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Collection Number: UA.01.056.1

Repository: La Salle University Archives

Title: Records of LSU ROTC

Extent: 2.5 Linear feet

Language: English

Scope and Contents: According to the information contained in the archival boxes and my research on the subject, after forty-one years of existence, the U.S. Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Explorer Battalion was deactivated on May 11, 1991. The La Salle University’s ROTC program was not an isolated incident. According to the 1991 La Salle Summer magazine, fifty such units were also deactivated - seven of which were in Pennsylvania.

Created in 1950, their first training was held at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In that summer the program commissioned roughly 1,000 second lieutenants until the program was discontinued. The discontinuation seemed to mirror the changing climate in America’s approval or disapproval of warfare, particularly the Vietnam Conflict, and the loss of life of those who fought them – unlike the Korean Conflict before it; which many La Sallian’s proudly serviced –the 1950s was a considerably different era/America to say the less. The proverbial writing was on the wall, may have been written during the “College Hall Sit-In”- or “Sounds of Silence” as it was reported in the La Salle Magazine in the summer of 1969, but cannot be conclusively proven based on my personal research. Economic also played a role according to the assistant Army Secretary for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, G. Kim Wincup at the time described it as “a pretty painful process” to reduce the Army ROTC size by (7000,00) by 20% that was printed in the La Salle University Magazine (Summer 1991). However, in hindsight, perhaps it was an example of the growing student’s political voice on campuses around the country. Some believe it was a national movement, similar to the Civil Rights or Women Suffrage movement by college students all over the country for student power/voice. Although the archival finding in the Connelly Library was more statistical, which is typical of any military records, it did provide some insight into the individuals that chose to enlist in the name of national security and those who did not. Others chose roles that was just as important, for instance the writers of magazine telling the cadets story. After the discontinuation, the program had resurgence and the program was re-established under new leadership. As my “Archival Collection Assignment” hopefully demonstrates, military records are based more on numbers, names and dates, not individuals. Unless one is familiar or have experienced the military culture, it can be a task to connect the dots when it comes to personal history - the La Salle University’s ROTC Program history is just one of many.

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UA.01.056.1 Records of LSU ROTC