In “The Day That Changed Everything” (feature, Dec. 7), I was disappointed that you failed to acknowledge the existence of the Navy and Marine Corps V-12 units at Princeton, especially from 1945 through June 1946, when they were dissolved. These units were a major proportion of the entire student body at Princeton. They comprised many combat veterans who were in the program to fuel the need for officers in the expected invasion of Japan.
They were the backbone of all the sport teams at that time. Princeton returned to football in the fall of 1945. The entire starting lineup and backups were all members of these programs.
Charlie Caldwell ’25 was recruited as head coach, with Dick Colman, Jud Timm, and Wes Fesler as assistants. A little-known fact was that Charlie installed the “T” formation that year, before converting to his beloved single wing in 1946. Although an unknown talent at the time, we upset nationally ranked Cornell at its home field led by All-American quarterback Allen Dekdebrun, later with the Buffalo Bisons.
In 1946, many of these same players were participants in the 17–14 upset of the University of Pennsylvania’s team, ranked third nationally, before a sellout crowd at Franklin Field.
Special recognition should go to three of our players: Tom Finical ’47, Ernie Ransome ’47, and Neil Zundel ’48, all from the V-12 program.