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With gays about to serve in military, Yale brings back Air Force ROTC after decades-long absence

By MIKE MELIA, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps is coming back to Yale University under an agreement signed Monday, joining the Naval ROTC in returning to the Ivy League campus after a decades-long absence.

Yale had been among other prominent universities without ROTC programs until May, when it agreed to bring back the Naval ROTC after Congress voted to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

The Air Force and Naval detachments are both expected to open at the New Haven campus in the fall of 2012.

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Yale President Richard Levin signed the agreement establishing the Air Force ROTC detachment. It will enroll cadets from Yale as well as other Connecticut universities that participate in cross-town arrangements.

"Yale students will make great contributions to the Air Force, as they do in whatever career they choose. I am pleased that the Air Force has taken this important step to make it easier for the most talented young men and women who aspire to leadership in our military to gain a Yale education. In my view both the military and Yale will benefit from this relationship," Levin said.

Some Yale students have been involved with ROTC, but they have attended training at other colleges. Earlier this year, two Yale graduates who took Air Force ROTC classes at the University of Connecticut were commissioned as second lieutenants.

The ROTC left prominent universities amid anti-Vietnam War sentiment in the 1960s. Colleges more recently kept it off campus because of the military's policy on gays, which the colleges considered discriminatory. Congress repealed the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy in December.

The university said votes by the Yale College faculty on May 5 paved the way for the re-establishment of ROTC on campus, and the university's governing board voted its approval on May 24. Yale also took a survey of undergraduates last year that found "an overwhelming majority" supported having ROTC on campus.

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