I was curious if there was a difference between the V-5 and V-12 Navy programs during World War II. I have found a lot of information on V-12 program specifically but I haven't been able to find to much information on the V-5 navy training program. Was V-5 a subset of the V-12 program? I know Purdue, Notre Dame and many other schools had V-12 programs but haven't heard anything about V-5. Any insight would be very helpful!

EDIT: Finally found something:

Navy V-12, Volume 12 By Henry C. Herge

Looks as if the V-5 program was for naval aviation cadets that was later absorded into the V12 program and those students were given a special designation of (a) for Aviation.

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    I inherited a desk lamp with the ensignia USN V5 stenciled in the hood from my naval family. Would this of come from the academy? The era is exactly right. Thank you for the prior Information,
    – user1656
    Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 0:51
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5 Answers 5


While a senior in high school in Oklahoma in March 1943 I enlisted in the Navy in the Navy V-5 program. I was called to active duty on July 1, 1943. I was sent to Central Missouri State Teacher's College in Warrensburg, Missouri. My designation was changed from V-5 to V12A. I assume the "A" might have meant aviation. A semester was of 4 months duration. I was scheduled to attend 2 semesters and then be transferred to a navy pre-flight school. During my second semester, several of us were given a test and the option of going to pre-flight school or to a major university for NROTC. There were other students at Warrensburg that had the designation of V-12. They were to attend 4 semesters and then attend a navy midshipman school for 4 months and then be commissioned as Ensigns in the navy. My group of 12 were lined up alphabetically on a bench and called in one by one. The first 11 received orders to NROTC at UCLA. I was the last one called in and was told there were only 11 quotas for UCLA and that I would go to Notre Dame NROTC. I was at Notre Dame (still with a V-12 designation) for 5 semesters of 4 months each. We took 18-20 hours per semester and graduated afte 28 months (8 in V-12 plus 20 in NROTC). I was an Ensign and a college graduate at the age of 20. I remained in the navy (mostly submarine duty) until I retired in 1970 as a Captain. Hope this helps you understand the programs. Captain Robert Thomas U. S. Navy (Retired)

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    Thank you very much for your answer! Awesome to hear about it from someone who actually took part in the programs!
    – Grant
    Commented Jul 24, 2012 at 6:55

I enlisted in the USN V-5 program in May of 1945, two months before VJ day. I attended Minot, ND State Teachers College for one semester and then was transferred to Iowa State College in Ames,Iowa for one quarter, then to Lawrence, KS for one semester when we were told to find a school on my own to complete the pre-flight college requirements. As my parents were then living on the campus of UND (University of North Dakota)I completed my college pre-flight requirements there and waited for pre-flight training at Ottumwa, Iowa. By this time I was taking pre-med courses and planned a medical school education. " Given an option to opt out of the V-5 program, I did and finished my pre-med courses at UND as a civilian. After graduation I attended Boston University School of Medicine, graduated and interned nesxt door at Boston City Hospital for a year then movwed to Chicago to a residency in psychiatry at Michael a Reese Medical Center. In Chicago my draft board in Massachusetts decided that my V-5 time was "not avtive duty" and changed my classification to I-A. The Illinois Medical Board, however, determined that my V-5 training weas "active duty" and reclassified me back where I had been. It may not have been "fair" (I agreed with the draft board about that, but the law is the law and I wanted to complete my psychiatric training without interruption. I have felt a degree of responsibility toward the military since then and joined the USA Medical Corps Reserve program spending two weeks yearly at an Army Meical faciilty in Hawaii, which I did until age retirement.


I entered V12 program at Central Missouri State at Warrensburg in June 1945. The program was discontinued there after one four month semester. The unit was then sent to Brown University in Providence, R I. Before the semester ended at Brown, due to the surrender of Japan on Sept. 2, Some who were in the program were allowed to drop out and transfer to the Naval Reserve. We then were sent to Great Lakes for about a l month boot camp. The base there was rapidly downsizing also. Everything military was grinding to a halt. Staying in the V12 required an obligatory 4 years of active duty after completing college.


I enlisted in the navy in August, 1945 and while awaiting orders to boot camp I received a letter from the Office of Naval Officer Procurement in Los Angeles stating that the results of my general classification test indicated that I might be able to qualify for the V-12 or V-5 officer candidate program. The V-12 program led to a commission as a regular line officer and the V-5 to a commission in the aviation branch. I chose the latter and after testing I was sent from Long Beach, CA to Colgate Univ in NY. After one year attending in uniform as an apprentice seaman (AS-V5), the navy on-campus units in the US were closed and we were told to gain admission to another university for our second year attending as civilians and paid for by the navy. During the summer of 1946 the V-5 program was changed into the Holloway Plan providing completing 2 years of college, appointment as midshipman, 2 years of flight training, commission in the regular navy and one year in the fleet and 2 more years of college as a Lieut JG if retained or as civilian if not. I ended up flying fighters off carriers in 1949 and 1950 and I returned to school when my year was up. Google "Flying Midshipmen" or a book titled "Once a Jock..." for more information. One of my adventures is on pg. 62 in the book.


I found an old Chicago Tribune newspaper from 1942 where they interviewed my father as valedictorian of his high school. It states that he intended to enlist in the "NEW NAVY V5 PROGRAM" which provides flight training for high school graduates

  • I'm not sure that this answers the question.
    – MCW
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 9:24

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