Inception of the Program

In the fall and winter of 1942 the war in Europe had reached a turning point; North Africa and Italy were slowly but surely becoming liberated, and the inevitable invasion into Italy was just a year away.  In the Pacific, the United States had begun the offensive, beginning the first of what would be countless amphibious invasions on August 7th at a place called Guadalcanal, the primary island in the Solomons Arpeggio.  Although the initial invasion there had not been very intense, on an adjacent island called Tulagi U.S. Marines were earning their keep from the very beginning. 

Among them leading part of the first wave was a young Lieutenant named Morgan, a prior-enlisted Marine who was getting a first-hand view of the Japanese defenses.  He would survive that day, and when the island was secured he would be transferred over to Guadalcanal to support other Marines in the defense from a vicious kind of suicide attack from the Japanese called "banzai charges".  But he would not be in action much longer, for Lt. Morgan caught Malaria and was shipped home. He was promoted to the rank of Captain, and was then given new orders; to report in to a small college on the outskirts of Philadelphia and to begin training of enlisted Marines and Sailors in becoming the newest and best Naval and Marine Corps officers.  Captain Morgan would become Villanova’s very first Marine Option Instructor.

New Building on Campus

At the beginning of the fall semester of 1948, an invitation was handed out to all of the students and faculty of Villanova College to come and examine the newest building on campus, open for use in the following year.  There were various demonstrations on the operations and tactics of the Navy, midshipmen shooting their .22's on the Rifle Range in the basement, a weapons and ordnance display in the armory area, and even a reel-to-reel presentation showing “Bombs Over Tokyo” to give viewers some general Naval awareness.  It was the dawn of a new age, of the 1950s, and the NROTC battalion was well over 300, ready to meet it.  The average midshipman was of a white, Catholic, middle-class background, and usually had several relatives, neighbors or maybe even a teacher who had been a veteran during the War, still a vivid memory on everyone’s  mind.

naval grads

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