Detachment 600 at East Carolina

East Carolina and the AFROTC

 

Source: Records of the Air Force ROTC Program

Joyner Library Special Collections, University Archives #UA25-15.

Digitized version available online in Joyner Library’s Digital Collections.

Staff Person: Brooke Tolar

Description: Today’s post features a Daily Reflector Press Release draft concerning the establishment of Detachment 600 at East Carolina.  Cadets are currently working with this collection to curate an exhibit commemorating the 70th anniversary of the detachment’s founding.  Visit Joyner Library’s Digital Collections page to view digitized images of items featured in this post.

 

The Air Force and the ROTC

The Air Force ROTC is a program that trains cadets to become Air Force Officers while simultaneously earning a college degree.  The establishment of the United States Air Force and ROTC programs overlap and intertwine at several points. Technically, military training at designated institutions of higher learning (which would later transition into ROTC programs) began with the Land Grant Act of 1862.  Several decades later, the National Defense Act of 1916 officially created and named the Reserves Officer Training Corps (ROTC).  The Air Force, on the other hand, can trace its earliest roots to the Army Signal Corps which established an Aeronautical Division in 1907 and began testing its first airplane in 1908.  As a result, the Army formed a unit dedicated exclusively to aviation in 1913, sending its first air combat unit to the Mexican border in 1916 (the same year that the ROTC was officially named).

Founding Detachment 600

Although U.S. servicemen conducted warfare from the skies during WWI (1914-1918) and WWII (1939-1945), the United States Air Force was not established as a separate military service until 1947.  East Carolina Teachers College President, Dr. John Decatur Messick, and Lt. Col William Brown formed Detachment 600 the following year.  Brown, subsequently, became the detachment’s first commander. Demonstrating the sense of excitement and support surrounding this new venture, the initial 76 cadets formed a Cadet Club, a Rifle Team, and held the first detachment military ball that year.

Success for Detachment 600

Press Release

Advanced ROTC students attended a 6-week training camp in Orlando, Florida.

This Press Release draft, dated May 1949, emphasized the detachment’s successful first year. It went on to announce that thirty-three advanced students would be attending a six-week training summer camp in Orlando, Florida.  East Carolina’s students were to join five hundred others from fourteen additional institutions of higher education.  Anticipating further interest, the press release instructed applicants to write to the the College Registrar for more information.

As expected, interest in Detachment 600 increased over the coming years.  Enrollment numbers, for example, skyrocketed from 76 to 286 by 1949.  Additionally, the detachment succeeded in more than enrollment numbers.  In 1950, the Fourteenth Air Force rated the detachment “highly satisfactory,” after a two-day inspection. Subsequently, enrollment numbers increased during the 1950s and the 1960s when the detachment averaged a registration of nearly 300 cadets.

In 1958, East Carolina began offering a Flight Instruction Program that provided 36.5 hours of flying time and thirty-five hours of academic instruction.  As a result, certain cadets enjoyed new learning opportunities, enhancing their skills and experiences. Cadets in this program flew a 100 horsepower PA-12.

Angels and Detachment 600

Martha Van Hoy becomes the first female to fully enroll in Detachment 600.

Beginning in 1955, female students were allowed to enroll in Corps classroom work at East Carolina, but were not permitted to take part in drill.  In 1969, Ms. Martha Van Hoy became the first female to join Detachment 600, making the detachment one of five in the nation to accept women at that time. Certainly, Martha Van Hoy’s enrollment marked a major change in Air Force ROTC history.  Similarly, the Air Force itself was undergoing changes. The Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who trained and served during WWII received official military service status in 1977.

Detachment 600 and the Archives

This year, Detachment 600 is collaborating with the University Archives to install a student-curated exhibit.  Select members of the detachment have been conducting research, selecting artifacts, and training to install their first exhibit that will commemorate the 70th anniversary to the detachment’s founding. The exhibit will be installed in March of 2018.

Sources:
  • Reflector Press Release, May 1949. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville,
  • ECTC News Bureau Press Release, May 2, 1950. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • News Bureau of East Carolina College Press Release, October 21, 1959. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • “Sky Pirates,” 1955. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • Photograph of Martha Van Hoy, 1969. Records of Air Force ROTC. UA25-15. University Archives, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • “Overview.” Airforce.com.
  • “About AFROTC History.” Airforce.com.
  • “Air Force History.” Military.com.
  • “Female WWII Pilots: The Original Fly Girls.” National Public Radio Inc. March 9, 2010.
Sandra Bullock in The Three Sisters Program.

Sandra Bullock and the East Carolina Playhouse

The East Carolina Playhouse

Source: East Carolina University Archives UA28.01 

Staff Person: Brooke Tolar

Description: Today’s post features an original program for Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters as presented by the East Carolina Playhouse.  This 1985 production cast list includes future Oscar-winning Actress and ECU alumni, Sandra Bullock.  Visit Joyner Library’s Digital Collections page to view digitized images of items featured in this post.

Sandra Bullock in The Three Sisters Program.

Official Program for East Carolina Playhouse’s presentation of The Three Sisters featuring Sandra Bullock and Kevin Williamson.

The East Carolina Playhouse began as the Teachers Playhouse during the mid-1940s.  This campus organization was initially designed to “give its members practical experience” and “promote an enthusiasm for the drama in all its phases (1949 Tecoan, p. 105 https://digital.lib.ecu.edu/15354).”  Over the years, the Playhouse’s popularity increased, as did student participation.  Campus yearbooks often boasted successful seasons, paying homage to the actors and actresses involved.

Sandra Bullock and The Playhouse

Sandra Bullock enrolled at East Carolina University in the early 1980s, by which time the Playhouse served as a well-established campus organization.  She landed starring roles in several Playhouse productions during her college years.  In The Three Sisters, Bullock played Irina, the youngest of three Russian sisters seeking deliverance from unexceptional, small-town lives. Additionally, she starred as Jean in Stage Door (1983) and as Tiger Lily in Peter Pan (1985).  Interestingly, another noteworthy ECU alumni, future filmography icon Kevin Williamson, acted alongside Bullock in her 1985 Playhouse performances.

 

Photograph of Sandra Bullock playing Irene in The Three Sisters.

Image and cast list featured in the 1986 copy of The Buccaneer, p. 182.

Sandra Bullock in Stage Door.

Sandra Bullock (front and center) playing Jean in Stage Door. Image taken from the 1984 copy of The Buccaneer, p. 234.

 

 

Leo Jenkins on Guadalcanal

"Joe Cool on Guadalcanal."

“Joe Cool on Guadalcanal.”

Source:  Leo Jenkins papers, UA90-06

Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson

Description:  This image features Leo Warren Jenkins serving on Guadalcanal.  Born in Succasunna, New Jersey, Jenkins enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1942 upon completion of his doctoral degree at New York University.  For his distinguished service, Jenkins was awarded a Bronze Star and two presidential unit citations.  In 1947, Jenkins accepted the position of Dean of Men at then East Carolina Teachers College.  He succeeded John D. Messick as President of East Carolina College in 1960 and in 1967 he was designated as the first Chancellor of East Carolina University.  As president and chancellor, Jenkins oversaw major increases in student enrollment, the addition of a medical school, a major building campaign, and spearheaded the drive for university status.  Upon his retirement in 1978 he continued to serve the citizens of North Carolina as a special assistant for Economic Development for Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.  Jenkins passed away on January 14, 1989.  Ever proud of being a Marine, he once remarked, “…it has been brought to my attention that there are more Marines enrolled in this institution than in any other college or university in the world. This pleases me very much for I shall always be proud of my association with these men. Since revolutionary war days, it has always been said that once a Marine always a Marine. This will be my lasting honor.”

Flight Certificate

  • Source:  University Archives, Charles Price Papers (UA90-32-01-001)
  • Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson
  • Description:  This item from the University Archives served as notice that Charles Lewis Price was deemed fit to pilot aircraft in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.  Price was born in 1923 in Charlotte, NC where he attended King’s Business College before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1942.  Trained as a Naval Aviator, Price served as an active and reserve Marine Corps officer until 1953.  He joined the faculty of East Carolina College in 1957, teaching in the Department of History until his retirement in 1983.  He was honored that same year with the granting of emeritus status for his years of dedicated service.
UA90-32-01-001

Charles Price flight certificate

Alumni Day 1968

Source:  University Archives Image Collection (UA55-01-9775)

Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson

Description:  This image from the University Archives features the layout of J.Y. Joyner Library on Alumni Day in 1968.  Joyner Library was dedicated on March 8, 1955 as part of that year’s Founder’s Day celebrations.  The growing student body forced campus administrators to add air conditioning and two additional floors in 1964. From 1994-1999, a third major renovation added the rounded tower and Sonic Plaza which make Joyner among the most recognizable buildings on campus.  Its namesake, James Yadkin Joyner, was a career educator and served as state Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1902-1919.  He was instrumental in the modernization of the North Carolina public school system.

President Wright's Chapel Talk

Source: PresidentWright’s Chapel Talk CH1050.2.1.1.6 University Archives
Staff Person: Ken Harbit

Description:
East Carolina Teachers College President Robert H. Wright’s “Chapel Talks” were given to students every morning from 9:30 to 10:25 six days a week. Chapel Talks typically consisted of a reading from the Bible followed by Wright’s thoughts regarding the Bible passage or some other moral instruction for the students, along with any news, schedule changes, or other announcements. The subject of this address is the budgetary process and Wright’s concern over the lack of funds for East Carolina Teachers College.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Source:  University Archives Photograph Collection, 55-01-5833

Staff Person:  Kacy Guill

Description:

In the Fall of 1957, the Student Government Association invited the Dave Brubeck Quartet to play at East Carolina College.  By the time the performance occurred in February 1958, Dave Brubeck’s bass player had been replaced by Eugene Wright.  Since he was African American, Eugene Wright was not permitted to play on stage at ECC, but required to perform from off stage.

In response, the Student Government Association petitioned ECC President John Messick for permission to invite any entertainment they chose without consideration of race.  The Board of Trustees granted permission.

Juanita Worsley Williams

Source: East Carolina University Centennial Oral History Collection, 45-05-01-14:

Staff Person:  Lynette Lundin

Description:

Juanita Williams grew up in Rocky Mount, North Carolina she was one of 13 children. She graduated East Carolina Teachers College in 1932. She talks about her experiences during the depression and going to ECTC. This is one of 33 Centennial Oral Histories. You can find this in our digital collections at http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/1270

Sadie Hawkins Day Race

Source:  University Archives Visual Materials Collection

Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson

Description: This photo from the University Archives shows East Carolina students participating in a 1953 Sadie Hawkins Day Race (UA55-01-4841). By tradition, on Sadie Hawkins Day girls ask boys to accompany them to a dance or on a date. The event originated in 1937 with the comic strip Li’l Abner when the town spinster, Sadie Hawkins, is sent in pursuit of the town’s eligible bachelors as they raced to avoid marriage to the “homeliest gal in the hills.”  The gender-based role reversal proved popular among female college students as Sadie Hawkins Day events rose in popularity across the nation. By 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day events were held in over 40,000 locations.  In this image, Fleming and Wilson Dormitories are on the right and the Old Cafeteria Complex is just visible on the left. The large building in the center rear is the original Austin classroom building.

UA55-01-4841

William Clyde Friday 1920 – 2012

Source: Joyner Library Digital Collections Identifer: 55-01-1676

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description: 

William Clyde “Bill” Friday (July 13, 1920 – October 12, 2012) served as the head of the University of North Carolina system from 1956 to 1986. He was born in Raphine, Va.,  and raised in Dallas, N.C. After retirement, Friday remained an influential voice in North Carolina and hosted a public television talk show, North Carolina People, which he began while still president of the University system. Friday is shown here with ECU President Leo Jenkins in this undated photograph. No doubt Jenkins was explaining some of the finer points of the Pirate Life to Mr.Friday. Mr. Friday died on Friday, October 12, 2012.
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