Video: For V-12 participants, a time to celebrate and remember

Seventy years after they learned the basics of Navy life on the Bates campus, nine alumni of the college’s V-12 training program returned to campus for their annual luncheon.

Video by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Gathering at the Benjamin Mays Center on Oct. 8, they shared stories, talked with faculty and students, and heard some music, old and new.

One of their members, Bates alumnus and saxophonist Louis Scolnik ’45, joined John Smedley (whose day job is as a physics professor) and Tim Clough for a selection of standards, including “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “I May Be Wrong.”

The Bates a cappella group the Merrimanders followed with tunes from their more contemporary set list.

Deployed at a number of U.S. colleges during World War II, the Navy’s V-12 training program was designed to speed the training of much-needed commissioned officers for both the Navy and Marine Corps.

At Bates, these “apprentice seamen” lived in college dorms and participated in classes alongside civilian students. All told, the program prepared 782 men for duty, including Bobby Kennedy, before disbanding in 1945.


2 Responses to “Video: For V-12 participants, a time to celebrate and remember”

  1. William R. Matteson '71 says:

    Lived in Smith Middle while I was at Bates from 1967 to 1971 and heard members of the V-12 program lived in Smith and trained on campus, including Bobby Kennedy. He was shot while I was in college. It was a tumultuous time. My dad had served in Guadalcanal as a Marine in WWII so it was nice to learn that men who served in the Navy and Marines had trained at Bates. Glad to see these gentlemen still gather at Bates. Wishing a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

    Bill Matteson

  2. Susan says:

    What an honor for Bates to have played a role in preparing the V-12 men to serve their country. I’m so pleased and proud that the college continues the tradition of welcoming them back to campus.

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