ROTC Redux

May 23rd, 2012

I join the letter writers in the March/April issue who were critical of the Corporation’s unwillingness to restore ROTC to the Brown campus (“The ROTC Debate,” Mail Room). While I respect the arguments of those opposed to ROTC at Brown, I think those arguments are misplaced.

I joined ROTC at Brown with some reluctance. I did not consider myself a “military” person and had serious reservations; it was only upon the insistence of my father, who served as a U.S. Army infantryman in World War II, that I agreed to participate in ROTC. Despite my misgivings, I found it rewarding and have to admit that being commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy on graduation day made me just as proud as receiving my diploma.

While I have always treasured my invaluable Brown education, my tour of duty as a naval officer taught me a strong sense of commitment, teamwork, and responsibility that I believe significantly shaped my life in the years that followed. I do not share the views of those who feel that allowing the military a place on Brown’s campus is necessarily incompatible with a liberal arts university, because in truth there are many diverse disciplines—intellectual and otherwise—that help mold us as human beings in very different, yet positive, ways. I would suggest the Corporation needs to be a bit more open-minded and rethink its position on this issue.

Richard D. Muir ’63
San Marcos, Calif.



I am no longer interested in trying to promote the return of Naval ROTC to Brown. My interest is in pointing out to readers the contributions Brown graduates make to a much needed part of our country’s overall role in complex international military-political activities.

As a graduate in the class of 1954, I was honored also to be a midshipman in Brown Naval ROTC. In September 1954 I was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy and about twenty-four years later I was again honored to be promoted to rear admiral. In the intervening years, my schooling at Brown helped me during assignments as a naval aviator, a commanding officer, and a program manager responsible for many millions of dollars, and for the training, professional performance, and morale of hundreds of personnel, both military and civilian. There were operational flying tours and three different tours in the Pentagon as well as two tours in the Electronic Systems Command, where acquisitions of military equipment took place. Needless to say, when Brown turned against the military units in the 1960s, I was greatly put off.

The military has been a part of the American experience since the late 1700s and indeed has helped preserve the conditions that have made this a free country. I suggest to readers that you open your eyes, take a look at the big picture, and do your own research to seek out the truth, as President Henry M. Wriston instructed us in Sayles Hall freshman year.

Albert A. Gallotta Jr. ’54
Fairfax Station, Va.

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Related Issue
May/June 2012