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Military Training on Campus

Silent Sam and students in uniform, 1918

In January 1917, four months before the U.S. entered World War I, university students signed a petition asking for military instruction. By March, more than five hundred men were receiving training. The student-soldiers dug trenches on campus complete with barbed wire. They practiced trench warfare and grenade throwing, staged mock battles, and enjoyed coffee and doughnuts from the Red Cross.  By the end of the war, 2,240 alumni and students had enlisted in the service, and the military awarded three Chapel Hill students citations for bravery.