The Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) unit established at University of Massachusetts Lowell was one of 64 units at colleges throughout the United States established in an effort to procure 27,000 Second Lieutenants by the year 1955.
It was stated in an official release by the Air Force in 1951 "although it is assumed by most that graduates from a textile college would be placed in a quartermasters unit of the Air Force. No such unit exists and no intention is so directed. Rather placement and assignment will be affected with academic major in mind. Those graduates who have both the desire and physical requirements for duty involving flying will be assigned to a flying command commensurate with their requests and subject to the interest of the service."
Throughout the late 1940s many of the service academies were sending their graduates to UMass Lowell for further degrees in Textiles and Fabric Technology. They were doing this for the purpose of learning new ways to produce camouflage material. For this reason and because at the time the University of Massachusetts Lowell was a land grant college and it was required to have one, the Department of Defense and the Air Force established an Air Force ROTC unit at UMass Lowell in July of 1951.
Leadership Laboratory, during the late 1950’s and 1960’s, was held on Thursday afternoon. The cadet corps would gather behind the university and then parade up Riverside Ave to Textile with the ROTC band leading the way. Dr. Everett Olson was quoted as saying “it was a magnificent event, it was something we were all proud of, because we have never had our own band before.”
When the Costello Gymnasium was built, the ROTC rifle club and school installed a rifle range in the basement. This facility was used until the early 1980’s when due to lack of use it was closed and put to other uses.
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