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.

New Social Security Building

Source: The Daily Reflector Negative Collection Manuscript Collection #741

Staff Person:  Dale Sauter

Description:  Social Security is a major concern in the United States today.  As a flashback, today’s pick features Edmond Harding receiving his first Social Security check from Leon Wilson at the new Social Security building in Greenville, 1962.

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

Greenville High School 1922 Baseball Team

 

Source: Herman H. Duncan Collection  #921

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description: This photograph of the 1922 Greenville High School (Greenville, North Carolina) Baseball Team was used in the Greenville High School 1922 yearbook “The Tau.”  Kneeling team members from left to right are identified as Richard Williams, Wesley Harvey, Douglas West, Frank Harrington, Berry Jenkins, Robert Forbes and Cecil Satterthwaite.  Standing left to right are Wyatt Brown (manager), Jimmie Barber, Zero Brown, Fernando Satterthwaite, C. B. West, Herman H. Duncan and Cecil Bilbro.

Blount-Harvey Department Store

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection (#741)

Staff Person: Maury York

Description: This view of the Blount-Harvey department store, located on the northwest corner of Evans and Fourth Streets in downtown Greenville, was taken in 1956. The store, which moved to this building in 1923, featured a wide variety of clothing and dry goods. An extensive renovation project undertaken between 1956 and 1958 completely obscured this facade. The store closed in 1985 and sat vacant for many years. The Glenn family restored the building to its original appearance in 2005 and moved its retail business, Jefferson’s, to it the following year. The tower of the Memorial Baptist Church, subsequently demolished, can be seen in the distance.

City of Greenville, North Carolina

Source: Junius D. Grimes Papers (#571)

Staff Person: Lynette Lundin

Description:

Take a step back in time to 1914 Greenville, N. C., in this C. E. Weaver Series, “Illustrated Cities”, by Central Publishing Co., Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. Greenville was growing and changing: The Center Brick Warehouse was selling Bright Leaf Tobacco (93,762 pounds avg. at $24.55 per hundred). The Flanagan Buggy Co. distributed products throughout Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. The Greenville Ice and Coal Co. was a necessity for this community. The R.L. Smith Stables sold and exchanged horses and mules. The East Carolina Teachers Training School is now called East Carolina University; the campus consisted of the Power House, Dining Hall, Infirmary, Dormitories and the Administration Building and the soon to be erected library, gymnasium and the President’s Residence. These are just a few highlights from the pamphlet from the Junius D. Grimes Papers #571.

Shoveling snow in Greenville, 1958

Source: Daily Reflector Negative Collection, Manuscript Collection #741

Staff Person: Maury York

Description: A photographer for the Daily Reflector, Greenville, N.C., captured this view in December 1958 of a man removing snow from the marquee of the State Theatre on West Fifth Street. Note the State Bank Building, a four-story, triangular building, at right.

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