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Interview: Virgil Westdale


Becoming a pilot

And then I had to make a decision. I had to make a decision on whether I was going to stay in school and then wait to be drafted, or would I want to join the War Training Service—WTS. And this War Training Service was a program set up by the US government to obtain pilots—they needed pilots very badly—they were weeping for people who had knowledge of flying, and so I thought, well if I’m going into War Training Service that’s fine, that’s better than being drafted and not knowing where I’m going to go. And so I joined the War Training Service—I had to resign from college and I went to Bendix Field, South Bend and went into acrobatic flying. And then I got through this acrobatic flying—when I get into acrobatic flying, that’s when I knew I had a…I had to have a talent because I shot to the top of that group right away.

Based on this original

Virgil Westdale interview #4: Becoming a pilot
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* Virgil Westdale interviewed by Duncan Williams on August 27, 2012 for the exhibition, Visible & Invisible: A Hapa Japanese American History. A Collaboration with the USC Hapa Japan … More »

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