July 8, 2021
Greetings UNC NROTC Alumni,
As you are aware, the Naval Armory on the UNC campus is a very significant building not only to the U.S. Navy but also to the university and to our country based on its history. During WWII when the U.S. Navy chose the Chapel Hill campus for one of its five Pre-Flight programs and chose to increase the NROTC unit, the college benefited greatly, as they were in dire financial need due to plummeting enrollment. The Navy not only built the Armory, but it also built Jackson Hall, Kessing Pool, Emerson Field, and a hospital, while enhancing several dormitories, Lenoir Hall, Caldwell Hall and Woollen Gym. Who knew then that three U.S. presidents (Bush, Ford, Reagan) would be involved in this program as well as many hall of fame athletes from baseball, boxing and football. The Navy’s very first group of African-American sailors with formal enlisted ratings played in the world famous B-1 Band at the Armory and became the first sailors to officially integrate the U.S. Navy. Please refer to the narrative posted on the UNC NROTC AA website for more information.
Today, nearly 80 years later, the Armory is still functioning in its original capacity by continuing to train NROTC midshipmen, and it has housed the Air Force ROTC and the Army ROTC since the mid 1990’s. Unfortunately, the university has listed this building in “severe” condition, and it has been set for demolition in the next several years per page 43 of the UNC Master Plan 2019. https://facilities.unc.edu/master-plan/2019-master-plan/
Since November 2019, the Naval Armory Preservation Committee (NAPC) has studied this situation. In June 2021, we met with UNC Chancellor Guskiewicz to inform him of the rich history of the U.S. Navy on campus and about how the buildings and enhancements to academics helped shape the current direction of the university today. While the Chancellor was moved by our passion, he is only one of a host of people who need convincing that the Armory is worth preserving. Ultimately, we need your help with any special connections you have to the UNC Board of Governors or Trustees, the UNC facilities services committee, local and state government officials, media outlets, and legal services.
The goal of NAPC is to preserve the structure of the Armory as it stands and to work with the university to accomplish this. If you are interested and feel you have the time, talents and resources with which to help, we invite you to complete this survey by August 1, 2021. https://forms.gle/9pEPrgBozPAydfoq9
You may also forward this invitation to any others who you think may be interested and who may add value in this effort. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact any one of us.
Marianne Waldrop, NROTC AA President, email@example.com 252-646-4379
Rob Rivers, NAPC Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org 919-339-8441
Jeff Kennedy, F14pig@aol.com 817-313-4121
Sandy Henkel, email@example.com 828-234-2982
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