HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Navy officials have approved the creation of the first-ever Navy ROTC program at the University of Hawaii, officials said.
Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz announced the Navy's decision to add the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps program Wednesday, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.
"The long-awaited establishment of a Naval ROTC program at UH-Manoa underscores the Navy's commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and represents a tangible step toward increasing the diversity of its officer corps," Hirono said.
The university has an Army ROTC program and an Air Force ROTC program, school officials said. The Army program was the only unit to be called to active duty and serve in World War II when its cadets were made a part of the Hawaii Territorial Guard following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
The university was "always been interested in Navy because of the obvious Pearl Harbor (connection) and the history of the islands," Assistant Vice Chancellor Ron Cambra said in April.
The program is expected to give more students a chance to earn scholarships and gain an education, Schatz said.
Funding for the program was included in the Navy's 2019 budget, but had not been released yet. The university must renovate some buildings for Navy use and officials envision an upgraded ROTC campus if defense department funding is approved, officials said.
ROTC programs train students to become commissioned officers. The program is expected to allow more students to afford college and serve their country, university President David Lassner said.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com