To recruit, educate, train and develop quality leaders for the United States Air Force
Detachment 30 is hosted by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Arkansas. With 17,926 students and more than 800 faculty and 1,800 staff, the University of Arkansas is the state's largest and most distinguished institution of higher learning. Founded in 1871 under the Morrill Act, the institution is both the major land-grant University of Arkansas and the state university. The institution is Arkansas' only major research university. It is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research institution with high research activity. As such, it ranks within the top 10 percent of research universities nationwide. The University offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in nine schools and colleges. More than 25 percent of all students earning undergraduate degrees in the state receive them from the University of Arkansas. Nonetheless, small classes are the norm. In nearly three-fourths of all undergraduate classes, there are 29 or fewer students.
The roots of the ROTC program reach back more than 148 years, to 1862 when the Morrill Act required the land-grant colleges to offer courses in military training. After the Civil War, Arkansas applied for land-grant status; and by 1886, colleges in all eleven states of the old Confederacy were also funded under the act. The Morrill Act contained no specific provisions for a military curriculum. Each university developed its own course of study. The program as we know it today is founded on the National Defense Act of 1916. Building on the Morrill Act of 1862, the National Defense Act (NDA) created a formal Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). The NDA authorized the President to establish ROTC units not only at land-grant colleges but at all accredited four-year institutions. Following World War II, the post-years were a time of reorganization and variation for ROTC. On September 16, 1947, the United States Air Force was established as a separate and equal element of the United States armed forces. The fledgling Air Force quickly established its own identity. A Department of Defense order on 26 September transferred all units and personnel of the Army Air Forces, including Air ROTC, to the United States Air Force. Army Air Fields were renamed Air Force Bases and personnel were soon being issued a sassy new uniform. The "brown shoe days," were over. In December 1947, Headquarters United States Air Force (USAF) announced plans to merge the Air Defense Command and Tactical Air Command to form a super command--the Continental Air Command (ConAC). This reorganization, completed one year later in December 1948 and intended to strengthen the air defense and close air support missions, placed all tactical fighter resources, including all active, reserve, and guard personnel, under a single commander. Besides its "flying and fighting missions," the Continental Air Command (ConAC) also gained along with Air Defense Command the responsibility for what was now termed Air Force ROTC.
When the University of Arkansas officials chose to incorporate Air Force ROTC into the program, Colonel Ray O'Day, who spent forty-one months in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, was named head of the University of Arkansas ROTC military department. The military program, referred to
as the Combined Services ROTC Program, included Infantry, Signal, and Air Corps branches until 1949, when the Air Corps became the Air Force ROTC. Lieutenant Colonel Merton L. Parks came to the University of Arkansas in 1948 to be the assistant Professor of Military Science and Tactics in charge of the Air Unit. A year later he became the Professor of Air Science and Tactics when the Air Force ROTC achieved equal status with the Army ROTC at the University of Arkansas. Since the establishment of Air Force ROTC, the University of Arkansas, and cross towns at John Brown University, North West Arkansas Community College, and University of Arkansas Fort Smith, have contributed to the education and commissioning of over 1000 students.