Junior College and ROTC

in World War II Blog

My name is Gerald W. Thomas. I am the author of Torpedo Squadron Four – A Cockpit View of World War II, an account of my service in WWII as a VT-4 Torpedo Bomber Pilot on the USS Ranger, the USS Bunkerhill, and the USS Essex.

After graduating from John Muir Technical High School, Daniel and I enrolled in Pasadena Junior College (P.J.C.). I chose to major in Forestry.

At P.J.C. I enrolled in ROTC and I joined the “Red Crown” Unit — a special group that put on fancy drills and marched in the Memorial Day Parade.

ROTC - Red Crown Unit - Pasadena, 1937

John Muir Tech ROTC – Red Crown Unit – 1937

It was the worst of the Depression. Money was a constant struggle. I considered myself lucky to have a part-time job delivering groceries to wealthy families in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and parts of Los Angeles. I learned the hard way that you never deliver to the front door of wealthy homes.

My brother Daniel and I graduated from PJC in 1938 (it was a two-year college). To return to Idaho, Daniel bought an old Model T Ford. In spite of numerous blowouts, a broken wheel, and throwing a rod, we made it home in four days.

Model T Ford - "Idaho or Bust!"

Even after throwing a rod, we still made it home to Idaho in 4 days.

Previous post:

Next post: