National Defense Act of 1916 

The National Defense Act of 1916 signed by Woodrow Wilson directed the establishment of ROTC for Army service. UC Berkeley was one of five universities to form an Army ROTC in 1920. Berkeley had the added distinction as an “Air ROTC” due to its strong engineering pedigree, thus Berkeley has earned the title of being “America’s First Air Force ROTC”. The Army Air Corps took shape in 1926 and Air ROTC endured until it was dissolved in 1935 due to lack of funding. After the establishment of the USAF in 1947, AFROTC was reestablished at Berkeley in 1951 as AFROTC Detachment 085. Historically, Cal has been instrumental in the development of America’s nuclear programs, from the Manhattan Project in the 1940s to the present management of the Berkeley Livermore Labs. This close association with the Department of Defense was the cause of much protest in the Vietnam War period yet the ROTC program has been offered continuously since its reestablishment in 1951 though protestors called for its dissolution. Some of Cal’s many distinguished military alumni include General Jimmy Doolittle (’22), Major General William Dean (’22), Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz (’26), Secretary Robert McNamara (’37), Gen Ellen Pawlikowski (’81), and Col Rex J. Walheim (’84).