In 1926, the campus becomes the flagship of a five-school program – the Naval ROTC – designed to recruit naval officers from the nation’s best universities. During WWI, the Navy had struggled, unlike the Army, with a shortage of adequately prepared officers. Enrollment is limited to 200 students. The first NROTC midshipmen receive one uniform and, in their last two years of college, a subsistence allowance of $210.
The unit’s first leader is Chester W. Nimitz, who in World War II will win fame as commander of the Navy in the Pacific. Nimitz also later serves as a UC Regent.
In 1932, the U.S. Marine Corps joins the Naval ROTC program, and qualified midshipmen now can seek commissions as second lieutenants in the USMC.