Skip to Main Content

UB and World War II: Military Programs at UB

Last Updated: Jan 8, 2024 4:41 PM

The front cover of a pamphlet for the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program.  It shows a drawing of three men in military uniforms walking on a typical college campus.

Image ID: RG3-5-30_1_4_013

The front cover of a booklet advertising war production training classes the School of Business Administration

Image ID: RG3-5-30_6_3_006

War Training Programs at UB

  • Army Air Force College Training Program.  This program was established to bridge the gap between the level of education cadets had received in grade school and what they would need for preflight, flight and ground instruction in Army Air Force Flying Schools.  Over five months, cadets received intensive instruction in mathematics, physics, history geography and English as well as introductory flight instruction. 

At UB, the program operated as the 23rd College Training Detachment.  Cadets attended classes taught by UB professors and instructors who had not been called into war service, and received introductory flight instruction from civilian pilots at the Buffalo Airport.  Norton Union (now Harriman Hall) and parts of Clark Gym were converted into barracks and mess facilities for the cadets.  The university also arranged for the use of the Grover Cleveland Park clubhouse for the housing of cadets.  

The Air Force College Training Program operated at UB from March 1, 1943 to May 18, 1944.  By the time of its curtailment, 995 cadets had passed through the program and onto advanced training as pilots, navigators and bombardiers.

  • Army Specialized Training Program.  The Army Specialized Training Program was established to provide the continuous flow of high grade technicians and specialists needed by the Army.  Qualified soldiers were sent to colleges and universities selected by the War Department to study subjects such as engineering, medicine and psychology, where the Army's own training facilities were insufficient.  Two programs under the Army Specialized Training Program operated at UB: 
    • Army Specialized Training Reserve Program.  The purpose of this program was to provide training and education to qualified 17-year-olds between high school graduation and eligibility for the Selective Service draft.  The ASTRP operated at UB from July 7, 1944 to March 31, 1945 and instructed 303 reservist air cadets in mathematics, physics, history and English.
    • 3215th Service Command Service Unit.  Trainees assigned to this unit were educated in UB's Schools of Medicine and Dentistry between July 1943 and December 1945.  Upon completion of their doctoral degrees, trainees were discharged from the enlisted ranks and commissioned as officers in the Army's Medical Corps and Dental Corps.  Approximately 340 trainees were assigned to the 3215th Service Command Unit through its first year of operation.  In September 1944, the program ended in the School of Dentistry and the number of trainees was halved in School of Medicine.

  • Civil Aeronautics Authority War Training Program.  Between July 1942-March 1943, UB trained 185 Army and Navy Aviation Cadets in a program originally designed by the precursor to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to train civilian pilots.  The successful operation of this program was cited by the university when it applied to become part of the Army Air Force College Training Program.

  • Engineering, Science and Management War Training Program.   From the summer of 1941 to the summer of 1945, UB participated in this program.  Sponsored by the Federal Government, it offered tuition-free courses for workers in local war industries.  By program's end, over 10,000 people had enrolled in these courses.       


  • Office of War Training.  This office was established by UB to coordinate the training of military personnel at UB.  Headed by Dean Lewis Froman, the office assigned classes to professors and instructors, bypassing the traditional administrative structure.  The office also acted as a liaison between the university, the military and the federal government.

  • V-12 Navy College Training Program.  Similar to the Army Specialized Training Program, the V-12 Navy College Training Program was designed to produce high grade technicians and specialists needed by the Navy.  Qualified apprentice seamen were sent to colleges and universities selected by the War Department to study subjects such as engineering, medicine and foreign languages.  This program was active in UB's School of Medicine and School of Dentistry from July 1943 to December 1945. 

  • Other Programs and Classes.
    • 800 reservists were trained in the Radio Technician Training Course as candidates for the Signal Corps during academic year 1942/43.
    • In the summer of 1942, UB offered courses on the chemistry of explosives to technical and supervisory personnel assigned to the TNT Plant in Lewiston, New York.