Ruston Daily Leader Coverage of Ruston Navy V-12 Training Program and USO

“V-12 Program,” Ruston Daily Leader, April 20, 1943, A1, A6.

Louisiana Tech has been accepted as a site for a Naval Training program, with a minimum of 600 trainees, beginning on or about July 1. [Louisiana Tech University] President Claybrook Cottingham announced today, following official confirmation from Washington.

Rear Admiral L.E. Denfeld, assistant chief of the bureau of naval personnel at Washington, advised the Tech president as follows

“It is understood that your institution will make available to the Navy adequate buildings and facilities to house and feed a minimum of 600 trainees whose status shall be apprentice seamen and will furnish medical and dental services for such trainees; and that the institution will also make available adequate facilities and teaching staff for instruction in the basic curriculum. The above quota may be increased in adequate facilities can be made available.”

The college here, accordingly, will begin on July 1 on a trimester plan of three 16-week periods, continuing until about June 1, 1944, for the school year.

The Navy trainees will attend classes with Tech students and will have the same privileges as the college students, such as participating in athletics, joining fraternities, etc.

Tech students enrolling for the new school year opening July 1 will pay the same entrance fees as applied in the same 18-week semester, President Cottingham said, since the same amount of credit will be offered for the 16 weeks as for the 18 weeks. Expenses for board and room, however, will contribute toward defraying expenses of training the seaman here.

The three men’s dormitories at Tech will be used exclusively by the Navy, President Cottingham said. Accommodations for about 100 Tech boys will be available at the dormitory on the Tech farm. The Tech girls will continue to occupy their quarters on the campus.

The director of the Eighth Naval District training program has figured the housing accommodations for the seamen at Tech as follows: Freshman dormitory 428, sophomore dormitory 100, and Robinson hall 172 to make a total of 600 trainees.

President Cottingham said that the college dining hall will be reserved exclusively for the Navy men, while the Techsters will take their meals at the college cafeteria.

In his letter to President Cottingham, Rear Admiral Denfeld stated that “the Navy deeply appreciates the assistance which your institution is rendering to the war effort in aiding in the training of personnel under the Navy college program.”

 “Com. J.D. Moyers Talks To Kiwanians On V-12 Program,” Ruston Daily Leader, June 18, 1943, A1.

The new staff of officers who will direct work of the Navy and Marine recruits at the V-12 course to begin at Tech next month spoke to the Kiwanis Club Thursday noon. Lt. Commander J.D. Moyers, in command of the group, introduced the men with a short description of the work of each man.

Captain Short of the Marine Corps is second in command and others on the staff at Lt. Jacobs, Dr. Wright, Lieutenant Huff and Lt. Anderson. They will direct the eight months’ concentrated course which will teach subjects considered by the Navy to be essential in a college course.

Men taking the work will be in uniform and follow a regular routine. They rise at 5:45 a.m. and have a full day of classes beginning at 8 and lasting until 4 o’clock in the afternoon. They will drill, have swimming lessons and physical education work, and be back in the dormitories by 10 o’clock in the evening.

The courses will be used as foundation classes for future specialist training such as engineer, medical, signal corps, officers’ training and other highly specialized fields of work. They will take a total equivalent to a four-year college course pammed [sic] into three years, but not all of it here. The men have been chosen from the ranks and from civilian life. They are all single and have proved by examination and special work they can do the job prescribed in the course.

Commander Moyers said the boys were mostly taken from this section of the South and would be under Naval discipline at all times. They are paid regular monthly allowances of $50, and must make a high grade average to stay in the course.

“Important Meeting Of Lincoln USO Council To Be Held Thursday,” Ruston Daily Leader, June 30, 1943, A1.

An important meeting of the Lincoln Parish USO Council will be held Thursday night, July 1, at 8 o’clock in the Ruston Chamber of Commerce offices, according to an announcement made this morning by Alex T. Hunt, chairman.

The National USO is withdrawing their trained personnel and proposes to extend Ruston a grant in aid to continue the operation of a center here. The operation of the center will be discussed at the meeting tomorrow night and Mr. Hunt urges that all members of the council be present.

“Destroyer Battalion From Texas Enjoys Ruston USO Club,” Ruston Daily Leader, November 16, 1943, A1.

The 824th Tank Destroyer, Battalion of Camp Hood, Texas, now on maneuvers, camped near Ruston Sunday night. The boys were allowed to go into town for the first time in several days and there was much unfinished business to attend.

They arrived too late for church services, found the movies and bowling alleys closed so they thronged into the USO Club and it was really “chock full” of soldiers.

The door count, as accurately as could be taken, was 1,000, and just as many boys as could find a place to sit or stand remained until their trucks called for them at 10:30. The Minute Maids, Junior and Senior hostesses were busy every minute replenishing the writing paper, envelopes and post cards for the many letters written, refilling the ice box with coca-colas, answering questions and seeing that the boys enjoyed their visit to Ruston.

One of the boys immediately found his way to the piano and a large group gathered around to enjoy singing hymns, and all of the old and new songs. Others took turn about at playing ping pong, checkers, reading and working picture puzzles.

The scene was one of constant activity until the boys left at 10:30. They “loaded in,” as they expressed it, very reluctantly and expressed their appreciation for the hospitality extended to them by the USO club.

  “3544 Ordnance Co. Convoy Camps In Ruston Overnight,” Ruston Daily Leader, December 22, 1943, A1.

Lt. H. Gerald E. Harris and Lt. Edwin J. Moyer, officers of the 3544 Ordinance Company of Camp Robinson, Ark., brought their men into town last night for probably their last outing for several months. This company is en route to maneuver areas somewhere in Louisiana. The Minute Maids were present in a large number to entertain the boys and every one had a good time dancing, singing, playing ping-pong, cards, checkers and writing letters. Cookies were served with the cold drinks from the canteen to the 365 who visited the USO club during the evening. The men of the 490th M.P.E.G. Co. from Camp Ruston were also in town and enjoyed the fun at the club with the men of the Third Army.

“Three New Arrivals To Navy V-12 Unit Think Ruston “Swell,” Ruston Daily Leader, January 11, 1944 , A1.

The Navy’s Ship Company at Louisiana Tech has been receiving some new arrivals. They include two pharmacists’ mates and a yeoman.  Ph-M 3rd Class Mike Doyle was the first to arrive and take up duties on November 10 at the Tech V-12 sick bay.

Ph-M Doyle is a native of Pierre, S.D. He entered the service in December of 1942 and was stationed at the New Orleans Naval Hospital prior to coming to Louisiana Tech. His comment about his new station was: “I think it’s swell.”

Yoeman Henry Grubbs, the latest arrival, came to Ruston on January 4. He came here from the Armed Guard Center in New Orleans. Yoeman Grubbs has seen a year’s service. He is originally from Palatka, Fla. He said he is enjoying himself here in Ruston, but hoped to make some more friends before long.

Pharmacist Mate First Class George Allen Haywood, upon receiving his transfer from the New Orleans Naval Hospital, found he was re-joining his friend Mike Doyle at the V-12 Unit here. P-M Haywood is from Tulsa, Okla. He too, thinks Ruston is swell, but is somewhat upset because he can not find a suitable apartment and therefore must wait until his wife can join him here. However, he said that once his “Missus” got here he wouldn’t want a better post to be stationed in.

 “Officers of V-12 And Ruston Civic Clubs Observe Navy Day,” Ruston Daily Leader, October, 30, 1944, A1.

Officers of the V-12 Naval Unit of Louisiana Tech appeared on a number of civic club and school programs last week in observation of National Naval Day. Friday, October 27, was observed by the nation as Navy Day. No special program was held at Tech as a large majority of the students were away because of the trimester vacation.

On Wednesday, Lt. Commander E. J. Aylstock and Dr. S.E. Elmore addressed the members of the Rotary Club at their regular noon meeting.

Lt. S.H. Johnston and Dr. S.E. Elmore were guests Thursday at a joint luncheon meeting of the Kiwanis and Key Club in the High School cafeteria. Both men talked to the members on Naval history and the present war activities in the Pacific.

In observance of the national Navy Day, students and faculty of Ruston High school met in general assembly at 1 o’clock Friday. Lieutenant Commander E. J. Aylestock of the V-12 Unit at Tech, introduced Dr. Elmore and Pharmacist Mate W.P. Bell, who addressed the assembly. Both men have tecently returned from active duty.

Lt. S.H. Johnston and P-M W.P. Bell addressed members of the Pierian Club of Ruston at their regular program meeting.

 “USO Holds Open House For Ruston, Lincoln, Sunday P. M.,” Ruston Daily Leader, February 2, 1945, A1.

Beginning Sunday, February 4, the United Service Organizations will set aside the following week for the celebration of its Fourth anniversary. They desire to have as many civilians as possible visit clubs throughout the United States to observe the work being done.

The Ruston USO is now a community conducted operation and the council and staff and particularly anxious people of Ruston visit the club which is theirs, to become acquainted with the services being offered to the service men located in this area.

Plan to meet your friends for a cup of coffee at the USO between the hours of 3 and 6.

“USO Council Meet At Lunch, Discuss Future Plans,” Ruston Daily Leader, February 16, 1945, A1.

The USO Council served another of its well-cooked lunches to directors at noon today and discussed plans for future operations. It has been open on a reduced scale for several months with Mrs. Elise Willis in charge and offering a place for servicemen to come and relax during the evenings.

Mrs. Willis said she expected to attend a state-wide meeting in Alexandria in Marche together with Mrs. Glenn Laskey, co-chairman, and Mrs. Roy Frasier and Mrs. A.H. Henderson where operation will be discussed with all over community-operated U.S.O. centers in the state.

The doors are now open every day from 5 o’clock till 11:10 and on Saturday from 1 o’clock and Sunday from 10 ‘clock till about 11. Free lunches are served over the snack bar with food furnished by the townspeople and cold drinks are sold to the men.

There is no planned program. The men come in and do as they please, rest and amuse themselves with books, magazines, games and music. Mrs. Willis expressed her thanks for the spirit of cooperation shown by the officers and men of the prison camp and thanked everyone who gave of his time to come and help entertain the men in uniform who visited the center.

 “Farewell Events For Navy V-12 Unit Planned At Louisiana Tech Next Week,” Ruston Daily Leader, October 5, 1945, A1.

Louisiana Tech has arranged a series of events for next week in honor of the Navy V-12 Unit, which is leaving the college at the end of this trimester on October 23. The V-12 has been a part of the institution here since July, 1943.

The first of the “farewell” programs will be a banquet in the college dining hall at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9, following the serving of the evening meal to the civilian students.

Wednesday, October 10, the regular weekly supper sing will honor the navy trainees, with members of the Tech Choir “wearing their prettiest cloths,” L.V.E. Irvine, head of the music department, said. Mrs. Linna T. Hunt will be the director and Martin Thomas, A.S., master of ceremonies.

At 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 11, the usual weekly assembly program will be devoted to the V-12. The program will follow a general plan embracing talks by Lieut. Fred C. Blanchard, unit commander; President Claybrook Cottingham, a civilian student, a trainee, a member of the ship’s company of enlisted personnel, and a representative of the city of Ruston.

Climaxing the week of V-12 programs will be a formal dance from 8-12 p.m. on Friday, October 12, in the college dining hall. An orchestra from Selman filed, Monroe, will play. Tables will be placed around the walls for a cabaret style of serving refreshments and a floor show is scheduled as a highlight of the occasion.