1941 – 1945
UT during World War II
Thousands of students, faculty, and alumni served in World War II from 1941 to 1945, although it is impossible to determine exactly how many. Tennessee Alumnus calculated in the winter of 1945 that 6,826 men and women had served in one or the other branches of the armed forces. Whether this included women other than nurses is unknown, although UT alumnae were in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), the WAVES—the Navy’s counterpart—and the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. Other women served with the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots and the Red Cross. In January 1943, the War Manpower Commission asked UT to provide housing and academic instruction for Army aviation cadets during a five-month basic training period. Several dormitories and a gymnasium were used to house trainees, displacing students. UT agreed to train 1,200 cadets every five months. Additionally, the university housed draftees in the Army Specialized Training Program, and university faculty offered instruction in civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. President James Hoskins established a defense council made up of administrators to coordinate the many war-related programs on campus, including training for military personnel and civilians. His biennial report of 1947 estimated that 8,000 alumni had served in the armed forces.