Date of Award

Fall 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Jonathan Phillips

Committee Member

Michael Carhart

Committee Member

Austin Jersild

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 C6382 2007


In December 1942 the Army Air Forces created the Army Air Forces College Training Program (AAFTP) to reduce the backlog of aviation recruits. This program, designed to provide recruits with basic flight instruction and education, established 153 units known as College Training Detachments (CTD) on college campuses throughout the U.S. This thesis provides a history of the AAFTP and examines the wartime role of universities and the effect of military training on colleges in the American South. The first chapter examines the AAFTP from the military perspective, the state of the AAF leading into WWII, and the forces that drove the AAF to look at colleges for training purposes. It argues the CTD provided a unique and relatively successful military training experience within the confines of a college campus and allowed thousands of men the opportunity for job training and formal higher education in universities that desperately sought students. The next chapter examines the military training program from the perspective of higher education in the South. For southern universities, the military training programs were part of both new social and demographic patterns and established southern traditions about the utility of professional military education. In these contexts, the military training programs created a new southern military school tradition—a support and training tradition—that reflected the nation's needs in mass industrial warfare and forever altered the historic pattern of irrelevance between colleges and war. The final chapter examines the 11th CTD at Middle Tennessee State University to demonstrate how the campus was used for training, how the aviation students interacted with regular students and the surrounding area, and how the school adapted to military training. It proves how the CTD program fundamentally altered the university in the short term and served as the catalyst for the long-term development of a small southern university.


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