Tufts Answers the Call to Service: V-12 and NROTC at Tufts

Robert J. McNicholas

Began the V-12 program at M.I.T. in November 1943 to June 1944.

Entered the V-12 program at Tufts in July 1944. Bob was initiated into Tau Beta Pi as a junior and served as a platoon commander in the NROTC unit. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, magna cum laude, in February 1946. Upon graduation he received a commission as second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

After graduation, underwent officer training at Parris Island, SC, and Quantico,VA. Bob graduated with the highest standing in his Basic School class and was awarded a Marine Corps sword.

At the completion of officer training he joined the First Marine Division in China as a rifle platoon commander. In 1947 as the military situation deteriorated, 2nd Lt. McNicholas and his battalion were transferred to the island of Guam where they became part of the First Marine Brigade. As a 2nd Lt. Bob served as S-4(Logistics Officer) for the 5th Marines.

Upon completion of that tour of duty, he was transferred from the infantry to the artillery. He received training at Ft. Bliss, Texas in anti-aircraft artillery and Fort Sill, Oklahoma in field artillery.

While at Fort Sill, he was selected for a three year postgraduate course in Ordinance Engineering, Guided Missile Control. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Annapolis, MD and a MS in Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Upon graduation in June, 1952 Bob married Ruth Mueller. They have three children. The newlyweds first duty station was China Lake, CA, where Bob commanded the only guided missile battery in the Marine Corps. His tour was cut short in 1953 because of the situation in Korea. Two days after receiving his orders, the armistice was signed so Captain McNicholas commanded artillery batteries in Japan at Mt. Fuji and in Korea on the DMZ.

1954-1957 A tour at the Marine Corps Equipment Board, Quantico, VA where he was test officer for a new tracked anti-tank weapon system and later guided missile officer.

1957-1960 Bob was assigned to Headquarter Marine Corps, G-3 Operations where he became Head of the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare Unit.

In 1960 Major McNicholas became Officer-in-Charge Marine Corps Missile Unit, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. He tested the HAWK anti-aircraft missile and was designated as the Army Ordnance Corps Engineer Test Officer for the cold weather test of the missile at Ft. Churchill, Canada. An interesting assignment for a Marine. Major McNicholas was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his work at White Sands.

In 1962-63 Bob was overseas with the 12th Marines Artillery Regiment on Okinawa. He served as executive officer of an artillery battalion and then headed the Fire Support Coordination Center for the 3d Marine Division.

1963-65 Major McNicholas was assigned to a small, select group designated as a Long Range Study Panel, chaired by a general officer, to study the needs of the Marine Corps some twenty years in the future. Bob handled the science and technology forecast. It was during this tour he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

1965-66 Bob was one of two Marine officers selected to the initial one year course in Defense Systems Analysis conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses, Arlington,VA. The student body was comprised of representatives of the Armed Services and civilian members of the military departments and other government agencies. At the conclusion of the course, he received a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Maryland.

1966-68 LtCol McNicholas helped establish the Office of Coordinator of Systems Analysis at Headquarters Marine Corps. He retired in 1968 as the Marine Corps Systems Analysis Coordinator and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.

Upon retirement LtCol McNicholas and his family took a two month tour of Europe. Having spent three tours of duty in the Far East, Bob was glad to see the other half of the world

1969-74 Bob became a Senior Systems Analyst in the Naval Warfare Research Center at Stanford Research Institute, Menlo Park, CA. One interesting assignment took him to Taipei, Taiwan for two and a half months.

1975-76 Bob worked for INTREC, Inc. in Santa Monica, CA doing research which involved trips to Iran.

1977-81 Bob was employed as a Senior Computer Scientist at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in San Diego, CA where his work involved command and control systems.

1981-87 After retiring, Bob planted a grove of lime, persimmon, and macadamia nut trees with a variety of other fruits in Vista, CA. Tending the grove and being a coordinator of a covenant prayer group at Mission San Luis Rey, CA kept him fully occupied.

1987-90 Bob and his wife, Ruth, traveled extensively.

1990-present Living in Sequim, WA. Bob is active in his church as a Eucharistic Minister. Together with his wife they have been pro-life couple for the Knights of Columbus and, at present, Bob is the Grand Knight of the Sequim Council. He also chaired the scholarship committee of the Sequim Elks Lodge for five years. In addition to maintenance work on a new house and property, he enjoys traveling.