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Conning Tower was an honorary society for the midshipmen in the unit dating back to at least 1941. Its purpose was to create esprit de corps and lasting friendships among those whose ambitions lie in the naval service. Throughout the years, Conning Tower also undertook stimulating the officer-midshipman relationship, community service projects, and becoming the source of public relations between the unit and the campus.
A member of the officer staff would select new members; to be included, an officer candidate had to exhibit promise in becoming a naval officer through a mastery of naval science, good academic and social standing, and outstanding behavior in unit activities.
Though it was a professional group, planning social, athletic, and special activities was the norm. Sponsoring lectures, balls, yearbooks, field trips, and cruises helped to accomplish their mission.
Today, Conning Tower as an honorary society no longer exists within the unit, largely unseen save for small remnants around the wardroom.
On a ship or submarine, the conning tower was the area from which an officer can conn, or direct, the vessel, usually located as high as practical.
Sources: UCLA Southern Campus and BruinLife yearbooks, 1941 – 1967; Wikipedia article, “Conning tower.” Logo found in the 1948 UCLA yearbook.