ROTC goes coed as female enrolls

Moina Barton

Editor’s note: this article was originally published on Friday, December 15, 1961.

Its no longer a man’s world. That last frontier of male dominion – the AFROTC- has been invaded by the distaff side! To freshman Suzanne Jones, 6 N. LeHigh, Topeka, goes the distinction of being Washburn’s first woman AFROTC cadet.

Major Berlie Lunde, AFROTC Commanding Officer, confirmed the fact of Suzane’s enrollment in Air Science 102, a course dealing with principles of flight and the foundation of air power.

Far from being rueful about this invasion of heretofore masculine territory, Major Lunde was apparently gratified at Suzanne’s interest in the course and cordially welcomed her as a student.

She will not actually have cadet rating, he cautioned, since her entire credit will be earned in the classroom, not on the drill field. She will, however, be granted full privileges of attending class twice a week with the cadets: and Air Force textbooks will be issued to her, as they are to men in air science courses.

Daughter of James S. Jones, U.S. Air Force Flight Engineer stationed at Forbes, Suzanne dates her interest in air science from helping her father with his courses in flight engineering. A psychology major, she is also taking math, physics and astronomy.

Volunteer work with the Civil Air Patrol has given her a valuable foundation in the study of air power and the history of the Air Force, she said. She as taken part in both SAR-CAP and RED-CAP – exercised in Simulated Air Rescue and Air Raid Alert – and she is a full-fledged ham radio operator.

Suzanne hopes to apply the principles learned in her air science course toward earning a pilot’s license with the Forbes Aero Club in the spring. A modest, rather shy, young person, she expressed surprise that her AFROTC enrollment should be considered even slightly sensational. It was simply the only department offering to teach her the things she wished to know!

Concerning the possiblity of further feminine interest in his field, Major Lunde was rather guarded in his comments. His estimate of the ability of the weaker sex was gallantly unlimited; but since space and the number of instructors are limited, he said, priority must necessarily be given men interested in Air Force careers.

Although air science courses are filling up, a few places are still available. So come on gals. Off we go – into the wild blue yonder…