Women in Military Science

Women were not included in military education at the outset of UC’s program, but through the years, roles and opportunities for women appeared and evolved to the point where today they are full participants alongside men. The major opportunities for women before they were permitted to join ROTC were in auxiliaries, groups that supported the ROTC and men’s honoraries. Throughout the years, other opportunities presented themselves as well.

Honorary Cadet Colonel

Beginning in 1930, a co-ed was chosen among candidates representing sororities and independent groups to be named honorary cadet colonel. The winner was announced at the military ball each year that capped the ROTC year and acted as hostess at ROTC events throughout the year.

Mary Lou Collom was the first honorary cadet colonel.

The honorary cadet colonel and members of Guidon assist at the President’s Review

UC Cadets

World War II opened up many opportunities for women holding down the fort while most men were away. The UC Cadets formed in 1942 as a military training program for women with¬†instruction and drill parallel to men’s ROTC for the purpose of preparing them for war emergency work.

1943 UC Cadets

The Goodyear Girls

In 1944, the civilian-military department of the College of Engineering began a twelve-week co-operative program in which women trained to become airplane factory supervisors. The women were known as the “Goodyear Girls” as they worked in the Goodyear Airplane Factory.

The two worlds of the Goodyear Girls

Goodyear Girls in the classroom and working on an aircraft engine.


The Army ROTC program began to allow women to take classes in 1969, but no commissioning program was established at that time. The Air Force ROTC began accepting women in the fall of 1970. The first co-ed cadet, Patty Jones, a 1970 graduate of Mt. Healthy High School, was officially welcomed at a ceremony held in President Langsam’s office on September 22, 1970.

First ROTC Co-ed Cadet

Patty Jones is shown here with President Langsam in a ceremony welcoming her to the ROTC.

1976 AFROTC Commissions

The three co-eds shown here are among the first women to be commissioned in the UC ROTC program.