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The Army Reserve Officers Training Corps unit remained unfilled this week when only 82 freshmen enrolled in the 100 new places offered at mid-term. Colonel Charles P. Summerall, Jr., professor of Military Science and Tactics, announced yesterday that the Military Department had accepted 96 out of the 120 freshmen who applied, but that 14 of those had either changed their minds about R.O.T.C. or were prevented from enrolling by difficulties in shifting their courses.
This small number of applicants from the Class of '54 is surprising in view of the widespread desire to enter the reserves last fall. With the Air Force unit limited by the small number of instructors and the Naval R.O.T.C.'s size set by law throughout the nation, the administration and students have asked for an expanded Army corps at the College.
Even with the latest increase, the R.O.T.C. unit compares unfavorably with those in other colleges, according to a Student Council report. Proportionally fewer Harvard men are in R.O.T.C. units than at other colleges, and of these, fewer Harvard men receive draft deferments because of the R.O.T.C.
About 530 Princeton undergraduates--one-sixth of the College--and 325 Yale men are now studying Military Science while Harvard has only 200. The Army and Air Force defer 175 Princeton freshmen while only 98 are deferred in Cambridge.
Not So Tough All Over
At an even smaller school, Knox College in Illinois, one-half of the 560 students receive deferments. All of the students in first and second year courses at the Illinois school get deferred; here only 58 percent receive deferments.
These other colleges all allow upperclassmen to enter the basic courses while Harvard does not. With the exception of those who just came into the unit, all men who have joined the R.O.T.C. in Cambridge have applied within the first week of their freshmen year.
The present R.O.T.C. also is weak in comparison with past Harvard units. President Lowell helped to pioneer the idea for such units, and in 1918 the local group was one of the first in the country and one of the largest.
In 1940, Army R.O.T.C. showed the way to expand in emergencies. The size at College jumped from 360 to 520 men then. Sophomores were allowed to join the corps too; in fact, they could do so until 1947. Military Science instruction was given in half courses in order that new enrollments might take place at mid-year.
Today there are just 660 cadets in all three reserve groups at Harvard--256 in the Navy, 206 in the Air Force, and 198 in the Army. But the three units together make up the largest uniformed force at the College since the war. Most of the men are freshmen--more than a third of the total.
Last September the Navy alone turned down twice as many freshmen as it accepted. The field artillery battery would be three times its present size if it had not refused a mass of upperclassmen who tried to enter a year or more late. In the Air Force, the actual number accepted into Air Science 1, the freshman course, almost tripled over last year's total.
There are two kinds of R.O.T.C. students in the College today. One, the regular, is peculiar to the Navy, while contract students from the Air Force, the Army, and half of the Navy units.
Serve After Graduation
The regular students receive full scholarships to school from the Navy after competing in tough nation-wide exams. They are classified as midshipmen, much like those at Annapolis and must serve two years active duty in the Navy upon receiving their ensign's commissions at graduation.
Contract students are those who sign deferment agreements which protect them from the draft for four years. They are graduated as reservists subject only to call by the Secretary of Defense in case of emergencies. In their last two years, contract students are paid about $25 a month.
Most of the excitement of the R.O.T.C. courses comes in the summer months when the men go on training tours. In the winters, the semi-service life isn't as spectacular.
The artillerymen train at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for six weeks before their senior year. There they work out in the field tactical problems which they have done on paper and sand-table models through the winter. Live ammunition is brought up for the 105 m.m. howitzers which are used in dry runs at College. The soldiers live at camp with other members of the "Ivy League Battery."
Soft Sea Breezes
The Air Force has discontinued its summer program for all but a few. Although the Korean war may interfere with its plans this year, the Navy believes in sending its men to sea. Contract students take one cruise before their last year in College, in the past lasting three weeks and often going to some North American seaport such as Quebec.
Hawaii, Norway, France, or the Caribbean beckon the regular sailors who take three six-week summer cruises during their College careers. All the men perform regular shipboard duties at sea, but once ashore they try to duplicate Cambridge football weekends.
Men in the reserve units stick together outside of the classroom. Many extracurricular activities are sponsored by the groups themselves to keep up an esprit de corps. Rifle matches, basketball games, mimeographed tabloids, dances, and movies help relieve the monotony of the courses.
Upward and Onward
The history of the Harvard R.O.T.C. units goes back to an 864-man infantry regiment, established in 1916. President Lowell arranged for a mission of wounded French officers, including Andre Morize, now professor of French Literature, to come here to teach the latest battle tactics. Soon after, membership in undergraduate clubs was limited to those who could prove that they belonged to the voluntary regiment.
The Naval R.O.T.C. at Harvard was one of the first six in the country at its creation in 1926. The original six were the only college N.R.O.T.C. groups until after World War II when a 52-unit chain was set up over the country.
After the World War II programs ended, the present Army and Navy R.O.T.C. setups returned to Cambridge. The arrival of the Air Force in 1947 completed the lineup.
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