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Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP)
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In 1942, two events led to the creation of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). First, the age at which men became eligible for the draft was lowered to eighteen. This change had the potential to adversely affect college enrollment. Second, the War Manpower Commission concluded that the Army and the Navy were responsible for the future educational needs of drafted young men. As a result, the War Department in conjunction with the Army created the ASTP to educate and train soldiers on college and university campuses in place of the usual basic training. The Army rented college and university facilities where civilian faculty supplied academic instruction and military personnel provided discipline, military training, and troop control. This arrangement subsidized colleges and universities financially, allowing them to retain staff and to continue their programs.
The University of South Dakota established its Army Specialized Training Program in the fall of 1943. Arthur M. Pardee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was the coordinator, and G.L Abernethy was the assistant coordinator. Colonel Joseph Church, the head of the ROTC, was the military commander until he was replaced by Major Fred E. Sims in 1944. I.D. Weeks was the president of the university while ASTP was active. The curriculum was divided into the basic phase which focused on general knowledge and the advanced phase which focused on engineering or medical training. Approximately 600 cadets participated. The program existed at the University of South Dakota for three terms, and was discontinued on 4 March 1944.
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