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1990s Brief History

By the spring of 1991, when Manhattan College was celebrating the 40th anniversary of its AFROTC program, once again service training programs began to cut back recruitment, close units and release some students from military obligations.  The end of the Cold War, better relations with the Soviet Union and political and economic pressure to reduce military spending to limit the growth of the federal deficit led to the peace dividend of the 1990s.  It became increasingly more difficult to keep Manhattan's unit viable.  In the 1995-1996 academic year, there were approximately fifty students engaged in the AFROTC program; about 10-15% were from Manhattan College with others from sixteen different area colleges and universities.  By the late 1990s, the booming civilian economy and low unemployment made military service even less attractive and military training programs around the country were negatively impacted.  Despite these setbacks, Unit 560 continued to turn out dynamic students who balanced full academic loads while juggling work and AFROTC commitments.  To celebrate and honor the long history of the AFROTC, in the fall of 1999, a dedication ceremony was held and a memorial plaque honoring the alumni of the program was mounted on the wall immediately behind the flagpole outside Memorial Hall.  The event was well attended by our cadets, school administration, students, alumni, and the Riverdale community.