For Veterans Day, Caltech Pays Tribute to Its Service Members
November 11, 2021
To mark Veterans Day 2021 on Thursday, November 11, Caltech asked service members from its community to reflect on their experiences in the military. Here are some of those responses.
"This is a pre-deployment photo taken next to a landing gearset of the B-52. I would say my time in the Air Force helped to teach me what hills to die on—when to stand your ground when you know what’s happening could be wrong, and when to be flexible and take things as they come."—Adam Branch, vacuum equipment engineer, LIGO-LA
"As a U.S. Army infantryman, I learned that I need to appreciate everything I have at home such as family, friends, and basic necessities that people take for granted like water and clothing."—George Morales, maintenance mechanic, Student Housing
Shane Eagen, electrician at the Electrical Shop, served in the Armed Forces in Okinawa and Somalia in the early 1990s.
“There is definitely a sense of service that has carried over from my time in the Air Force. We recently had a power outage at Caltech, and an immediate sense of urgency seemed to kick in. Just as I am proud of my service to this country, I am extremely honored to work here at Caltech.”—Mike Torres, networks and support services, IMSS
"In my four years in the Marines, what comes to mind about what I've learned there is integrity, honesty, and safety. The bond of brotherhood is what I enjoy most with every Marine I come across, past or present."—Agustin Valadez, custodian assistant
"I spent eight years on active duty with the U.S Air Force as a logistics readiness officer and have spent the last seven years in the Air National Guard, currently serving as a public affairs officer. ... Teamwork, accountability, innovation, purpose, and impact are the first five words that come to mind when considering how to describe the overlap between my time in the Air Force and here at Caltech."—Elizabeth Nugent, office assistant, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach (CTLO)
Larry D. James, deputy director of JPL, served in the U.S. Air Force for decades in a career that spanned a wide variety of space operations and acquisition assignments, including space shuttle payload specialist, Global Positioning System satellite program manager, and commander of the 14th Air Force.
Lisa M. Soltero, associate director of reporting and business analysis, Advancement and Alumni Relations, served in the U.S. Air Force from 1985 to 1989 and, in 2001, joined the Air Force Reserve. She is a senior master sergeant at the 50th Aerial Port Squadron based at March Air Reserve Base. Her most recent deployment in 2013 sent her to the Middle East for seven months. She is currently the superintendent of the Air Terminal Operations Center.
Timothy J. Winiecki, property services assistant with Property Services, served 8 years in the United States Air Force with duty assignments at RAF Bentwaters, England and Minot A.F.B., North Dakota. He is seen here with his son, Adam, during Adam's final day in uniform.
Kathy Carpenter, Clery Act compliance coordinator, Security and Parking Services, served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer and in the Utah National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves. The photo above was taken in the early 1980s at Fort McClellan in Alabama.