Virgil Westdale, who served in the all Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II, will be the featured speaker at MWLUG at the end of August. I’m incredibly excited because I’m not just a XPages developer, but I’m also a historian. This week, I’m actually at a conference on the invasion of southern France in WWII, and expect to hear a talk on the 442nd this afternoon.
Among the many difficult tasks that Westdale and the rest of the 442nd had in late 1944 was the rescue of the 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment of the 36th Infantry Division. They were fighting through the Vosges Mountains in eastern France and the 442nd had been attached to the 36th. Some in the higher reaches of Allied command thought the German Army was done fighting. The Germans felt rather differently. The fighting was incredibly difficult because the Germans were experts, especially on the defensive. Those talents were compounded by the fact that they were fighting in the mountains. That battalion had advanced down a ridge line in the Vosges Mountains, but went too far. The Germans were able to slip in behind them from adjacent ridges and surround the battalion. So, the 442nd had to fight through the Germans to rescue the “Lost Battalion”.
I’ve spoken at historical conferences about the 36th Infantry Division and this fight in particular, so I expect to have a lot of questions for him. It should be outstanding!
Hat tip to Howard Greenberg of TLCC for pointing this out to me.