Wednesday, April 27, 2011

ROTC at Stanford University

A letter to my father from Stanford's last ROTC Chairman, Department of Military Science.

I was fascinated to read that Stanford University is going to be voting soon on whether to bring ROTC back to campus.

My father, then Col. Chapman, was the last advisor from his reserve unit to Stanford's ROTC.  It was the era of the Vietnam War and, knowing students threw things at people in military uniforms back then, the contrarian in him delighted in volunteering for the job.

It was almost as dangerous as his service in World War II: in 1968 somebody burned down the ROTC building at Stanford and there were constant threats of bombings.  

No wonder Dad was awarded a medal for Meritorious Service.

Anyway, he put his uniform on and walked across campus at Stanford for four or five years, just for the fun of it.  And the program continued until 1973, the year he too retired from the reserves.  That year, the Army packed it in and found more productive use of its resources at smaller, more humble institutions.

So he's having a bit of a laugh now out there on Planet Ashley, where the sun always shines and the airplanes soar without the need for fuel and the pumpkins grow as big as houses and they don't have to study war no more.

I think he just loves the idea of some of those lumpy Stanford kids having to "drop for twenty." That's an order for pushups in military talk.

Dad at his retirement party.

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