Vets Invade the Club Scene
While there may have been fewer specific services for them at the college, many Korean veterans still took advantage of their educational benefits at Oshkosh. In 1955, enrollment of Korean War veterans peaked at 228 individuals, or one-fifth of the student population. With this large influx of veterans, the Veterans’ Club became more active and an intramural sports powerhouse. Activities of the club included Packer games, monthly stag parties, Memorial/Veterans Day assemblies, multiple intramural football and basketball teams, and participation in many school contests. The club’s homecoming float took first place in the 1957 parade, their man won the 1958 beard contest, and their 1958 intramural basketball team took first place. The club also concerned itself with political matters. The Veterans’ Club of 1961, increasingly comprised of mostly non-combat vets, worked with other clubs around the state to advocate for a stipend increase and extending educational benefits to those who entered the service after January 31, 1955. In arguing their point in the student press, the veterans urged OSC’s non-veterans to support these measures because, in the era of the draft, they themselves might need them one day.
Similarly to the periods after previous conflicts, there seemed to be fairly good relations between vets and non-vets on campus. There were some, like the editors of an underground student newspaper, The Retreat, who seemed jealous of the stipend that the vets received. Still, for others, the veterans were more fascinating. Non-vets even began to use army slang to describe their teachers, students, and experiences at Fort Knowledge, their new term for the College.