Skip to main content
Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Exercises in Kenan Stadium, Navy Pre-Flight School

With the help of alumnus, newspaper editor, and former Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, the university became one of four sites for the physical conditioning of naval cadets before they began flight training. The Navy Pre-Flight School operated in Chapel Hill from May 1942 until October 1945. Every three months, a group of over eighteen hundred men took classes in sports and basic military science. The cadets engaged in boxing, swimming, calisthenics, baseball, football, and basketball. The navy built a barracks, a pool, a gymnasium, a canteen, and an obstacle course for their cadets, all of which it gave to the university at the end of the war.