growth in Marine Corps personnel during the latter part of 1940 was paralleled by some rather significant reorganization, to fit the force better to meet the newly demonstrated methods of warfare. The combat units of the Corps were organized to include two divisions, one stationed on each coast, and seven defense battalions, groups specially equipped and trained to defend outlying island possessions. With this organizational change came a new problem in training facilities a training area was needed adequate in size and equipment to accommodate a full division, comprising about 15,000 men. For the Second Division, on the West Coast, this could be met, or at least approximately take care of the First Division. In fact, there were not sufficient quarters available at all the stations on the Atlantic coast to house the personnel of the new division, even if it had been split into small detachments. 1 Toward the end of the year, most of the First Division was taken for training maneuvers to Guantanamo, Cuba, where a large tent camp was erected to provide temporary accommodations for 10,000 men.

A new training area was necessary, accessible to

Anti-aircraft Gunnery Training Buildings, Bainbridge
Buildings of this type were erected at all major training stations.

deep-water ports, at least 10 miles square, and unobstructed by public highways, railroads, industries, or homes, which would interfere with the firing of artillery or aircraft or anti-aircraft guns. It was also important that the new divisional training site include landing beaches subjected to varying conditions of surf, and land suitable for an aircraft landing field. Detailed reconnaissance of the entire Atlantic and Gulf coasts, from Norfolk, Va., to Corpus Christi, Texas, led to the selection of a tract of land in North Carolina, astride the New River between Jacksonville and Sneeds Ferry bridge, extending to the ocean. On December 30, 1940, the site selection was approved by the Secretary of the Navy.

The area selected comprised 155 square miles, of which about one-fifth was the water area of New River and its tributaries. Of generally flat terrain, the site offered a variety of conditions, including water, swamp, and dry land, well suited for training with landing craft and amphibious tanks. The large area available, lacking only in rugged terrain, was admirably fitted for large-scale troop maneuvers, extended marches, and training in jungle warfare.

Funds for the acquisition and development of the new area became available in early April 1941. 2 On April 21, the construction was begun on permanent division training facilities to house 12,000 Marines, comprising four regiments of three battalions each, and a temporary tent camp designed for an additional 6,500 men. The division training development comprised four typical regimental groups of buildings and facilities, each designed to accommodate about 3,000 men housed in twelve

Swimming Pool at Sampson
Swimming was an important element of training.
Recruits passed swimming tests, learned life-saving,
and practiced scrambling down cargo nets.

two-story barracks of concrete, brick, and steel. In addition to the barracks, each regimental group was provided with three mess halls, six battalion storehouses, and an infirmary. For the division area as a whole, the contract called for the construction of a post exchange, officers' quarters, hospital facilities, nurses' quarters, corpsmen's barracks, headquarters facilities, and other auxiliary structures.

For the tent camp, timber frames and floors were built, and upon them the Marines themselves subsequently erected their canvas. To service the camp, the contract provided for the construction of mess halls, warehouses, washrooms, and the necessary roads and utilities.

At first, the new station was called the New River Marine Barracks, but in December 1942, it was renamed Camp Lejeune, for the Marine general in command at the battle of Belleau Woods.

Provision for the Second Division, on the West Coast, was established at Camp Elliott, which, although not suitable for combat maneuvers, was large enough to accommodate the division personnel and to permit the various division units to be together while receiving such tactical training as was feasible. Three weeks after the contract had been awarded for the construction of the New River divisional training area, on May 14, 1941, an enlargement of Camp Elliott was undertaken to aid it in caring for the Second Division. Twelve additional temporary barracks were constructed, enough to accommodate another regiment, together with the necessary auxiliary buildings, doubling the station's capacity, and, in addition, the mess halls and other services necessary to support a large tent camp were erected.

Construction during 1941

During the summer of 1941, Marine Corps recruiting reached the rate of 2,500 a month, and it was planned that the Corps' total strength should stand at 75,000 before the middle of 1942.

The load on the older establishments was such that long-planned improvements, designed to permit them to operate efficiently, could no longer be deferred. Consequently, as soon as the appropriation for the new fiscal year became available, a broad program of station improvements was undertaken. At Quantico, work was begun on a contagious ward for the base hospital, a post shop building,

Temporary Barracks at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

a school building, two barracks to house 500 men, a new messhall, and the extension of roads and services. The rifle range at La Jolla, part of the San Diego Marine Barracks, was improved by the construction of a mess hall and galley for 1,200 men, an administration building, a dispensary, and by the addition of two target areas and rifle ranges. To Parris Island's facilities were added a two-story temporary barracks for hospital corpsmen, a drill hall, a radio transmitter building, quarters for bachelor noncommissioned officers, and a water system for the hospital. At Camp Elliott, two barracks for noncommissioned officers, bachelor officers' quarters, a recreation building, and seven additional magazines were constructed.

In addition to these improvements at the older stations, Camp Lejeune's facilities then under construction were augmented by a landing field having as its purpose the training of parachute troops. Also from funds made available by the Federal Public Housing Administration, 750 low-cost housing units were constructed in an area adjoining the station, to accommodate the civilian personnel to be employed.

The War Program

The steadily increasing strain in our international relations during the latter part of 1941, punctuated on November 17 by the repeal of our neutrality legislation, was reflected by a vigorous flow of recruits into the Marine Corps. By the first of December, the enlisted strength of the Corps stood at nearly 62,000 men.

The start of the war upset all estimates, however, and the wave of enlistments that followed caused the 75,000 figure, scheduled to be attained by June 30, 1942, to be passed in early January. A new goal for June 1 was set at 104,000, but the new figure itself was reached during February. Estimates were again pushed upward, and the Corps looked forward to having 130,000 men before the middle of the year. 3 An influx of 50,000 men in four months necessitated emergency measures to provide accommodations at the training stations.

At Parris Island, such steps were immediately taken. By the end of January, quarters had been provided for about 9,200 additional men, through the construction of a temporary recruit camp, comprising 39 frame barracks, each housing 68 men, and the erection of 330 quonset huts. Of necessity, this enlargement had to be accompanied by the collateral construction of mess halls, galleys, and other service buildings and utilities.

In the San Diego area, resort was had to similar

Naval Training Center, Sampson, N.Y.
In the foreground is Unit F beyond is Unit H parts of Unit G (left) and Unit K (right) can also be seen.

methods early in February, to provide temporary housing facilities for more than 12,500 men. The type of prefabricated structure employed, however, was a 16-man portable building, made of a wood frame enclosed by paraffin-impregnated composition board, 400 of which were put up at the main Marine Corps base, 100 at Camp Elliott (enlarged by the acquisition of 17,000 acres of additional land), and 200 at the La Jolla rifle range. These units were cheap and could be rapidly erected and easily moved. Here, too, of course, the new housing facilities had to be supported by the construction of mess halls, storage buildings, and other service structures. In addition, at Camp Elliott, six more of the 250-man temporary barracks of more conventional design were constructed, bringing to 30 the total of such barracks at the station.

In the meanwhile, on December 31, 1941, the contact had been let for the construction of a long-planned improvement to the permanent establishment at the San Diego main base, consisting of a two-story administration building and a large auditorium. Both buildings were of reinforced concrete and were erected within the station area occupied by the older permanent buildings.

The permanent facilities at Quantico were also augmented in January, by the start of construction on a new wing for the base hospital, a radio transmitter building, and two magazines. The station's temporary capacity was increased by the addition of a one-story 350-man frame barrack at the rifle range, a trade-school building, and a training park for heavy vehicles. In April, the station's facilities were further extended by the addition of five temporary buildings of the auditorium type, to be used for classroom purposes, and a two-lane vehicle underpass was constructed under the railroad, to remove the hazard and impediment to traffic within the station that the railroad presented.

By the middle of April 1942, it could be seen that the growth of the Marine Corps personnel was outstripping the provision for accommodations at the training stations and that the program of station

Interior View of a Farragut Drill Hall
Timber bowstring trusses used to frame the roof.

expansion would have to be further stepped up. Resort was again made to prefabricated units and tents.

In the San Diego area, 200 of the wood-frame, composition-board huts, providing accommodations for 3,200 men, were put up at Camp Elliott, together with 16 temporary school buildings, and 40 huts were erected at the La Jolla rifle range, redesignated Camp Mathews. Also, to aid the San Diego Marine Corps base to carry out its functions more effectively a new dental dispensary, a swimming pool, and a communications building were added to that station's equipment.

A New Artillery Training Camp

Early in 1941, the Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force had appointed a board to investigate and report on a suitable West Coast site that could be used as a training area for artillery and anti-aircraft units. Training establishments in the San Diego area were greatly handicapped in providing that type of training, for the great amount of air activity in the vicinity severely restricted high-angle fire. After considering several possible locations, the board recommended a site in the Imperial Valley, about 120 miles east of San Diego. The area acquired for the new station, comprising about 200,000 acres of desert land, half of which was public domain, was an irregular tract, 25 miles long and averaging about 13 miles in width.

The construction of the new training facility, designated Camp Dunlap, was begun in early March 1942, and was completed by the following November. Essentially, it was a tent camp to accommodate four artillery battalions and one defense battalion, erected at the southern extremity of a great artillery range area. Laid out in battalion areas, the camp was equipped with a network of streets and the necessary buildings, roads, and utilities to support a population of 5,000. Built of temporary frame construction , theses camp service structures included five mess halls, six storehouses, latrines, and administration, post exchange, and cold-storage buildings. Magazines, a swimming pool, and several other necessary masonry structures were also built. Water supply was taken from the East High Line Canal of the Imperial Irrigation District, which bordered the camp site.

Greater Divisional Training Facilities

the military operations that lay ahead was beginning to be appreciated by the American people. The two divisions of Marines which had been formed before the war began would clearly be inadequate for the tasks that lay ahead in the Pacific. Additional divisions would have to be formed and trained, and the facilities for divisional training would have to be greatly expanded. The First Division, which had practically completed its training at Camp lejeune, was about ready to leave for the Pacific theater, making that establishment available to receive a new division, but the accommodations at the East Coast station were not adequate to take the training load that was to be imposed upon it under the revised plans for Corps expansion. Moreover, on the West Coast, the training of the Second Division had disclosed the inadequacies of Camp Elliott and the other establishments in the San Diego area for the double task of recruit and divisional training a new station, similar to Lejeune, was obviously needed.

Enlargement of Camp Lejeune. -- On April 15, an expansion of Camp Lejeune, to accommodate nearly 20,000 more men, was put under way. To begin with, the permanent facilities in the main divisional area were extended by the development of a fifth regimental area, and an eleven-ward hospital and a barracks area for post troops were built. The new regimental area involved the construction of twelve more 250-man barracks, three mess halls, a post exchange, and other auxiliary buildings and utilities of permanent design. Next, a second tent camp was constructed, adjoining Tent Camp No. 1, consisting of 667 of the 16-man composition-board portable huts that had first been used in the San Diego enlargement, together with 44 frame warehouses, 2 mess halls, a recreation building, washrooms, and the like. A new tank battalion camp and a special camp for the emergency training of Coast Guard personnel and the training of Marines in amphibious warfare were also constructed, using portable huts, 89 for the Marines and 71 for the Coast Guard. The huts, in various combinations, were also used to provide mess halls and other auxiliary facilities.

In July, Camp Lejeune's temporary troop housing capacity was again increased by the erection at Montford Point, of another "tent" camp consisting of 150 of the portable huts, together with service buildings and utilities.

Development of Camp Pendleton. -- The basic plans for the new divisional training area to be established on the West Coast, as proposed by the Commanding General in February 1942 1942, called for facilities to accommodate and train a full infantry division, reinforced by an additional infantry regiment, approximately 20,000 men, and it was considered desirable that the new establishment be capable of future expansion to the extent of 50 percent. In addition to the housing facilities that would be needed for the division personnel, the plan called for the installation of the facilities necessary to provide training in the use of all weapons used by a division, a protected boat basin to accommodate amphibious assault equipment, and an airfield to permit training of ground troops in coordinated air-ground warfare.

In March, the Santa Margarita Ranch, a 1970 square mile tract of land on the coast, 40 miles north of San Diego, was acquired for the new training establishment, the only large piece of undeveloped coastland in the region. Its topography was highly varied, including numerous canyons well suited for artillery and rocket ranges, extensive areas of rugged terrain and mesa land, and 17 miles of beach.

Work on the new station, named Camp Pendleton, was begun in early April. Although in general layout, capacity, and purpose, it bore a close resemblance to Camp Lejeune, Camp Pendleton was considered a temporary facility and was built to minimum standards throughout. Characteristically, its structures were of wood frame where Camp Lejeune's principal elements had been built of concrete, steel, and brick.

Pendleton's main divisional area was developed during the summer of 1942 for three infantry regiments, a service troops regiment, and a special troops regiment, in addition to headquarters troops. As at Camp Lejeune, each of these regiments was accommodated in an area of its own, improved by the erection of the requisite number of barracks, mess halls, administration and service buildings, storehouses, and recreational facilities. In the aggregate, for these five regiments and the headquarters group, 68 barracks, 19 mess halls, 39 storehouses, 5 dispensaries, and 6 theaters were built, together with the necessary roads and water, sewer, power, and telephone lines. Construction effort was concentrated at the beginning on the facilities for one of the infantry regiments and for the service troops regiment, and quarters for these

School Buildings at Farragut

elements of the division were usably complete by August 15.

In addition to these accommodations in the main divisional area, three 5,000-man tent-camp areas were developed, involving the installation of camp roads, water lines, and sewers and the erection of latrines. It was intended that troops using these areas would live under field conditions, bringing with them their tentage and camp equipment.

The tent camps were so located as to serve three similar groups of combat and qualification ranges, laid out and equipped for rifle, machine gun, and mortar firing, and to facilitate training in small-arms combat, use of grenades and bayonets, and in other infantry tactics. The ranges extended almost the full length of the station, about 19 miles but in the location of each range maximum advantage was taken of features of the terrain.

The airfield construction included a 6,000-foot runway, 400 feet wide, a taxiway, and a warm-up apron, 50,000-gallon gasoline storage capacity, and an operations building. In November 1942, the airfield was ready for use.

The boat basin called for by the plans for the station was located just north of Oceanside, in the slough between the Santa Margarita and the San Luis Rey rivers. When completed, the harbor provided a sheltered basin, 900 feet by 1,200 feet and 12 feet deep, equipped with piers, quay walls, and a 30-ton stiff-leg crane.

In early September, construction of facilities for an artillery regiment was begun, to add to the regimental developments under way in the main division area. The new regimental facilities included 13 more barracks, 5 more mess halls, 10 more storehouses, and other service buildings and utilities. Also, during the fall months of 1942, the personnel housing capacity of the boat-basin area was quadrupled by the addition of three more barracks and a mess hall.

At about the same time, to round out the big training establishment, construction was begun on

a 600-bed hospital, consisting of 20 one-story wood-frame-and-siding wards, an administration building built of similar materials, a warehouse, and other supporting structures.

Camp Pendleton was commissioned on September 25, 1942, with President Roosevelt participating in the ceremony. A few days later, the first contingent of the using forces arrived and occupied buildings completed in the division area.

Increase in recruit-training capacity. -- While Camp Pendleton was being constructed and Camp Lejeune enlarged during the summer of 1942, the capacity of the recruit-training station at Parris Island was also being increased. The drill field was paved 63 platoon-size barracks were added a dental clinic building was constructed and a number of other improvements to the station were provided. At Quantico and Camp Elliott, school capacity was moderately enlarged by the erection of temporary structures.

In addition to the temporary school buildings at Camp Elliott, there was constructed during the summer of 1942 a base supply depot to support Marine units staging through the San Diego area, for the storage facilities at the San Diego main base were no longer adequate for the purpose.

The new facility comprised six large warehouses, erected on a 193-acre tract adjoining the eastern boundary of the station. A spur track was laid to connect with the railroad 6 miles away. Most of the land of the depot was assigned to open storage, for which paving was the only construction operation necessary.

At Camp Mathews, the Corps' new artillery training base, 32 more platoon-size frame barracks were erected, enlarging the station's housing capacity by about 2,200 billets, together with the necessary additional mess halls, galleys, and storehouses.

By the end of 1942, nearly all the new facilities necessary for Marine Corps training were either completed and in service or under contract and well under way. The First Marine Division, trained at Camp Lejeune, had been in action since it had stormed the beaches of Guadalcanal on August 7, and the facilities it had vacated at the New River establishment were accommodating the Third Division. The Second Division, formed and trained on the West Coast, was at Pearl Harbor, training further and awaiting assignment to a forward area. Defense battalions were stationed on Midway, Johnston, and Palmyra islands. The Corps consisted of nearly a quarter of a million officers and men and was growing by 10,000 or more a month.

During the first half of 1943, however, some minor enlargements had to be undertaken at several of the training stations. At Camp Mathews an additional 65-target rifle range was added in January. In February, Camp Elliott was increased in capacity by about 1,500 billets, by the construction of a satellite camp, to be used as a snipers' school, comprising six two-story frame barracks and the necessary auxiliary structures. During the same month, 19 platoon-size barracks of frame construction were built at Camp Lejeune, providing accommodations for 1,400 more men and raising the overall capacity of the East Coast Divisional training center to about 42,000 men. At Camp Pendleton, the hospital capacity was practically doubled by the construction of 18 more wards, accompanied by other building additions necessitated by the enlargement.

Facilities for the Women's Reserve. -- In November 1942, the Women's Reserve of the Marine Corps was organized. The first classes of this new organization were given training in conjunction with the WAVES, at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., and at Hunter College, New York, N.Y., but in the summer of 1943, Camp Lejeune was designated as the principal training center. The first group of officers arrived in June and was followed by the initial contingent of enlisted personnel in July.

To accommodate these women, an entirely new area of the camp was developed, beginning in April. Built of brick, steel, and concrete, and conforming to the architectural pattern of the other permanent structures already built, the new facility was capable of housing 1,600 recruits and 160 officer trainees. It comprised eight barracks, two officers' quarters, four storehouses, a mess hall, an administration building, a dispensary, and a recreation unit. Such special features as laundry rooms, ironing boards, extra outlets for electric irons, and comfortably equipped lounge rooms struck an unaccustomed note in Marine Corps construction. The recreation building was equipped to serve as an auditorium, a post exchange, a soda fountain, and a beauty parlor.

As the members of the Women's Reserve completed their training and gradually took over assignments theretofore held by men, new housing facilities suitable for women had to be constructed

Recreation Building, Great Lakes
Pleasing effect achieved with temporary construction.

at many of the naval shore establishments, including the training stations of the Marine Corps. Construction to care for 800 was undertaken at San Diego and for an equal number at Quantico in July 1943, and in August another 800 were provided for at Parris Island. At Camp Pendleton, ten small barracks, originally used by the construction forces, were remodeled and combined into five barracks.

Enlargement in amphibious training facilities. -- Beginning in the fall of 1943, the boat basin and amphibious training facilities at Camp Pendleton became the focus of renewed construction activity. In September, work was put under way for the deepening of the approach channel through the barrier reef to accommodate larger craft.

In November 1943, the Marines in the South Pacific stormed the beaches of Tarawa. The assault was successful but costly. Shortly thereafter, training in amphibious operations became a top-priority item so that there might be the greatest profit derived from experiences gained in the Gilberts. The amphibious training facilities at Camp Pendleton were enormously expanded, to ten times their earlier capacity. This development was begun in February 1944, and was carried on into the fall of that year. It embodied a combination of temporary frame barracks and quonset huts, affording housing accommodations for 9,000 enlisted men and 600 officers. During the sumer of 1944, these amphibious training facilities were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Navy and became an adjunct to the Naval Amphibious Training Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, at Coronado, Calif.

Course (1) WAG: October 28 - November 23, 1940

+(R/53359) Thomas James Wills Jr. - 90 Sqn. +Arthur William Abbott, William Morton Arbuckle (DFC) +(R63683) Albert Birchall - 15 Sqn.

+(11620) Jack Standish Banks - DFM 9 Sqn., remustered to pilot receiving his wings at No. 5 SFTS Brantford in 1942. Killed in flying accident No. 20 (P) AFU +(R/65764) Ivan Paul Einarson - KIFA 205 Sqn., Muskoka (R53757 - J16073) Henry (James) Forster Kerr - DFM, Russell, Ontario

No. 1 Wireless School, Montreal: Wills, Birchall, Kerr

No. 1 ANS Rivers (Co. 3): Einarson

Veterans Day: 100 Vintage Photos Of Black Soldiers Fighting Foreign Wars For America

UPDATED: 6:00 a.m. ET, Nov. 11, 2020 —

A s the country observes Veterans Day, it’s important to remember that the history of especially Black people in the American military is a complicated one. On its surface, it’s yet another one of the countless ways that Black people have helped build this country and keep it safe. However, beneath that veneer lies some ugly truths that haunt the U.S. military’s legacy to this day.

And while much of that has to do with Black soldiers‘ time enlisted in the armed forces, the way that Black veterans have largely been treated has been the subject of much scrutiny since Crispus Attucks became the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War.

During the War of 1812, Black soldiers helped defeat the British in New Orleans. By the end of the Civil War, 10 percent of the union forces were Black. The 54th regiment, which was an all-Black fighting unit, was immortalized in the movie “Glory” and fought a number of important battles, eventually losing more than half of its troops. Two of Frederick Douglass’ sons also fought in the Civil War and Harriet Tubman severed as a scout for the 2nd South Carolina Volunteers.

During World War I, Black soldiers were given full citizenship, although they still fought in segregated units. Many credit Black soldiers for bringing jazz music to Europe and France.

In World War II, Black soldiers had an increased presence. The NAACP pushed for the War Department to form the all-Black 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps, otherwise known as the Tuskegee Airmen, the only U.S. unit to ever sink a German destroyer. Like the 54th Regiment, the Tuskegee Airmen were immortalized in a movie of the same name.

The Marines first opened themselves to Black volunteers in 1942. To the dismay of the Marines, only 63 African Americans joined.

Lieutenant Colonel Campbell C. Johnson, a Black officer, decided that he would actively recruit Black Marines. Due to his efforts, African Americans began joining the Marines at a rate of more than 1,000 a month in 1943.

Despite the opposition to the Vietnam war from Black leaders and athletes like Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali, many Black soldiers both volunteered and were drafted to fight in the Vietnam war. Colin Powell joined the ROTC at City College and would go on to be a captain in Vietnam, later becoming a major. Powell would go on to be National Security Adviser (1987–1989), Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Forces Command (1989), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993) and eventually the Secretary of State for President George W. Bush in 2001.

While that Black history in the American military is undeniable, so is what the Equal Justice Initiative reminded readers was how Black soldiers returning home “were more likely to face discrimination, disrespect, violence, and even death.” According to the New Yorker, much of that treatment was blamed on white people who “speculated that, while stationed in Europe, black soldiers had enjoyed wartime liaisons with white French women, increasing their lust—which, in the white imagination, was already dangerously high—for sex with white American women.”

On top of that, research from the Department of Veterans Affairs found that “African-American and Hispanic Veterans said they had more negative experiences in obtaining access to health care than whites.”

With that rich history in mind, scroll down to see dozens of vintage images of Black soldiers fighting foreign wars for the United States Of America.

1. Black Pilots Sharing Stories


Pilots from the all-black fighter squadron share stories after a raid. The pilots are (from left to right): Lt. Herbert Clark, Lt. Robert Roberts, Lt. Willie Fuller, Lt. William Campbell, Lt. Herbert Carter, and Lt. Erwin B. Lawrence. All the pilots attended Tuskegee University.

2. Eleanor Roosevelt Awarding the Soldier’s Medal


First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt pins the Soldier’s Medal on Private Sam Morris at a ceremony in Seattle in April 1943. Morris saved the lives of several people trapped in a burning packing plant when a bomber crashed into the building.

3. Black Troops Working Howitzer


Negro troops of a field artillery battery emplace a 155MM Howitzer in France during World War II in 1944. They were following the advance of the infantry and were setting up this new position.

4. Group Watching Parade Of Black Infantry


Group watching the parade of the 369th Colored Infantry — also known as the Harlem Hell Fighters — in New York City in 1919.

5. Soldier Laughing During Drill


A soldier is shown laughing during a gas mask drill in World War I.

6. Our Colored Heroes World War I Poster


7. Troops Seated, Reading Letter


Members of a 105-mm gun battery on the Fifth Army front in Italy catch up on the mail from home between spurts of action. Left to right are Romie Hall, Kingston, N.C., Pvt. John Hogue, Shelby, N.C, who is sharing his letter with his buddies, and Copr. William Bennett, Camden, N.J. Nov. 14, 1944.

8. Black Troops In Human Chain Recover Body


Members of the all-Black 92nd division of the U. S. Fifth Army found the bullet-riddled body of a buddy floating in this stream on Nov. 14, 1944, in Italy. To recover the body and give it a proper burial, they formed this human chain up the steep bank.

9. Tuskegee Airmen Waving on Gangway


Seven New York and New Jersey servicemen from the 16-member 99th Pursuit Squadron arrive at La Guardia Airport aboard a Trans-Atlantic ATC plane. The Squadron was the first all African American combat unit activated as a part of the 15th Air Force in Italy. (L-R) Sgt. Leon W. Coles, John H. Turner, Sgt. Robert T. Howard, Leonard R. Brewer, Sgt. Charles Davis, Sgt. Charles D. Hensley, and Sgt. Julius C. Lovett.

10. American Soldiers Crossing a River


American soldiers cross a river on the island of Bougainville carrying artillery shells on their way back to the front.

11. African American Soldiers on Anti-Aircraft Battery


An American anti-aircraft battery is manned entirely by Negro soldiers near the front lines above Venafar, Italy, on Jan. 9, 1944. Front row, left to right, Pvt. George H. Renick of Philadelphia, PA, Pvt. Walter West of Detroit, MI (rear) Sgt. Edweard Kemp, Jr. of Knoxville, TN, Pvt. Archie Jenkins of Greenville, MS and Pvt. Howard McKenney of Louisville, KY.

12. African American Soldier Shooting at Enemy


One of the Negro soldiers of the American 93rd Division fires from a prone position in the South Pacific on July 14, 1944. This is the first time that “colored” ground troops were used in combat in this theater.

13. Black Woman Being Inducted Into Waves


Miss Jane Freeman, 22, of Roxbury, MA, is taking the oath as a Navy WAVE at district headquarters in Boston. She is being sworn in by Captain D. Causey, USN (retired) director of the Office of Naval Officer Procurement. Miss Freeman is the first African Americans enlisted WAVE in the New England area to be inducted.

14. Heroic Black Sailors Posing with Gun


(Original Caption) 7/28/1945- Six Negro steward’s mates who received Bronze Stars for heroism are pictured on the U.S.S. Intrepid, grouped about the gun which they manned until a Japanese ‘Kamikaze’ suicide dive bomber ploughed into their position. Their courage and skill were cited as being in keeping with the Navy’s highest traditions. The men are: Johnell Copeland ,19, Que Gant, 22, James Eddie Dockery, 38, Alonzo Alexander Swann, Jr.,19, and Eli Benjamin, 20.

15. Troops Playing Cards on Ship


(Original Caption) 8/3/1942-ATLANTIC CONVOY- Somewhere on the Atlantic… Negro troops en route to the British Isles have plenty of time on their hands and these few lads choose to pass it in a game of chance. The third on the right seems to be debating whether or nor to take another card. We hope he filled his straight.

16. Two Soldiers Washing Clothes


The photographer surprised these two Fifth Avenue GIs, James L. Stintson of New York and Raymond C. Jones, cooperating on a laundry project on the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead. The boys take advantage of a sunny day to wash and dry their spare duds.

17. African Am Trooper @ Parachute Training


(Original Caption) 2/24/1944-Fort Benning, GA- In training as to how to descend upon the enemy are these Negro paratroopers at Fort Benning. Landing from the mock tower in the ‘B’ stage of paratroop training is Corporal Elijah H. Wesby of Philadelphia. Sergeant Roger S. Walden of Detroit lends an assisting hand.

18. Two Black Soldiers Seated W/Rifles


(Original Caption) 3/1944-Italy: Pvt. Jackson Brown of Dele, SC, and Pvt. Roy Williams of Savannah, GA, sit and enjoy the sunshine at the entrance to an air raid shelter of the Anzio-Nettuno beachhead. They are members of the Fifth Arvy forces holding the bulge against Nazi onslaughts.

19. Soldiers Seated in Camp


(Original Caption) 4/16/1944-Italy: Relaxed in their cave quarters, refuge against enemy shells, at the Anzio beachhead in Italy are Pfc. George H. Todd, Great Neck, NY, and Pvt. Edward Prince, Buffalo, NY, Negro soldiers attached to the U.S. Fifth Army. Pvt. Prince proudly shows a photo of his wife.

20. Harry Moore in Parade


(Original Caption) 4/5/1919-Boston, MA – Sergeant Harry Moore of the 372nd Colored Infantry riding in the parade of the regiment in Boston. The sergeant has been in the army for thirty-one years and has won several medals for valor. He served with the regiment in France.

21. Soldiers Marching with Machine Gun Sign


(Original Caption) 1919-Boston, MA- Color bearers of 372nd Colored infantry in parade at Boston, MA. Undated WWI photograph depicting African American soliers marching holding a ‘machine gun’ sign.

22. Soldiers Group During WWII


(Original Caption) 1942-African American soldiers at Normandy fire. Photo depicts a group of soldiers standing full length.

23. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. in Cockpit


Captain Benjamin O. Davis in the cockpit of a training aircraft in 1942. The following year he organized the 332nd Fighter Group, the ‘Tuskegee Airmen’. Davis eventually was promoted to General, the first African American Air Force general. His father was the first black general in the U.S. Army.

24. African American Soldiers Cutting Wood During World War II


African American soldiers on a wood cutting expedition in the winter during World War II.

25. The Arrival Of 369Th Regiment Nyc


(Original Caption) The arrival of the 369th Black infantry regiment in New York after World War I. Undated photograph.

26. African American Troops Marching Up Fifth Avenue


(Original Caption) New York, NY: World War I: The all black 15th regiment parading up Fifth Avenue, New York City, en route to an Army camp in New York State. Undated photograph.

27. World War I African American Soldiers


(Original Caption) World War I: Sergeants of the 369th, Negro Regiment: J. H. Jones, R, Flower, C. E. Davis, J. White, J. H. Carmen, S. C. Farrell, B. Lucas, H. L. Printer, E. N. Barrington. (Original Caption)

28. Black Military Engineers Line For Lunch


(Original Caption) Negro members of an engineer battalion in Algeria in line for noon hour mess, World War II, Undated photograph.

29. Cigarette Table At Dinner For Infantry


(Original Caption) 2/17/1919-New York, NY: Men from the 369th Colored Infantry are served chicken dinner at the 71st Regiment Armory after the parade.

30. Soldiers Seated and Read Letters


(Original Caption) 4/16/1944-Italy: Sgt. Charles Glasco, Westchester, PA (l) and Sgt. Audrey Barnes, Chicago, IL, read mail from home in their cave shelters on the Anzio beachhead in Italy. The cave shelters are a refuge against enemy shells.

31. African American Infantrymen with Dead SS Trooper


(Original Caption) 4/17/1945-Germany- Two Negro infantrymen with their captain, all of the 104th First Army Division, stand alert while the captain looks over the body of an SS trooper they killed as he ran across the field. Pictured (L to R) are PFC Donald Bess of Hot Springs, Arkansas Captain Larry Wolfe of Staten Island, New York and Private James D. Ferguson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

32. Soldiers Sharing Letter


(Original Caption) 3/1944-Italy: Greater love hath no man than that he share his mail from home with his buddy. Pfc. James Lang, of Carrolton, AL, and Jerome Taggart of Philadelphia are sharing a letter here on the beachhead below Rome. They are members of the Fifth Army forces holding the Anzio-Nettuno bulge.

33. Bible Class Army Ymca African Am Wwi


(Original Caption) Travis, TX- Bible Class, Army YMCA Building NO.1, Camp Travis, TX. African American Y Secretary teaching class of men from first group 165th Depot Brigade. Notice the upside down book in the front row middle near teacher. undated WWI photograph.

34. Black Troops Coming Ashore


(Original Caption) 5/2/1944-Dutch New Guinea: American Negro troops come ashore through the open bow doors of an LST, jammed up on the beach in the Hollandia area of the Dutch New Guinea Coast, during the invasion which caught the Japs off guard there. Three important Nip airfields are now in Allied hands in that sector.

35. Officer Receives Service Cross Honor


(Original Caption) 3/31/45-Detroit, Michigan: Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Bastion, commander of the Percy Jones General Hospital, pins the distinguished Service Cross on Capt. Charles Thomas, commander of a tan destroyer company in France, for extraordinary heroism in action. Capt. Thomas hails from Detroit where he was employed by the Ford Motor Company before the war. U.S. Signal Corps photo.

36. Bill Robinson In Military Uniform


(Original Caption) Bill Robinson, in World War I military uniform, strikes a dance pose on stage. Undated photograph.

37. Black Soldier Cleaning Rifle


(Original Caption) 8/3/1942-Somewhere on the Atlantic: This Negro rifleman one of a contingent en route to the British Isles, is shown cleaning his rifle on board ship. The cleanliness of this instrument of war may decide whether or not the owner lives a ripe old age or not.

38. World War Ii French Soldiers Give Candy


(Original Caption) World War II French soldiers fill the hands of American Negro soldiers with candy in Rouffach, France, after the closing of the Colmar pocket. Photograph 1945.

39. Black Pilots Return To U.S.


(Original Caption) 12/24/1944-New York: Homr on leave after flying with the 99th Fighter Squadron, fameed all Negro flying group, Captains, Charles B. Hall (Right) of Brazil, Ind., and Lemuel R. Custis, Hartford, CT., are devoting their furloughs to the sale of war bonds. Both Pilots have flown in the Mediterranean Theater, and Captain Hall has been awarded the distinguished Flying Cross. Through the two flyers The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has purchased $40,000 in war bonds during the Fifth War Loan Drive.

40. First All-Black Combat Unit


Personnel from the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first all-black combat unit, wave after arriving from Casablanca.

41. Tuskegee Airmen in Italy


(Original Caption) World War II Negro troops in Italy.

42. African American Wacs


Group of African American members of the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) posing for a group photo in uniform during World War 2, 1940. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images).

43. Keep Us Flying! Buy War Bonds, WWII Tuskeegee Airman Poster


US WWII bond poster showing portrait of African American pilot, member of Tuskeegee airmen in flight uniform. 1943 U.S. Treasury Poster (Photo by David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images)

44. Pvt. Joe Louis Says Poster


Pvt. Joe Louis Says Poster (Photo by David Pollack/Corbis via Getty Images)

45. Benjamin O. Davis Next to P-47 Thunderbolt


Benjamin O. Davis, commander of the 332nd Fighter Group, stands next to a Republic P-47 fighter. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

46. Segregated Black Marines on Iwo Jima


Segregated Black Marines on Iwo Jima (Photo by © Joseph Schwartz/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

47. Workers On Lunch Break


Black and white photograph of a group of African-American workers for an Emergency Defense Office, a United States federal emergency war agency set up to coordinate state and federal measures for protection of civilians in case of war emergency, housing construction job, during lunch break, standing around and sitting on large pipes, Washington, DC, December, 1941. From the New York Public Library. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

48. African-American soldiers in WWI


African-American soldiers of the 369th (15th N.Y.) regiment, who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action in WWI. Unknown photographer, 1919, silver print. (Photo by VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty Images)

49. 369Th Colored Infantry On Parade


(Original Caption) 2/1919-New York, NY: 369th Colored Infantry parade down 5th Avenue. Regiment colors on display passing review stand.

50. African American Sailor


Portrait of an African American man smiling and standing in front of a wooden platform, he is a member of the United States Navy in World War 1 and is wearing his full uniform, his arms are bent and behind his back, 1917. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

51. African American Soldiers


Caucasian and African-American soldiers aboard a United States Navy vessel during World War 1, 1918. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

52. Us Soldiers Testing Gas Masks


World War 1 US Signal Corps members performing regular inspection and testing of gas masks African American soldiers standing around higher ranked officers wearing gas masks, 1917. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

53. African American Soldier


African American soldier standing in front of a board of signs in Cheppy, France after the Battle of Verdun that took place during World War I, two military men are standing to the side, there is a crumbling building in the background, France, 1918. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

54. African American Wwi Soldiers


African American soldiers in World War I, four men, two seated, two standing, all wearing uniforms, facing the camera and using cooking equipment, neutral facial expressions, 1917. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

55. World War I 10th Cavalry


Full landscape shot of American soldiers in the 10th cavalry during World War 1, most African American, wearing uniforms, two rows of men, first row kneeling wit some men holding small bouquets of flowers, neutral and happy facial expressions, 1917. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

56. 24th Us Infantry Passing Through Ny


24th US Infantry passing through Watertown, New York African-American World War I United States Soldiers carrying guns on shoulders, dressed in uniforms, 1917. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

57. African American Soldiers


African American soldiers with neutral expressions, some of whom carry weaponry, stand in rows outdoors, 1915. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

58. African American Sailor


Three-quarters length portrait of an African American World War I US Navy sailor, seated, wearing uniform, neutral facial expression, 1920. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

59. WW1 African American Soldier


Half portrait of an African American World War I soldier, wearing a double-breasted jacket and helmet, neutral facial expression, 1920. (Photo by JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images).

60. Parade of Vietnam Veterans


This was the parade they never had: ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’, as their fathers had after WWII and earlier. Vietnam veterans march down Constitution Avenue toward the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which would be dedicated later that day. The South Carolina dedication marches toward the camera. (Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

61. African-American Soldiers at London Dance Hall


African-American soldiers and local girls dance to swing music at Bouillabaisse on New Compton Street, one of just a few London nightclubs that admitted colored people. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

62. U.S. Troops in England


African American U.S. soldiers listen to a presentation at their posting in England midway through World War II. (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

63. Playing Piano


Sergeant Franklin Williams singing with his sister, Sarah, his girlfriend Ellen Hardin, and his brother, Thomas, (l to r) while his sister Annetta plays piano. Baltimore, Maryland, May 1942. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

64. Two Soldiers


Two Negro soldiers in Columbus, Ohio. December 1940. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

65. Rolling Field Equipment


Sergeant Franklin Williams rolling field equipment in the barracks. Fort Bragg, North Carolina, March 1942. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

66. Soldiers in Jeep


Negro soldiers stationed at Fort Harrison, Helena, Montana. March 1942. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

67. Nazis Captured in the Forest


An African-American soldier of the 12th Armored Division stands guard over a group of Nazi prisoners captured in the surrounding German forest. April 1945. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

68. American Officers Pose With Young Girl


Officers of the ‘Buffalos,’ 367th Infantry, 92nd Division in France, ca. 1918. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

69. 1st Army Post Band


1st Army Post Band (Colored) — Souilly, France, 1918. | Location: Souilly, France. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

70. Negro Officers


Group of recently appointed Negro officers. Eleven of these men were recently appointed to the temporary rank of Ensign D-V(S), and one to Warrant Officer, USNR. February 1944. | Location: inside building. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

71. Coast Guardsmen


Crew members who man the 20 MM guns of a Coast Guard fighting ship have won an enviable reputation for gunnery results, due primarily to incessant practice in assembly and operation. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

72. African American Soldiers in France


Negro troops in France. Part of the 15th Regiment Infantry, New York National Guard organized by Colonel Haywood, which has been under fire, ca. 1918. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

73. African-American Naval Recruits


A Company of Negro recruits which has been entered in to the ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Great Lakes, Ill. Naval Training Station. The ‘hall’ is to honor first-rate recruits. August 1943. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

74. 369th Colored Infantry Returns Home


Members of the famous 369th Colored Infantry, formerly 15th N.Y. regulars, arrive in New York City. ‘Back to little old New York.’ 1919. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

75. Women Honor Their Soldiers


Colored women open a club to care for their men in the service and honor men about to leave for camps. Newark, New Jersey, ca. 1918. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

76. Negro Sailors of the USS Mason


Negro Sailors of the USS Mason commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1944 proudly look over their ship, which is the first to have a predominantly Negro crew. | Location: ship dock, USA. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

77. Pfc. Warren Capers, Medic


Pfc. Warren Capers was recommended for a Silver Star when he and other members of his medical detachment set up a dressing station, aiding over 300 soldiers on a beachhead on D-Day. August 18, 1944. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

78. Negro Seabees


The Negro Seabees, members of Naval Construction Battalions, whose training center is at Camp Allen and Camp Bradford, near Norfolk, Virginia, are trained in landing tactics as well as in general military drill, ca. 1942. | Location: near Camp Allen and Camp Bradford in Norfolk, Virginia. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

79. Wartime Couple Sharing a Soda


Sgt. Franklin Williams, home on leave from army duty, splits a soda with his best girl Ellen Hardin. They met at Douglass High School. Baltimore, Maryland, May, 1942. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

80. 93rd Infantry Division in Training


The 93rd Infantry Division reactivated May 15, 1942, was the first African-American division to be formed during World War II. 2nd Lt. Arthur Bates waits for zero hour to give the command to attack. Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 1942. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

81. Enlisted Personnel During World War I


Quartette of 301st Stevedore Regiment attached to the 23rd Engineers in Legney, France during World War I. | Location: Legney, France. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

82. American Air Force Crew


An African American flight crew and their plane, somewhere in the Mediterranean during World War II. Feb. 3, 1944. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

83. African American Cadets Receive Salute


African American cadet pilots receive a salute from a white officer. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

84. Returning Officers


Officers of the 369th (old New York City) and 370th (Illinois) Infantries return home from France wearing the Cross of War. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

85. African-American Soldiers Exercising


A group of African-American soldiers in a cantonment behind the lines of the Marne front, France, exercise before going to the front. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

86. Negro sailor, of the USS Mason. The first US Navy ship to have a predominantly Negro Crew. March 20, 1944


Negro sailors, of the USS Mason (DE-529). The first US Navy ship to have a predominantly Negro Crew. March 20, 1944 (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

87. African American Solider in Jungle


African American Solider in Jungle (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

88. Corporal Holds Good Luck Picture


A portrait of Corporal Fred McIntyre of the 369th Infantry. He displays a framed photo of Kaiser Wilhelm II that he carries around for luck. Ca. 1917-1918. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

89. Stewards mates passing time the evening before battle at Manila with a card game in their bunk room. November, 1944.


Stewards mates passing time the evening before battle at Manila with a card game in their bunk room. November, 1944. | Location: Manila. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

90. Members of the 99th Fighter Group of the Army Air Forces famous all-Negro outfit, pose for a picture at the Anzio beachh


Members of the 99th Fighter Group of the Army Air Forces famous all-Negro outfit, pose for a picture at the Anzio beachhead. In the foreground, is 1st Lt. Andrew Lane. February 17, 1944. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

91. Black Air Force Pilots in World War II


African American pilots of a P-51 Mustang fighter group, members of the 15th U.S. Army Air Force, are briefed for a mission at a base in Italy. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

92. African-American Troops, Portrait Near Tents and American Flag, circa 1917


African-American Troops, Portrait Near Tents and American Flag, circa 1917. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

93. African-American Troops, World War I, circa 1917


African-American Troops, World War I, circa 1917. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

94. World War I: African-American soldier.


World War I: African-American soldier seated behind table, pencil in hand, with two hats on table. (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)

95. African American band members on the U.S.S. Philippine.


African American band members on the U.S.S. Philippine, during voyage to the United States from Brest, France, 1919. (Photo by: Photo12/UIG via Getty Images)

96. Soldiers Waiting for Train, Pennsylvania Station, New York City, New York


Soldiers Waiting for Train, Pennsylvania Station, New York City, New York, USA, Marjorie Collins for Office of War Information, August 1942. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

97. Boxing Match, Part of Physical Training Program, Air Service Command, Daniel Field


Boxing Match, Part of Physical Training Program, Air Service Command, Daniel Field, Georgia, USA, by Jack Delano for Office of War Information, July 1943. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

98. Driver of Jeep of a Reconnaissance Unit, Fort Riley, Kansas


Driver of Jeep of a Reconnaissance Unit, Fort Riley, Kansas, USA, by Jack Delano for Office of War Information, April 1942. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

99. Nurses In The Southwest Pacific


A contingent of fifteen nurses arrive in the Southwest Pacific area after receiving their first batch of home mail at their station at the 268th Station Hospital in Australia, November 29, 1943. Image courtesy National Archives. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

100. Black American Nurses


Black American nurses commissioned second lieutenants in the United States Army Nurses Corps limber up their muscles in an early morning workout during an advanced training course at a camp in Australia, February, 1944. Image courtesy National Archives. (Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).