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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mystery History -- Solved!

Rebecca (my daughter Becky) came closest with her 10:09 a.m. Wednesday guess "ROTC graduation at a Pasadena high school?"

But it's not high school, it's Caltech!

In the 1958 photo above, Richard M. Frincke, commander of the Air Force Association's Pasadena area squadron, presents an awards medal to Caltech Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Cadet Captain Barry E. Feinberg.

The ceremony was a big annual deal.

Mrs. D.A. Holbrook, Pasadena regent of the Daughters of American Revolution, presented the DAR medal to Cadet Capt. David C. Gildersleeve.

Even Caltech President Lee Dubridge got into the act:

Dr. Dubridge was no lightweight: He supervised the development of JPL and made the cover of Time Magazine. (To this day JPL is managed by Caltech.)

Caltech's Air Force ROTC program began in 1951, just six years after the end of World War II. Cadets had two years of basic courses in aeronautical science and military drill, with more specialization during the remaining two years. Summers were partially spent training at a U.S. Air Force base. Upon completion of the four-year course, they were commissioned second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and were subject to the call to active duty at any time.

Students enrolling in the ROTC program had to meet Caltech's rigorous requirements for admission.

There is still an Air Force ROTC program at Caltech, but it's now in partnership with USC. Cadets go through training at USC and receive Caltech credit.

Many thanks to Pasadena Museum of History and Caltech.

This is for my grandson David.


  1. Hi Ann,
    I guessed it was Caltech just seconds before you posted your answer, so I think I deserve a big hug next time we meet.

  2. But I'll stand in line behind the true winner, Becky. Love these Mysteries, Ann.

    1. Ack! I'll post an update on the page.

    2. When I took a look, I saw that your guess was posted at 10:48 a.m. today but my "Solved" post went live at 4:50 a.m. today. Am I missing something? Are you still in England?

  3. Love the history, PIO Emeritus!

    I knew it was ROTC. But wasn't sure about where, so I didn't want to answer with an incomplete answer.

  4. This Surprised me? Hey, all this time I thought I was following you. Is there a way I can follow you in my RSS feeder?

  5. Geez, Ann, I wrote an answer to your question, watched it go up (after all the captchas) and now it's not there. This is a bit of a puzzle. On Tuesday I commented that it was at Caltech, but it never appeared. Today, I used my bookmark to get to your blog, but as it didn't go to the home page, I didn't realize you'd already posted the answer. Only saw it on your FB status. Doesn't matter though - I'm sure you're very generous in distributing your hugs. :0) Sorry I will be away for the party to launch the Dooh Dah exhibition.

  6. Well, I didn't even know what to guess so it's a good thing you received my comment in a timely fashion.

    Way to go, Becky! ROTC never even crossed my mind.

    Margaret, if you don't see the usual RSS icon, try Bookmarks and see if there's an option like "subscribe to this page." That should work.

  7. This is a fascinating piece of Caltech history, by the way. I'll let my friends in the Caltech Archives know.

  8. Yeah, I found the RSS button. You know, I am scraping by with just the iPad these days. Maybe that makes a difference.