Navy trainees form a "V for Victory" in the Butler Gymnasium pool in 1945.
Marcella Ball Jensen ’49 was chosen by the V-5 trainees to reign as Queen of the Navy Ball. Her escort is Lester Van Voorhis.
Sailors and their dates dance to the music of Bob Decker and his orchestra at the Navy Ball in 1945.
Doane faculty in 1945.
Company officers pose for a yearbook photo in 1945.
By Sara Hinds
Wars impact every aspect of our lives. Individuals enlist to serve or enroll to learn — and evade any draft. Colleges across the United States saw a pattern of the latter during the Vietnam War and subsequent draft.
But in the spring of 1942, after Congress declared war on Japan and subsequently entered World War II, enrollment was expected to decline at universities across the U.S. The focus of both men and women had turned at once abroad and homeward toward war efforts.
Only 12 students were expected to be on Doane’s Crete campus come the fall.
In a dual effort to increase enrollment and assist wartime efforts for its country, Doane joined 130 other U.S. universities and colleges as a site for the V-5 and V-12 Navy College Training Program that ran from 1943-1945.
Trainees enjoyed the normal college activities of the time, attended classes alongside Doane students and simultaneously trained to become an officer in the United States Navy.
U.S. Senator Hugh Butler, who graduated from Doane College in 1900 and is the namesake of Butler Gymnasium, played a key role in Doane’s selection for the program. Butler Gymnasium even added a pool to accommodate training needs.
More than 700 men participated in the program at Doane, many of whom returned later to finish their degree and attend reunions.
In 2002, the Navy Memorial Plaza on Osterhout Lane (the southeast corner of Crete’s campus) was built and dedicated as a tribute to the officer training programs. It includes an anchor donated by the U.S. Navy and brought to campus by alum Dean Petersen V12.
Another notable trainee alum who left his legacy at Doane is Dale Sloan V12, ’46. He tracked down 250+ V5 and V12 participants for the 50th reunion in 1993 and donated $1,000 just before the event to start the U.S.S. Doane Endowed Scholarship. Since then, more than 150 donors have contributed to the fund, some of which are estate gifts of generous amounts. Today, the endowment fund totals over $700,000.
Whether through money, metal anchors or memories, the legacies of the V5 and V12 training programs live on at Doane University.