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Military sciences

Bryan Vila (second row) joins police officers—his trainees—in a 1979 ceremony to celebrate Kosrae’s status as a state in the newly formed Federated States of Micronesia. Courtesy Bryan Vila
Summer 2013

Training the island police

When he learned about a job training police in the Pacific islands of Micronesia in 1978, former Los Angeles police officer Bryan Vila seized the opportunity to work in paradise. Little did he know that the hard lessons of teaching police officers from 2,000 different islands over six years would make him an expert on training in other cultures.

Vila, now a Washington State University professor of criminal justice and criminology at the Spokane campus, had been a Marine in Vietnam as well as a member of the sheriff’s department in Los Angeles, when he landed with a bang on an unpaved runway in Saipan.

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Spring 2012

The Long Journey of the Nez Perce: A Battle History from Cottonwood to Bear Paw

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Kevin Carson ’81
Westholme Publishing, 2011

In his foreword to the latest account of the Nez Perce War of 1877, Kevin Carson ’81 writes, “In my memory, there was never a time when our family was not fascinated by the saga of the Nez Perce.” Carson’s great-great-great grandfather, Levi Watrous, served as a scout during the Civil War, then moved to Columbia County, Washington, in 1872, where he made his living as a stockman. … » More …

Fall 2010

Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck ’33—Recognition at last

In March of this year, a special Congressional action signed by President Obama awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots, the “WASPS” of World War II. Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck ’33 was awarded the medal posthumously.

Jeanne graduated from Washington State College with a degree in English. President Roosevelt had funded the start of construction on the Grand Coulee Dam, and Jeanne was an early hire. She married a young engineer on the project, Ed Norbeck.

Later, Jeanne and Ed became managers of a large plantation in one of the outer islands in the Hawaiian chain. Given the lack of transportation … » More …

Fall 2003

The first casualty

Vietnam was the last conflict in which reporters could speak and write with prudent freedom.

During one of the nation’s many wars, I wrote of a patrol that came under fire and killed an enemy soldier. Before continuing, the GIs cut off the dead man’s genitals, and forced them into his mouth, leaving also a playing card-Ace of Spades-on his body. The soldiers said that such were enemy superstitions, that they would not cross over a dead man so festooned, thus it was required to keep the other side effectively tethered if the patrol was to complete its mission.

It was a poor excuse for … » More …

Fall 2006

What I've Learned Since College: An interview with R. Dale Storr

On February 2, 1991, during the first Iraq war, Capt. R. Dale Storr (’83 Mech. Engr.) was captured by Iraqi soldiers after his A-10 Thunderbolt was shot down near Kuwait. The 29-year-old Air Force pilot from Spokane was a prisoner of war for 33 days, spending a portion of that time in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, while his friends and family believed he had died in the plane crash. He was regularly beaten and interrogated by the secret police, but used techniques taught to him at the survival school at Fairchild Air Force Base to get through it.

Now a lieutenant colonel in the Washington … » More …

Fall 2005

Operation Chow Hound

In 1945, the German occupation had Holland on its knees. The Dutch were starving, because the Germans were not supplying them with food. Adelderd Davids of Nijmegen, Holland, six years old at the time, lived in Rotterdam. “It was awful,” he recalls. “We ate tulip bulbs. Some people ate rats, because there was absolutely nothing. We had two or three potatoes for 10 people. Our mother would ask after dinner, ‘Who is still hungry? You can eat the peelings.’ On a feast day they made a torte out of the bulbs.”

England’s Royal Air Force and the United States 8th Air Force joined together to … » More …

Winter 2007

Secrets & Spies

The Office of Strategic Services, our country's first centralized intelligence agency, was formed during the Second World War to train men and women in the arts of sabotage and espionage and then to send them around the world to protect our nation's interests. Among the many Washington State College students and alumni who served in that conflict, five friends and classmates trained together in the OSS, then went to North Africa, Italy, England, and China to help win the war.

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Summer 2006

WSU Military Veterans: Heroes and Legends

With three engines lost on a B-29 bombing run over Tokyo December 3, 1944, pilot Robert Goldsworthy and his crew bailed out. For the next nine months, he would endure brutal beatings as a Japanese prisoner of war. Far worse, he said, was the cold and starvation. Goldsworthy and his older brother, Harry E. Goldsworthy Jr., both flew World War II combat missions. They retired as Air Force generals with five stars between them. Their contributions to the war are among the 120 case studies chronicled in C. James Quann’s new book, WSU Military Veterans: Heroes and Legends. The author relates military experiences of former … » More …