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.

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.”

Certificate for Captain Leo W. Jenkins for completion of Special Services reserve training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., 1949.

Source: Leo Jenkins Papers, Manuscript # 360

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:  Certificate for Captain Leo W. Jenkins for completion of Special Services reserve training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., 1949. Jenkins served as a Major in World War II where he saw action at Guadalcanal, Guam and Iwo Jima. For his military service, Jenkins received the Bronze Star and two Presidential Citations. In 1947 Jenkins joined the faculty of East Carolina Teachers College, where he served as Dean until being elected as President of the college in 1960. He eventually was named Chancellor, and retired in 1978. date: 1949; creator: U.S. Marine Corps

'Tis the Season for Studying

741.5.d.34

Source:  Daily Reflector Negative Collection (#741.5.d.34)

Staff Person:  Jennifer Joyner

Description:

The month of December is always a busy time for college students. At East Carolina University, Joyner Library has been bustling around the clock with students finishing their coursework and preparing for exams. The same was true in December 1954, when this photograph was taken by a Daily Reflector photographer. Even though times have changed and the landscape of the library looks much different today, Joyner remains the place to study on campus. To see more photographs of Greenville’s past, be sure to check out the Daily Reflector Negative Collection, Manuscript Collection #741.

Farmer’s Day

Source:  University Archives 55-01-1927

Staff Person:  Kacy Guill

Description:  John Messick, president of East Carolina College, is riding in a Chevy Bel Air in the Farmville, North Carolina Farmer’s Day parade,  April 1955.  Walter B. Jones, former mayor of Farmville and member of the North Carolina Assembly,  is in the front seat.

World's Fastest Typist

Source: University Archives UA55-01-8226

Staff Person: Arthur Carlson

Description:

This picture from the University Archives features Cortez W. Peters, Sr who held the world record as the World’s Fastest Typist (UA55-01-8226).  Born in Maryland, Peters achieved a then world record of 141 words per minute in 1925.  With the advent of improved typing technology, Peters eventually peaked at 180 words per minute perfectly, a record that would stand until his son, Cortez W. Peters, Jr. surpassed his father.  A favorite guest of television variety show hosts, he also aided the Allied war effort during WWII by acquiring and donating typewriters for use by the Federal government.   A decade later, Peters opened with his son the first black-owned typing schools, the Cortez Peters Business Schools,  featuring offices in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.  The schools served over 45,000 students.  He visited East Carolina to meet with business students during summer school sessions that allowed blacks to attend classes before the formal desegregation of East Carolina.  Peters passed away in 1964 at the age of 57 in Washington, DC.

1966 ECC College Bowl Team

Source: University Archives 55-01-1232
Staff Person: Kacy Guill
Description:
In the spring of 1966, four students from East Carolina College participated in the GE College Bowl, a college level quiz bowl that aired on television.  The ECC team won their first game against Ursuline College 175-100 but they lost the second game to Rice University 390-135.  The photograph shows the send-off crowd as the team left by car.

UN Walkout

Source: University Archives

Staff Person: Kacy Guill

Description:

On Friday, April 7, 1967, eight delegates from North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University) and Florida A&M University, who were on campus attending the ninth annual Middle South Model United Nations, walked out of the General Assembly. The African American delegates stated that they had been discriminated against by both the Model UN and ECC students and administrators.

Although the official conclusion was that the delegates from North Carolina College and Florida A&M University came to the assembly in search of publicity and attention, it was the first time since the integration of ECC that college officials were forced to publicly address discrimination on campus.

Sources:

“Take Up the Revolution.” East Carolinian, April 11, 1967.

Steve A. Baldwin. Letter to the Editor. East Carolinian, April 18, 1967.

Take Up the Revolution

Take Up the Revolution

Letter to the Editor; S. Baldwin

Letter to the Editor; S. Baldwin

ECU Facilities Services

Source: Guide to the Daily Reflector Negative Collection, East Carolina Manuscript Collection, #741

Mowing yard

Mowing yard

Staff Person: L. K. Gypsye Legge

Description:

The humidity is getting thicker and you are more likely to hear the buzz of insects on campus than students in the evenings. But in a month and a day the primary mission of East Carolina will reassert itself with great vigor – a new school year will begin! Facilities Services [http://www.ecu.edu/cs-admin/campus_operations/facilities/index.cfm] keeps the campus looking great all year, even when heat and humidity and summer showers make it quite a challenge.

We all tend to add a little extra elbow grease as we prepare to welcome new faculty and students, and welcome back returning Pirates. This image, from August 1958 of a man mowing one of the lawns on campus, shows that it has been this way for more than half a century:  http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/3308

From the Daily Reflector Collection, this image and many others were digitalized as part of the Seeds of Change project. More information of the project is available here:

http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/reflector/

There are many items that focus on East Carolina in this collection, and there are thousands more images in the University Archives.

Click on the image to see an enlarged version.

ECU Historic Documentation of Support Staff

Source: University Archives

Page from the 1927 Tecoan showing the housekeeping and dining hall staff. Text at the bottom of the page reads "We Couldn't Do Without Them."

Page from the 1927 Tecoan showing the housekeeping and dining hall staff. Text at the bottom of the page reads "We Couldn't Do Without Them."

Staff Person: Kacy Guill

Description:

Many university archives are increasingly trying to increase documentation of under-represented groups in archival collections including African-American, Latino, Asian American, Native Americans, women, and members of the gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

Perhaps one of the most under-documented groups in East Carolina University history is the support staff: the men and women who cleaned classrooms and dorm rooms, cooked and served food in the dining halls, and maintained the often photographed landscaping of the University. For many years, their role in the University was only preserved as line items in the budget and brief mentions in the campus newspaper of a “servant” caught stealing clothing in the dorms or a reminder to thank the “girl” who served the food in the dining hall. Below are two of the few images that document support staff at ECU.

Page from the 1927 Tecoan showing the housekeeping and dining hall staff. Text at the bottom of the page reads “We Couldn’t Do Without Them.” (p741.14.e.6)

East Carolina College cafeteria

East Carolina College cafeteria

“Students lined up while workers serve them in the cafeteria at East Carolina College” Daily Reflector, 1958.

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