Bill Wright stirs one’s interest and sparks learning when he tells stories based on the history of his father, Col. William P Wright, a 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran and Executive Officer of the famed Nisei 522nd Field Artillery, 442nd RCT during World War II. The 522nd was known for having superb firing speed and accuracy.
On Saturday, September 30th, Bill, wearing an authentic World War II uniform will play the role of his father, Col. William P. Wright. He will hold a mock World War II press conference ‘taking place’ in Bad Tolz, Germany, at the end of the war, where allied troops and the 101st Airborne have just occupied this town. Bad Tolz had previously been the site for many years of a Waffen SS officer candidate training school. Bill, speaking as Col. William P Wright, will be answering questions from audience members who will assume the role of wartime correspondents digging for details about the battle activities of the Nisei soldiers of the 442nd and 522nd.
This unique storytelling makes history come alive. But there’s another story — Bill himself. Bill graduated from West Point in 1961, commissioned into the Air Force, and spent twenty years in intelligence operations. He is a Vietnam Veteran where he commanded a joint service intelligence team, receiving the Bronze Star and US Army Unit Commendation for Valor.
Returning from the war, he earned a doctorate from Texas A&M University in Computer Science with Operational Analysis. He then went on to new technology program management positions in the space intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sector, ultimately being selected by the Air Force as a Space Shuttle mission specialist for intelligence missions. On reaching an age that would preclude space flight, he opted for early retirement from the military and transitioned into a civilian career in technology, working for companies including Boeing and Microsoft. After the 9/11 attack, he became a full-time consultant to the Department of Homeland Security, focusing on counter nuclear terrorism.
In retirement, he now spends time on volunteer projects as a member of the Nisei Veterans Committee, Sons & Daughters of the 442nd, and the Nisei Veterans Legacy organization. For the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd, he writes two-page comprehensive bios on the fallen of the 442nd. (If you are interested in honoring these 442nd heroes in the same way, please go to the website for more information. https://442sd.org/ )
Bill’s storytelling is informed by family and his own life. You can see Bill perform, on September 30th, Saturday at 10:45 AM., Bellevue College, Building C-140, as part of Japan Week at the college. Hope to see you there! If you get this message too late, there is a chance he will repeat the performance next year at Japan Week.