United States Air Force announces new ROTC detachment at Yale

U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and University President Richard C. Levin signed an agreement today to establish an Air Force ROTC detachment at Yale. Classes for cadets will begin on campus in New Haven in the fall of 2012. In addition to Yale College students, the Yale detachment will enroll students from other universities in the state that participate under cross-town arrangements to take the ROTC program at Yale.

The Yale Air Force detachment will be one of two new ROTC units to open at Yale in 2012, joining Naval ROTC, whose return was announced by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and President Levin in May. The new detachment represents a homecoming, as one of the first Air Force ROTC programs established after World War II began at Yale in 1947.

“I am honored that Yale will host an Air Force ROTC detachment,” Levin said. “Yale students will make great contributions to the Air Force, as they do in whatever career they choose. I am pleased that the Air Force has taken this important step to make it easier for the most talented young men and women who aspire to leadership in our military to gain a Yale education. In my view both the military and Yale will benefit from this relationship.”

“The Air Force’s most critical assets are our Airmen, who have dedicated themselves in service to a cause greater than themselves,” said Lt. Gen. David S. Fadok, commander of Air University, the parent organization of Air Force ROTC. “We take very seriously the development of our future leaders, and today’s agreement with Yale University will help the Air Force produce officers needed for tomorrow’s challenges.”

Yale will be one of only two Ivy League universities to host Air Force ROTC on campus. In recent years, Yale students have been able to take Air Force ROTC courses at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. This year, two Yale graduates completed that program, and were commissioned as Second Lieutenants. The University of Connecticut’s ROTC detachment will continue to operate after the Yale detachment opens.

Votes by the Yale College faculty on May 5 paved the way for the re-establishment of ROTC on its campus, and the Yale Corporation, the University’s governing board, voted its approval on May 24. A survey conducted by the Yale College Council last fall found that an overwhelming majority of Yale College students support having ROTC on the Yale campus.

Yale’s connections to the military have been long-standing. Yale President Ezra Stiles led more than half of the student body to take on the overwhelming Redcoat troops in 1779 when the largest flotilla ever to enter Long Island Sound attacked New Haven. Twenty-five Yale graduates served as Generals for the Union Army during the Civil War, and almost 9,500 Yale graduates and students served in World War I. During World War II, the campus was largely given over to the military, and over 20,000 soldiers, sailors and marines were trained on campus at Yale. In addition to basic training, Yale hosted the Army Specialized Training Program, the Navy’s V-12 program, the Army Air Forces Technical Training School, and a Military Intelligence School.

Yale was a pioneer in ROTC. Soon after the enactment of the National Defense Act of 1916, which authorized ROTC units at universities, Yale immediately joined and its unit was over-subscribed by Yale College students. In 1916, a group of Yale undergraduates formed the First Yale Unit, considered to be the first naval air reserve unit and the first aerial coastal patrol unit.

Yale University also recently renewed its commitment to the Yellow Ribbon scholarship program for veterans who have seen active duty since September 11, 2001.

PRESS CONTACT: U.S. Air Force: Joel Harper, Major, USAF 703-695-0640

Media Contact

Tom Conroy: tom.conroy@yale.edu, 203-432-1345