Today in NC State History: Vietnam leads to decline in ROTC

March 26, 2014
By Bill Krueger

historyIconStudent disenchantment with U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War was typically most visible through protests staged on college campuses. But anti-war sentiment could also be seen in a decrease in the number of students who took part in ROTC.

That was certainly true at NC State. On this day in 1971, the Technician reported that enrollment in ROTC programs at NC State had dropped significantly from the previous year. Col. William Boylston, who was in charge of Army ROTC at NC State, said enrollment was down 15-20 percent from the previous year. Col. O.T. Reeves, head of Air Force ROTC, also said enrollment was down (although he did not provide specific numbers).

Boylston and Reeves attributed the drop to an anti-military feeling on college campuses, although they indicated that those feelings may not have been as deep at NC State.

“We are a very obvious target because of Vietnam,” Boylston said. “It has some influence here at State, although there is not a great anti-military feeling here. We can’t say for sure how much influence it has had.”


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