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