“Rice and the Navy”

While digging around for more information about William Ward Watkin and the Naval ROTC building (which I didn’t find) I came across this very informative article in a 1941 edition of the student magazine, The Owl, about the origins of the Rice naval unit. I was most interested in the description of the rifle range being built by the handball courts but the mechanics of how the unit was organized and run are probably more important.

Owl Navy article 1941Owl Navy article 2 September 1941

Here are the links to the earlier discussion about the location of the rifle range.

Also many thanks to reader Wayne Collins for his comments on this post about the NROTC program.

Bonus: I was over in the old Physics Building the other day and Ann Mikus, the friendly and helpful department administrator for Political Science, shared this photo of the gorgeous view out her window this autumn.

Full Fall Glory_Dec2013 This might be the best tree on campus, at least in the fall. Who knows what kind it is?

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13 Responses to “Rice and the Navy”

  1. Matt Schreck says:

    Wow! I clicked to enlarge the first page of the article and there was my father “Hal Schreck” (albeit with last name misspelled). My father was so very proud of both his Rice education as well as his participation in ROTC. He subsequently served in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. He was 19 years young in that picture. Thanks so much for brightening my day.

  2. A couple of interesting things here. This is before the service dress khaki could be worn “on station” as opposed to “underway.” And way before the modern short-sleeve khaki and whites (which sort of evolved out of wartime practice.) Pretty much the only summertime/warm weather uniform was choker whites for officers and the double-breasted white coat with black tie for chiefs. (Only chief petty officers wear this and it’s like a white version of the well-known service dress blue double breasted uniform.) Also, that’s an old publicity photo of CAPT Dupre because he’s wearing the shoulder boards for the rank of Commander. I thought that perhaps the unit was holding to the custom of calling the commanding officer of a vessel “Captain” no matter his rank, but I think given the text, and the fact that the NROTC command billet has been held by other bird captains, that he had been promoted before taking the Rice billet and didn’t have a newer photo. Since he doesn’t have Aviator wings or Submarine dolphins we can tell that he spent most of his sea-going career on surface ships.

  3. Dan McCormack says:

    I think it’s a locust tree.

  4. I also learn something interesting in this blog, but never thought in a single post and comments I would see a reference to my dad (Wayne Collins), a Hanzsen friend from down the hall freshman year (Dan McCormack) and a fellow Shepherd School alum (Marty Merritt). The world is small…

  5. I was digging the old-school fonts and the hand-trimmed borders on the ads. We all have our specialties.

    For the tree, get a picture of one leaf (if they haven’t been raked/mowed) and the bark. Nice color for Houston.

  6. almadenmike says:

    The tree might well be a locust. Unfortunately, it’s one of five unidentified “other” trees north of the Lovett/Herzstein junction that disappear from the Rice Campus Tree Map (http://fon-gis.rice.edu/ricetrees/) when you zoom in. There are no locust genera (Gleditsia or Robinia) listed in the map’s index, but I suspect that this tree, spectacular as it appears now, seems not to have been accounted for (yet) in this project.

  7. Nice to see Cristle Collins Judd, who as a Shepherd School student was kind enough to write me a letter to welcome me to the Shepherd School the summer before my freshman year. Dan McCormack was the president of Hanzsen College while I was there. 20th century US military uniforms are one of my interests, along with cars, architecture, and music. I really can’t resolve CDR Dupre’s medal ribbons from the photo. I suspect the first one is the Navy Expeditionary Medal (for armed service ashore during a conflict) but it might be the Mexican Service Medal. The last one is probably the WWI Victory Medal but it could be the Yangtze Service Medal. Looks like Chief Lynd has hash marks for twelve years of service.

    • I just realized a couple of other interesting things about the uniforms the Navy personnel are wearing; not sure if the regs have changed since then or they were just looser about this in wartime, but nowadays covers (hats) are not worn indoors unless “under arms” (in other words, guard duty carrying a weapon.) Also, Chief Lynd has three black service stripes in the first picture, signifying four years service each, but in the second picture his chief’s “crow” insignia is gold, which also indicates twelve years service with good conduct. Gold crow would also have gold stripes, you don’t mix gold and black. I just can’t come up with a way given what I’m seeing here to get to the twenty years service mentioned in the text. Maybe since the Chief was recalled to duty he hadn’t updated his black stripes.

  8. Kathy says:

    Is locust tree the same as sweet gum? (I have done no googling on this) Without being able to look at leaves more closely, I would have guessed sweet gum. They get really bright in the fall.

  9. almadenmike says:

    No. Sweet Gum is sometimes called “Liquidamber”. But its star-shaped leaves are very different from the locust’s compound leaves. Many deciduous trees turn bright red in the fall.

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