Student Army Training Corps

Student Army Training Corps Tents

SATC Scrapbook-Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library

SATC camp at the University of Montana

The War Department initiated The Student Army Training Corps as a nationwide program in the spring of 1918, a year after the U. S. had entered World War I. It began at 157 colleges and lasted until December of that year, following the Armistice. The idea was to allow students to volunteer for the army without unduly depleting enrollment at the nation's colleges and trade schools.

Two Companies

President Sisson

The Sentinel yearbook

Edward O. Sisson

In a letter to the Coast Artillery Corps in Seattle, dated October 18, 1918, University President Edward O. Sisson wrote that Missoula had two SATC sections:

"We have Section "A" on the University campus, which was formally installed October 1, 1918, and Section "B" at Fort Missoula. At present there are 300 members of the collegiate section. The present contingent at Fort Missoula numbers 206; the next detachment to be inducted will be 450."

Sisson wrote that students in Section "A" take regular academic classes along with military training, while those in Section "B" supplement their military work with training for general mechanics, auto mechanics, radio operators, blacksmiths, topographical draftsmen and pipe fitters.

The privates earned $30 dollars a month plus equipment and uniforms. On campus, they lived in tents until barracks were built, and they ate together at a mess hall.


SATC Company A

The Sentinel yearbook

To qualify for Section "A", applicants had to have earned at least 13 high school credits. The program accepted men between the ages of 18 and 21, and between 31 and 45, as long as they could pass the army's physical entrance exam.

SATC Company B

The Sentinel yearbook

Fort Missoula Dedication

In its coverage of the dedication of the Fort Missoula section, The Montana Kaimin student newspaper quoted President Sisson as saying:

 "The University is glad and proud of the occasion. It is the brightest thing in all her war history thus far. 
These young men have gathered from all parts of the state at the call of President Wilson and the army. They are to train and perfect brain and action first to do their special duty as officers and specialists in the vast war machine. Later, they will come back to take up their own great tasks as American citizens, to help their land to fulfill its blessed mission to foster and guard freedom for all the world."

Influenza Pandemic

But some of those at the SATC camps wouldn't survive their training. The sections in Missoula opened at the same time that the influenza pandemic hit the city. Fifteen soldiers died of flu, and another died of Scarlet Fever. Five nurses who volunteered at the camps also died of influenza or complications following the illness.

Quick Facts


  • Established by the War Department- Spring 1918
  • Camps at 157 universities and colleges
  • Two camps in Missoula- one on campus and one at Ft. Missoula
  • Privates earned $30 a month
  • SATC discontinued after the Armistice- November 11, 1918

SATC Scrapbook Slideshow

SATC Slideshow picture

SATC Daily Schedule