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The university began a Reserve Officer Training Program on campus in fall 1940, when the U.S. Navy placed a ROTC unit on campus. The new unit came at a time when, faced with the possibility of the United States entering World War II, the university took a more direct role in military preparation, including the establishment of compulsory physical education. The Navy ROTC began with 100 students enrolled and was active through the war. Initially housed in Woollen Gym, the ROTC program moved into the Naval Armory in 1943. ROTC training on campus expanded in 1947, with Air Force ROTC. During Vietnam War protests in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many Carolina students questioned the presence of the military programs on campus, especially after Harvard ended its ROTC programs in 1969. The protests ended after a few years. By 1978 a Daily Tar Heel headline proclaimed, "ROTC No Longer Draws Campus Contempt." In 1995 UNC—Chapel Hill added an Army ROTC program, known as the Tar Heel Battalion.

Date Established: 1926

Date Range: 1926 – Present

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