University | 11:58 am | September 12, 2011 | By Drew Henderson

Air Force ROTC unit to start on campus next year

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Photo by Drew Henderson.

The University and the United States military have signed an agreement to establish a unit of the United States Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps on campus starting next year, the Office of Public Affairs and Communications announced in a press release this morning.

The announcement follows the news early this summer that the military will also establish a unit of the Navy ROTC on campus next year. Like that program, the Air Force ROTC unit will be based on campus but will invite students from other schools to participate.

“Yale students will make great contributions to the Air Force, as they do in whatever career they choose,” University President Richard Levin said in the release. “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.”

ROTC has been absent from Yale since 1969. After the US Congress voted to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — the policy barring gays and lesbians from serving in the military — in December 2010, the University said it would work with the military to bring ROTC back to campus. A faculty vote on May 5 and support of the Yale Corporation helped bring the units back to campus, according to the press release.

Unlike the Naval ROTC unit, the only one of its kind in the state of Connecticut, the Air Force unit at Yale will coexist with a unit at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn. In the past, students interested in pursuing Air Force ROTC have had to drive to Storrs — 64 miles northeast of New Haven — for their training. Two members of the class of 2011 completed that program, the release said.

Levin and U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley will hold a press conference in Woodbridge Hall today at 3:00 p.m.

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