In the late 1960s and early 1970s, with anti-Vietnam War sentiment at its peak, hostility towards military training programs grew and many ROTC programs on College and University campuses became targets of the growing opposition to the war. At Manhattan, the ferment against the war was mild compared to other institutions and while there were a few skirmishes between cadets and protesters, there was a fair amount of support for the government’s Vietnam policy and the ROTC. However, the anti-war movement, the abolishment of the draft and the loss of mandatory military training led to declining enrollment and made the maintenance of representation in the AFROTC overall much more difficult.
Despite a contraction of the program at this time, the AFROTC began to welcome female cadets. Although Manhattan had not yet admitted women to the College, two female College of Mount Saint Vincent students joined Manhattan’s AFROTC Program in 1972 and later received their commissions. During Manhattan’s first year of co-education in 1974-1975, Nan-Etta Watson became the first Manhattan College woman to enroll in the AFROTC.