Scott quickly informed the army by telegraph of Reed's interest in participating in the premeteorology program. Preparations began for housing, feeding, and teaching these 200 or so enlisted men, scheduled to arrive the following February. According to army contract, the GIs could not be integrated with the student population, but had to be kept on a strict military regime, with separate living and eating accommodations.
Sleeping quarters were identified as the real problem, and Scott and Knowlton scoured southeast Portland for somewhere suitable. They finally decided to convert the old Safeway grocery at 41st and Woodstock into a barracks to augment old dorm block rooms; army inspectors approved the site after a preliminary inspection. Reed had cleared the first hurdle.
The AMP coursework, designed by the U.S. Weather Bureau and the University of Chicago, included mathematics, physics, mechanics, vector analysis, geography, and a combined history and writing course. For this, 20 full-time instructors were needed. Reed's first step was to canvass its own faculty; Knowlton was made academic director of the program and F.L. Griffin took charge of the mathematics program. Other faculty members were recruited from within Reed and from colleges around the country, including the University of California, the University of Chicago, and Haverford College.
AMP classes began on February 17, 1943, for the 285 cadets, age 18 to 21, assigned to Reed. The army required 48 weeks of instruction, with tests given quarterly to eliminate the unfit. In addition to rigorous classroom work, which culminated in a year and a half's coursework compressed into 12 months, the premeteorologists (P.M.s) also participated in physical conditioning and military drills, including small arms training at the Clackamas rifle range.
On February 22, 1944, the 201 graduates of the 69th Army Air Force Technical Training Detachment, Reed College, graduated in the auditorium of Duniway Elementary School. Upon completion of the countrywide final examination, Reed was notified that its cadets placed first in mathematics, second in physics and geography, and first overall among colleges participating in the training program.