Minot State Teachers College
North Dakota's role during World War II
Education became the largest contribution offered by North Dakota; colleges and universities experienced drops in enrollment due to the war. In order to help both the colleges and the war effort many of the colleges and universities across North Dakota picked up training programs that would educate soldiers and sailors of the U.S. Armed Forces. In particular, the Minot State Teachers College, in Minot North Dakota played an integral role in teaching pilots and future officers in the U.S. Navy V-5 and V-12 programs. In this essay I will explain those programs and help you understand the large role North Dakota played during WWII.
U.S. Navy V-5 Pilot Training Program
The largest Impact made by North Dakota during WWII was the way in which the state stepped up to educate and train soldiers and sailors of the U.S. Armed Forces. Minot State Teachers College, in Minot North Dakota became home to the V-5 pilot training program from September of 1942 to August of 1944. The college faculty became wartime training instructors of navigation, Morse code, and aerology. While students were enrolled in the V-5 program they would participate in an eight week elementary full time program, and then move on to a four week full time intermediate program. The elementary program included 240 hours of ground school instruction and 35-50 hours of flight instruction. The intermediate program included 72 hours of ground instruction and 18 hours of advanced flight instruction. Navy recruits took their flight instruction at the Minot airport by Charles Westlie and 15 other instructors in 22 of their Piper Cub airplanes. The cadets learned to fly in the air over Minot, and were taught how to handle many different situations. In the winter the cadets flew planes equipped with skis instead of wheels, and practiced landing on wheat stubble in farm fields. During the summer and spring, landings would be held on grassy farm pastures. During the two years of this program at Minot State Teachers college they graduated over 479 cadets that went on to serve their country as pilots.
U.S. Navy V-12 Training Program
Minot State Teachers College also became one of 131 colleges and universities to host training for the Navy's V-12 training program from 1943 to November 1945, teaching Navy Officer Cadets to command ships, planes, and sailors during the war. The students attended school for one year, which consisted of three 16 week semesters. The curriculum included math, science, English, foreign language, and the history of WWII at that time; each lesson was taught by Minot's college professors who were on staff at the time. Nearly 800 officers from 23 different states completed their year-long training in Minot and after their year was completed the V-12 students moved to a different location to complete a 12 week basic training course. After both phases of training were complete they were sent to the battle fronts of WWII. Training future military leaders in North Dakota was a major contribution to the war effort and an honor for the teachers at the colleges and universities.
The colleges in North Dakota wanted to be a part of the war effort and stepped up to help the nation get enough pilots and Navy officers for active war time duty. Other colleges throughout the state also educated the U.S. Armed forces. The University of North Dakota educated Army engineering students and prepared more than 900 Army Air Core glider pilots. Valley City State College and Dickinson State College also taught Navy officer cadets through the V-12 training program. North Dakota was not the only state to step up and host the V-5 and V-12 training programs during WWII, many states throughout the nation were involved in the war effort in this way. North Dakota is also proud of its citizens during WWII; a total of sixty thousand North Dakotans served in the U.S. Armed Forces, of those an unfortunate two thousand died serving.