Linfield University Public History Project: World War II as Experience and Memory


Tom Kilpatrick: World War II as Experience and Memory


Tom Kilpatrick

Streaming Media


Schmidt, Rich

Document Type

Video File


31 minutes 52 seconds

Publication Date



Cultural History | Military and Veterans Studies | Military History | Oral History | Public History | United States History


This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College archivist Rich Schmidt with Tom Kilpatrick, Linfield College class of 1948. The interview took place at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on January 22, 2019.

Tom Kilpatrick was a transfer student from Chico State University who attended Linfield College during the Second World War. He studied at Linfield for one year and was very active on campus, joining the basketball team and the fraternity Delta Psi Delta; he also worked at a shoe store in town. In this interview, Kilpatrick talks in detail about his classes, sports, and the impact of the war on campus life. Kilpatrick enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attended parachute rigger school before moving to Pearl Harbor. He talks about his two years at Pearl Harbor and the attitude of the country in relation to the war. According to Kilpatrick, “The entire nation was ‘go go go,’ we’re going to get these guys.” His unit remained stationed in Hawai’i until the end of the war. After the war, Kilpatrick returned to Linfield and noted how the small number of men on campus changed campus life. He received his private flying license, which he eventually used for his business. Kilpatrick recounts the traditions and social life on campus, especially important events such as May Day. He also details the casualties the student body suffered due to the war, as well as the discussions about the war that occurred on campus. Kilpatrick ends the interview by talking about marriage on campus and how he met his first wife at Linfield.


For a time-stamped overview of the subjects discussed during this interview, refer to the Related Resource link.