Virgil W. Westdale Interview Segment 33

Origins of name (ddr-densho-1000-280-1) - 00:06:36
Father's family background (ddr-densho-1000-280-2) - 00:05:11
Parents' interracial marriage (ddr-densho-1000-280-3) - 00:04:39
Description of mother: nurturing and sympathetic (ddr-densho-1000-280-4) - 00:02:36
Description of father: intelligent with high expectations (ddr-densho-1000-280-5) - 00:07:36
Description of siblings: three sisters and one brother (ddr-densho-1000-280-6) - 00:04:57
Growing up on family farm; raising peppermint (ddr-densho-1000-280-7) - 00:06:03
Learning to drive a Model T Ford at the age of nine (ddr-densho-1000-280-8) - 00:07:26
Description of farm procedures: processing hay (ddr-densho-1000-280-9) - 00:04:13
Father's role as an "innovator" in farming (ddr-densho-1000-280-10) - 00:04:08
Passing of mother (ddr-densho-1000-280-11) - 00:04:09
Mother's passing creates a split in the family (ddr-densho-1000-280-12) - 00:07:22
Coping with attending high school and working on the family's farm (ddr-densho-1000-280-13) - 00:05:54
Attending college and playing football (ddr-densho-1000-280-14) - 00:02:21
Deciding to change surname from Nishimura to Westdale (ddr-densho-1000-280-15) - 00:05:27
Hearing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor (ddr-densho-1000-280-16) - 00:03:48
Having to temporarily withdraw from flight school because of Japanese ancestry (ddr-densho-1000-280-17) - 00:05:54
Feeling like a "second-class citizen" due to Japanese ancestry (ddr-densho-1000-280-18) - 00:07:30
Called back to father's farm to convince him to give up contraband shortwave radio (ddr-densho-1000-280-19) - 00:04:57
Earning private and commercial pilot licenses (ddr-densho-1000-280-20) - 00:11:04
Becoming a commercial instrument flight instructor (ddr-densho-1000-280-21) - 00:03:58
Transferring to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (ddr-densho-1000-280-22) - 00:05:26
Adjusting to serving with Japanese Americans (ddr-densho-1000-280-23) - 00:07:59
Hearing about the backgrounds of fellow soldiers (ddr-densho-1000-280-24) - 00:07:35
Joining the Fire Direction Center with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (ddr-densho-1000-280-25) - 00:05:07
Reasons for success of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (ddr-densho-1000-280-26) - 00:03:21
Becoming a computer operator with the Fire Direction Center (ddr-densho-1000-280-27) - 00:02:47
Being shipped overseas, landing in Italy (ddr-densho-1000-280-28) - 00:06:13
Hearing about the service of the 100th Battalion (ddr-densho-1000-280-29) - 00:03:30
Joining of the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (ddr-densho-1000-280-30) - 00:03:33
Seeing the sights of Rome (ddr-densho-1000-280-31) - 00:01:44
The devastation of Hill 140: first battle experience (ddr-densho-1000-280-32) - 00:09:48
Moving through Italy (ddr-densho-1000-280-33) - 00:06:06
The role of the Fire Direction Center in battle (ddr-densho-1000-280-34) - 00:05:10
Description of tactical approaches in battle (ddr-densho-1000-280-35) - 00:08:10
The rescue of the "Lost Battalion" from the perspective of the Fire Direction Center (ddr-densho-1000-280-36) - 00:09:34
Seeing a German fighter plane flying over (ddr-densho-1000-280-37) - 00:05:47
The splitting off of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (ddr-densho-1000-280-38) - 00:01:55
Continuing on into Germany (ddr-densho-1000-280-39) - 00:06:07
Encountering survivors of one of the Dachau concentration camps (ddr-densho-1000-280-40) - 00:08:47
Thoughts on personally witnessing the Holocaust (ddr-densho-1000-280-41) - 00:02:03
Taking Dachau prisoners to neighboring homes to ask for food or clothing (ddr-densho-1000-280-42) - 00:05:25
Entering Hitler's home, the Eagle's Nest (ddr-densho-1000-280-43) - 00:04:30
A memorable dinner in a German home (ddr-densho-1000-280-44) - 00:11:59
An emotional homecoming (ddr-densho-1000-280-45) - 00:03:41
Reunion with father: no discussion of wartime service (ddr-densho-1000-280-46) - 00:01:12
Memories of last flight as a pilot (ddr-densho-1000-280-47) - 00:05:40
Publishing memoirs: first time sharing wartime experiences (ddr-densho-1000-280-48) - 00:08:36
Working for the Transportation Security Administration at the age of ninety-one (ddr-densho-1000-280-49) - 00:05:43
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ddr-densho-1000-280-33 (Legacy UID: denshovh-wvirgil-01-0033)

Moving through Italy

00:06:06 — Segment 33 of 49

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May 21-22, 2010

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Virgil W. Westdale

Virgil W. Westdale Interview

04:33:17 — 49 segments

May 21-22, 2010

Seattle, Washington

Male of Japanese and European ancestry. Born July 8, 1918, in Millersburg, Indiana. Grew up on family farms in Indiana and Michigan. Became a licensed pilot, and, during World War II, volunteered for the War Training Service as a flight instructor. Reassigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team as part of the Fire Direction Center. Split off from the unit with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, and was with one of the first groups to liberate the concentration camps in Dachau, Germany. Following the sudden death of Harriett Engelhardt, an American Red Cross worker in Germany, in 1946, Virgil and the members of the 522nd FAB pulled together $271.40 and sent the money to her parents. The Engelhardts used this money, along with money from Harriett's estate and other donations to establish the Harriett Engelhardt Memorial Collection at Black Mountain College, Harriett's alma mater. Following World War II, Virgil worked for several corporations as a research and development scientist developing patents.

Tom Ikeda, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho