In attendance at this year’s ROTC Commissioning at Providence College was George Fisher, who received an Honorary Degree at PC’s Commencement Exercises on behalf of all the soldiers of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) from PC’s “missing class” of 1944.
The Army Specialized Training Program was established by the United States Army in December 1942 to identify, train and educate academically-talented enlisted men as a specialized corps of Army officers during World War II.
By August of 1943 there were 380 members of the ASTP at Providence College. They were billeted in Aquinas and Guzman Halls, took their classes in Harkins Hall, drilled on Hendricken’s Field, and exercised in the gym at Harkins Hall and on the campus’ training field – where the Slavin Center would later be built. When the program was disbanded in May of 1944, the ASTP men of Providence College were assigned to the 328th Infantry Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division (the “Yankee Division”). Their unit fought in the Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe Campaigns during World War II. On October 17, 1998, during a reunion the men of the ASTP Unit of Providence College dedicated a plaque to 37 men of their number who were killed in action during World War II.