Several new vacancies in the Marine Corps Platoon Leader Class (open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) and the Officer Candidate Class (open to seniors and graduate students) were announced last night by Lt. Col. Alexander A. Elder USMC, associate professor of Naval Science. Both programs confer draft exemption, Elder said.
Upon completion of either program, students receive commissions as Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Contrary to rumor, Elder declared, newly commissioned Second Lieutenants do not automatically become "cannon fodder." He revealed that a recent survey of the latest Officer Candidate Class showed that of 515 duty assignments, only 116 were sent to replacement centers in California, the others receiving stateside billets or admission to specialist schools.
Elder pointed out that unlike the officer training programs of many other services, the Marine program counts any post commission schooling as active duty. Thus almost half of a two year tour of duty, the normal period for P.L.C. and O.C.C. graduates, may be served in training.
Unwillingness to enter the Air Force R.O.T.C.'s flight operations program at the College is part of a nation-wide lack of youthful enthusiasm for military flying, recent testimony before a Senate Armed Service subcommittee has pointed out.
In the local R.O.T.C. unit, only four out of 95 Air Science 2 students have indicated a desire to enroll in the flight program next year, while in the present AS 3 group only 11 out of about 45 cadets are in the flight operations group.
Most students here object to the length of service after graduation if they choose flying training. One year in flying school and three more years on active service are now required for this option, while the majority of students who are taking an air comptroller administrative course now will only have to serve two years of active service after graduation.
There is a possibility, however, that the flight operations program next year may be shortened to require only three or two years service after graduation. Local Air Force officers so far have no authority for an official statement but have indicated that they think this may happen.
In the national R.O.T.C. this year, only 750 out of the 6,700 graduates from the program have requested and been qualified for flight duty. Over 1,000 other applicants for flying training have been turned down for physical and other reasons. The eye requirement to enter flight school is rigidly enforced--20-20 uncorrected in both eyes. Other physical requirements are also stringent, but officials said that this is not the reason for so few applicants.