Unit History Project

All books are electronic copies (pdf) and are available for download.

Email comments about the books to the Author. (Do not email orders for books)

About the Author

Edwin W. “Ed” Mergele, a native of San Antonio, graduated in 1975 from UT with a Bachelor of Architecture (BAR), Magna Cum Laude. In 1975 he also completed his fourth year as a UT NROTC Midshipman and received his commission as a Line Officer in the Navy. He spent his first six months of active service in training to prepare for the Surface Warfare specialty and as a Talos missile battery officer. His first ship was the USS Albany (CG-10), flagship of the 2nd Fleet, homeported in Norfolk Virginia. Eight months later Albany “crossdecked” with the USS Littlerock (CLG-4) in Gaeta, Italy to take over duties as flagship of the 6th Fleet. In 1979 Ed returned to the United States and traded a regular Navy commission for one in the Naval Reserve.

During the next twenty years, he served another 18+ years in the Naval Reserve, retiring as a Commander, and earning his pennant as Commanding Officer of Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 108 (MIUWU-108), based at Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX. He was recalled to active duty twice: once in 1985 to assist the Operations officer for the Chief of Naval Reserve in New Orleans, LA and the second time with MIUWU-108 for service in Operation Desert Storm. The latter was served in Ad Dammam, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait City, Kuwait. Among his awards are the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.

While serving in the Naval Reserve, he earned an MBA from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He pursued a career as an Architect and Realtor in the private sector from 1980 to 1984. After a move from San Antonio to Houston in 1985 he moved to the public sector and served the City of Houston as an Architect, ultimately resulting in his being appointed City Architect. After 22 years he retired from the City of Houston and served a brief time as Building Official for the City of Hunter’s Creek. Upon moving back to his hometown of San Antonio in 2007 he helped his three other siblings with the family business, EWM Company in Boerne, Texas and served on the boards of the UT NROTC Alumni Foundation and the Midshipmans Foundation. His interest in researching and documenting the history of the UT NROTC unit is a natural outgrowth of his work as the alumni newsletter editor, the alumni Webmaster and his love for history.


Volume I: 1940-1960

This volume covers the events that led up to the creation of the NROTC Unit at UT in the fall of 1940 and subsequent events and stories that painted the lives of Midshipmen and other officer candidates during the WWII and the Korean conflict years. This score of years was highlighted by the attack on Pearl Harbor that led to WWII, the largest commissioning class in UT history, the largest Naval ROTC command in UT history, the first NROTC graduates to be killed in action, a unit Swing Band and Glee Club, the first Drum & Bugle Corps, three different “homes” for NROTC on campus, the advent of the Holloway Plan, the arrival of Army and Air Force ROTC, the creation of the Buccaneer drill team, the creation of the Crow’s Nest and its first four homes, a summer cruise marked with tragedy, another tragedy at the NROTC Unit itself and a new tri-service organization called Scabbard & Blade.

Many sources were used in compiling this portion of Unit history, largely the Cactus yearbook and a few early Spun Yarn newsletters, but the most important source was the alumni themselves. Their stories and recollections added “spice” to this assembly of numbers, names and statistics. In this volume we were quite fortunate to have received so much input from many WWII veterans. This first volume was completed in time for the November 7, 2015 reunion weekend and was largely dedicated to those same WWII vets on a weekend that UT celebrated all her vets.

Click here to download. Released Oct. 20, 2015.


Volume II: 1960-1980

The second volume covered the next score of years at the UT NROTC Unit. Again, input was solicited from numerous alumni, including the author this time. The Vietnam and Cold wars were predominant during this timeframe. This period was highlighted by the space race, the arrival of the NESEP program, the advent of the Longhorn Log, the Cuban missile crisis, UT Football, the end of segregation at UT, Navy Sweethearts, the tower sniper, the first Unit staff officer to make flag, the first UT Midshipman to make flag, an alumnus landing on the moon, the first female Midshipmen, two more homes for the Crow’s Nest, arrival of the MECEP program, the Intramural team of the decade and the five year hiatus of the Longhorn Log.

The Cactus yearbook was the one constant source of information about the Unit. During this time the Longhorn Log provided more detailed help from 1963 to 1975 and, starting in 1966, the Command History Report provided invaluable input. Around 1976 the Spun Yarn Unit newsletter became The Naval Orange and a few of those survived to be used as sources. But the most interesting input was naturally from our alumni. By the time of this second installment nearly 100 alumni were corresponding with the author to fill in the gaps and add anecdotal input. This volume was completed in time for the November 12, 2016 alumni reunion, another UT Veterans Day celebration.

Click here to download. Released Nov. 9, 2016.


Volume III: 1980-2000

This volume has been released for the November 3, 2018 reunion weekend. Many thanks to alumni who helped fill in rather large gaps in documentation for the 1990s. This score of years is highlighted by the tri-service Buccaneer drill team, the end of the NESEP program and the beginning of the ECP, NECP and STA-21 programs, the new Drum & Bugle Corps, six more relocations for the Crow’s Nest and its demise, the creation of an alumni association and the first annual recurring alumni reunion, the rebirth of the Midshipmans Foundation, required sailing training, retirement of Black Mac, arrival of the huge ship’s anchor as a static display outside the ROTC building and UT’s NROTC connection with St. Edwards and Huston-Tillotson Universities.

Click here to download. Released Nov. 1, 2018.


Volume IV: 2000-2021

This volume is planned to cover the twenty years of Unit history up to, but not including all of academic year 2022, the beginning of the Unit's 82nd year. Academic year 2022 will include parts of the fall of 2021. Release of Volume IV was originally due to occur at the 2020 Reunion, on or near Veterans Day of that year, to coincide with the Unit's 80th Anniversary. Did the advent of Irregular Warfare intervene? Concepts associated with it are older than the term itself. Time will tell. The highlights from this period will include the fourth and fifth home for NROTC on campus and the crisis it involved, creation of the alumni website, creation of the Alumni Foundation, the new NROTC obstacle course, the Spur & Anchor Unit newsletter, the reappearance of the Longhorn Log yearbook, the first Midshipman to reach 4-star rank in the Navy, the time capsule discovered during the demolition of RAS, the NROTC alumnus selected as Chancellor of the UT System, the WWII oral histories project, the Unit celebrating its 75th Anniversary and the first Midshipman to reach 4-star rank in the Marine Corps. An updated version of the Appendix will also be released.

Click here to download. Released Nov. 12, 2021.


Appendix: 1940-2020

It became quite obvious upon embarking on a narrative of the Unit’s history that too many statistics, lists and charts would interfere with the flow of the story. So it was decided to compile an appendix with much of the detail about dates, names, listings, events and such. It served as an aid in writing the narrative without being too concerned about including all the nitty gritty details. They are there if the reader chooses to explore further. The first volume was released with the appendix as part of the work. The first volume also included an expanded Table of Contents to give the reader some sense of the content of future volumes. When the second volume was released it was accompanied by a separate and updated Appendix. With each subsequent release, the Appendix will be updated to reflect new material.

There are areas of the Appendix that need alumni input. Such areas as the Legacy section, the Command at Sea section and the Command Ashore section need direct alumni input. Just email the author with your information.

Click here to download. Last update Nov. 12, 2021.