The last of four posts written for “WWI and Champaign County” of the Town & Gown Speaker Series, a collaboration between the Student Life & Culture Archives and the Champaign County Historical Archives.
Research for this post contributed by Maggie Cornelius.
Besides ROTC and SATC, the Department of War instituted another military training program at the University of Illinois during World War I. The School of Military Aeronautics (SMA) was not a permanent addition to the University, but its activities preoccupied the campus during the latter years of the Great War.
In March 1917, the Daily Illini reported on this development: “The aviation section of the military department of the United States has become active during the present crisis and is desirous of interested students at all the universities in aviation.” To meet the nation’s need for pilots in time of war, the federal government commissioned six U.S. universities to open aviation schools. Illinois was the first American university to offer its facilities and resources to the government to aid the war effort. Continue reading “School of Military Aeronautics”