Organized by the federal government and administered by the United States Office of Education during World War II, the Victory Corps was an extracurricular organization that prepared high school students for civilian and military participation in national defense efforts. Membership required participation in a physical fitness program, participation in war-related activities such as scrap drives or USO work, and enrollment in specified academic courses such as mathematics, science, and preflight aeronautics.

Three men sit at a desk and three men stand behind them. All men are wearing upside down triangle badges.
War Manpower Commission Chairman Paul McNutt, seated at center, and other members of the commission pose for a group portrait upon the launch of the High School Victory Corps, 1942 Credit: Indiana Historical Society View Source

Several Indianapolis high schools participated in the Victory Corps program beginning in 1942. DeWitt Morgan, superintendent of the Indianapolis Public Schools, appointed Wilbur Barnhart, the vice principal and a commerce teacher at Manual High School, as the director of the program in the city. Students involved in the Victory Corps participated in a wide array of local war-related activities, including bond sales, scrap drives, and other volunteer work.

Revised March 2021

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