Early History and the John Taussig Collection
In 1947, soon after President Harry Truman established the US Air Force, Detachment 009 was founded at Yale as one of the nation’s first AFROTC units. Colonel Richard Gimbel was among Det 009’s earliest leaders. A graduate of the Yale class of 1920, Gimbel served as an Army artillery officer before transferring to the Army Air Corps in 1940. During World War II, he flew with the Eighth Air Force in the European Theater. He served as both commander of Det 009 and Yale Professor of Air Science and Tactics from 1951-53, and remained a curator of aeronautical literature at the Yale University Library thereafter.
Gimbel’s leadership of Det 009 occurred during a crucial period of US Air Force history. The concurrent Korean War (1950-53) was the first major combat stress test for the independent Air Force, and Det 009 served as one of many ROTC detachments training officers to fight the conflict. The attached photo collection, donated by Mr. John Taussig in 2022, depicts the operations of Yale AFROTC during Gimbel’s term. Many actions, traditions, and programs featured in the photos—including drill practice, uniform inspections, change of command ceremonies, and educational visits to military bases—are still conducted at Det 009 today.