Looking at the big, big picture!

     The 1940-1945 years were "glory years" indeed for the men and women of '44 and your classmates' participation in the total World War II effort is recognized throughout the displays in the Class of 1944 Memorial Room.

     This is done in a variety of ways: group photographs of Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Corps enlistees are shown marching as units on campus or later in active duty unit photos . . In addition, the photographs of some 50+ individual Class officers wearing their respective service uniforms are displayed in two 20-foot storyboards found on the north and south walls of the room.


     These same storyboards also provide Memorial Room visitors with a 1941-1945 overview of the major events that took place during WWII . . Front page headlines from several major newspapers (the NY Times and the NY Daily News) tell the story from Pearl Harbor day to both VE and VJ days. (This being read by those born long after this war, VE translates out as "Victory in Europe Day" and VJ for the subsequent "Victory in Japan Day.")

     Several of the major actions taken by the University during the same 1940-1945 period are also covered on these same storyboards by the inclusion of several front pages taken from the Cornell Daily Sun. It was an exciting, ever-changing period in which to be a young man or a young woman . . Each of us and '44 met the challenge during the Glory Years.

Harold D. Rhynedance, Jr., AB44, JD49
COL, USAR (Ret.)

We don khakis and whites!

     Our '44 Yearbook had the best synopsis of just what went on after December 7, 1941 when it reported that for the second time in Cornell's history, Army olive-drab, Marine green, and Navy blue prevailed on campus. Under an accelerated war program Cornell prepared 15 units of the armed forces in 1943-1944.

     Our emphasis on this website page deals with the various Army and Navy units and it's interesting to point out that in the autumn of 1943 we led all universities in the nation with 3,399 soldiers, sailors, and marines being taught by our faculty. This number included units that were instructed by special Army and Navy staffs. All told, Cornell had nearly 4,000 men involved in the training.


     The campus continued to be as crowded and as lively as it was in the pre-war days. Blue-gray or khaki clad columns of the Army and Navy marched along the Quadrangle walks, morning and afternoon, accompanied, as expected by barking dogs, and sailors and civilians found their way to classes as best as they could.

     During 7-8 pm liberty periods, there were USO dances in Barnes Hall as the Straight was taken over by visiting families and children of the Army and Navy student officers.

Off to Ft. Bragg -- back to CU -- off to Ft. Sill!

     Come late spring, some 240 Cornell Field Artillery ROTC '44's (including a handful of '43s) received their induction orders and rode the Lehigh Valley and buses to Ft. Niagara, their Induction Center on Lake Ontario. Their lakefront stay was a short one and the 240 strong were then shipped by NY Central and connecting rail to Ft. Bragg, NC, where their “real service” began at that post's Field Artillery Replacement Training Center. 20-mile marches, live firing on howitzers, countless assemblies.

     Completing the training, the 240 “corporals” were ordered back to Cornell for the Fall, 1943 semester as they awaited their turn to enter FA OCS at Ft. Sill, OK. During this period, a sizable number opted to vacate the Artillery and joined the Air Corps or the USMC, but a hard corps of '44's graduated as second louie's in mid-1944.

     All of the foregoing applies to our classmates who represented a major portion of those undergoing on campus Army training in 1943. Their total was augmented by the military presence of additional US Military Academy Preparatory students (the “Orange Blossoms”) as well as some 150 Personnel Psychology students and 430 Foreign Area and Language trainees.

     Then there were the 620 high school graduates (the “Purple Commandos)” on a 12-week A-12 Basic Reserves Course prior to their induction, and the Pre-Professional 13-week ASTP Program for those who had been accepted at medical, dental, and veterinary schools. “Company C,” for example, was comprised of 130 students in the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine.

We solicit, need, and seek more USN input!

     We've come up short on tracking the Navy ‘44's, campus to service, but the Naval Training School, Cornell Unit, was staffed by approximately 125 commissioned officers and 70 enlisted personnel. The total number of men in all Navy units was close to 2,700 of which 1,600 were carried in the V-12 program. Many of the latter were housed in “Dorms 4, 20,21, 23, 24, 25, and 27.” In sororities? Yes.

     Concurrent with this Navy Department training, the remaining 1,100 were student officers, Naval Air Cadets (in training at Ithaca Airport), and midshipmen who were not registered in the university and who received their instruction primarily from the active duty Navy staff members.

     Where did we all go? Where did we fight? Cornell '44's served their country in all parts of the world. Perhaps the best way to tell this part of our story is to provide you with photographs of many of your uniformed classmates and provide you with an all-too-skimpy, one line bio on each of their military careers. Forgive the skimpiness but In trying to turn back the clock some 60 years, this is the best that we can do.

J. Russell Geib, Jr., AB 44
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army