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Blue Skies and Thunder: Farm Boy, Pilot, Inventor, Tsa Officer, and WW II Soldier of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

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In 1942, Virgil Westdale was a successful young flight instructor when the government ousted him from the Air Corps and demoted him to army private. Having grown up as a Japanese American midwestern farm boy, Westdale had his first taste of Japanese culture when he was sent to train with the all Japanese American unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was ultimately tr In 1942, Virgil Westdale was a successful young flight instructor when the government ousted him from the Air Corps and demoted him to army private. Having grown up as a Japanese American midwestern farm boy, Westdale had his first taste of Japanese culture when he was sent to train with the all Japanese American unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was ultimately transferred to the 522nd Artillery Battalion, where, as a member of the Fire Direction Center, he helped push the Germans out of Italy, rescue the "Lost Battalion" in France, and free prisoners from Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. After the war, Westdale went on to pursue a career in research and development with large corporations. He received twenty-five U.S. patents and earned an international award for his work with photocopier components. In retirement, he has been working for the TSA, returning to the worlds of aviation and national security. Written for the lay reader as well as the history buff, Westdale's stories of World War II challenge preconceived notions of what we think we know about a soldier's life in Europe and offer images that go beyond the history books. John H. Mumma, Colonel, US Army Retired Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration Virgil Westdale's Blue Skies and Thunder tells a story that is both unique in American history and uniquely American. After growing up as a Midwestern farm boy whose Japanese father had largely assimilated into the local community, he found himself after Pearl Harbor viewed with suspicion by the very government he wanted to serve in the Second World War. Denied a chance to serve as a military pilot, or even as a pilot trainer, he eventually found his way into a newly created Japanese American artillery unit and served with distinction in Italy, France and Germany. Back in the United States, he completed college and made a career for himself as an engineer with multiple patents to his credit, and eventually served his country a second time, as an airport security officer. His account is highly readable and offers insights into a wide range of aspects of both his own life and the world around him. Dr. James Smither, Director Grand Valley State University Veterans History Project


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In 1942, Virgil Westdale was a successful young flight instructor when the government ousted him from the Air Corps and demoted him to army private. Having grown up as a Japanese American midwestern farm boy, Westdale had his first taste of Japanese culture when he was sent to train with the all Japanese American unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was ultimately tr In 1942, Virgil Westdale was a successful young flight instructor when the government ousted him from the Air Corps and demoted him to army private. Having grown up as a Japanese American midwestern farm boy, Westdale had his first taste of Japanese culture when he was sent to train with the all Japanese American unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was ultimately transferred to the 522nd Artillery Battalion, where, as a member of the Fire Direction Center, he helped push the Germans out of Italy, rescue the "Lost Battalion" in France, and free prisoners from Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. After the war, Westdale went on to pursue a career in research and development with large corporations. He received twenty-five U.S. patents and earned an international award for his work with photocopier components. In retirement, he has been working for the TSA, returning to the worlds of aviation and national security. Written for the lay reader as well as the history buff, Westdale's stories of World War II challenge preconceived notions of what we think we know about a soldier's life in Europe and offer images that go beyond the history books. John H. Mumma, Colonel, US Army Retired Federal Security Director, Transportation Security Administration Virgil Westdale's Blue Skies and Thunder tells a story that is both unique in American history and uniquely American. After growing up as a Midwestern farm boy whose Japanese father had largely assimilated into the local community, he found himself after Pearl Harbor viewed with suspicion by the very government he wanted to serve in the Second World War. Denied a chance to serve as a military pilot, or even as a pilot trainer, he eventually found his way into a newly created Japanese American artillery unit and served with distinction in Italy, France and Germany. Back in the United States, he completed college and made a career for himself as an engineer with multiple patents to his credit, and eventually served his country a second time, as an airport security officer. His account is highly readable and offers insights into a wide range of aspects of both his own life and the world around him. Dr. James Smither, Director Grand Valley State University Veterans History Project

22 review for Blue Skies and Thunder: Farm Boy, Pilot, Inventor, Tsa Officer, and WW II Soldier of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

  1. 4 out of 5

    M.Cucinella

    A wonderful book about a remarkable man.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chad

  3. 5 out of 5

    Winona Willing

  4. 5 out of 5

    Faith Shotts-Flikkema

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kay Croisant

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Porter

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erin Schaaf

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  11. 4 out of 5

    jack jenkins

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mitch

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dorcas Grigg-saito

  14. 4 out of 5

    Odine

  15. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  16. 5 out of 5

    Selena

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kim Kohlhoff

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa 9 Marie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ingen

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