The Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC) was poised to serve as a vital component of the U.S. Military training system during World War I. The establishment of a program designed to feed fresh officers and specialists to various branches within the U.S. Military was a forward thinking effort on the part of the War Department. In the event that the war would drag on into 1919, which was expected by most military officials, the U.S. would be able to overwhelm Imperial Germany through troops numbers. Yet, for the importance and urgency of training officers and specialists, the War Department failed to adequately equip SATC units and train their commanders to deal with the administrative side of command.
The SATC unit at William & Mary was commanded by Lieutenant, later Captain, Dana B. Van Dusen. Van Dusen was not the first commander of the SATC at William & Mary, but he served the longest. Prior to Van Dusen’s arrival, a Major W. P. Stone was in command, but recommended that Van Dusen take over as commander of the unit.2 It is unclear why Major Stone requested to Van Dusen take over command, but after recovering from a case of influenza, Lt. Van Dusen assumed command sometime after October 1, 1918.3
Van Dusen was thrown into the deep end when it came to running the unit. He served not only as the unit commander, but also their quartermaster.4 He faced numerous supply and administrative problems and would receive little help from the previous unit commander or the CEST.
- “TAPS” Published in the Memory of The Students’ Army Training Corps at William and Mary College (Williamsburg, Virginia, 1918), 4, https://scrcguides.libraries.wm.edu/repositories/2/digital_objects/277.
- Personnel memo from Major W. P. Stone to CEST dated September 29, 1918, National Archives RG 165 NM-84 Entry 412 Box 681.
- Personnel memo from Major W. P. Stone to CEST dated September 29, 1918, National Archives RG 165 NM-84 Entry 412 Box 681; Telegram from Major Stone to CEST dated October 2, 1918, National Archives RG 165 NM-84 Entry 412 Box 681.
- Telegram from Van Dusen to CEST dated October 26, 1918, National Archives RG 165 NM-84 Entry 412 Box 681.