Ned Herzog of New Haven, who served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), will be awarded an honorary bachelor of science degree from Providence College in Rhode Island. Fay Rozovsky, president of the college’s National Alumni Association Board of Governors will present the diploma to Herzog on Sunday, Nov. 13, 12:30 p.m. at Pine Orchard Country Club in Branford.
Herzog was among several members of Unit #1188 of the ASTP who were called to service while they were enrolled as undergraduate students at the college in 1943, and never returned to complete their education.
The ASTP was a rigorous military training program instituted in 1943 by the U.S. Army at more than 120 American higher-education institutions. Since the draft age had been lowered to 18 that year – decimating student enrollment – these student-soldiers essentially secured the survival of many institutions, including Providence College. The goal of the program was to train the best and brightest military recruits in a variety of fields. They were promised a college education and an officer’s commission. The U.S. Army planned to assign these skilled soldiers to the anticipated rebuilding of Europe.
While ASTP students studied and drilled, the invasion of Europe was nearing. Casualties had been unexpectedly high and the compelling need for infantry fighters forced the Army to curtail the flourishing program. The contingent from Providence College suddenly was called to join the war effort in March 1944. None of them would return after the war to complete an undergraduate degree at Providence College. They became known as the “Lost Class of ’44.”
The division landed at Omaha Beach three months after D-Day to join General George Patton’s Third Army. Following intense combat in France, they were engaged in the Battle of the Bulge – where 80,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded in a six-week period. Their mission was to open a corridor to beleaguered Bastogne. After successfully completing the task, they drove through the Siegfried Line, crossed the Rhine, and fought their way through Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. During 210 days of active combat, 37 members of the original Providence College ASTP unit were killed in action.