Blue Skies And Thunder--Farm Boy, Pilot, Inventor, TSA Officer, And WW II Soldier of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team
By Virgil Westdale and Stephanie A. Gerdes.
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 hapa 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. Paper: 296 pp.