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Special Collections: World War II Oral History Project Collection

“This collection started as a class project for Montana State University Billings Hist. 325 – the American Military Experience in the Spring of 2005 but quickly grew from there into a project that needed a second class, Hon. 492 – the American Military in War in Peace, and the help of a number of volunteers to complete over a two year period.

During the summer of 2004, I had the idea of an oral history project to record the military experiences of World War II veterans and hopefully provide my students the opportunity see how the effects of one war changed the lives of the participants and consequently  the state and country. 

However, with one exception, the people whose recollections are recorded here spent the better part of their lives in Montana even if they were born and raised elsewhere. 

I [Tom Rust] directed the process, conducted some interviews myself, and also engaged in the transcription process.  The students came up with the questions themselves.  Naturally I guided the process but tried to let their questions come through.  The questions were designed to solicit information about the veteran’s life, their war experiences, transition out of military life, and how the war affected their post-war outlook.”

(Taken from Vol.I of the Montana State University Billings World War II Oral History Project: 2005-2007: Directed by Thomas C. Rust, P.H.D., Department of History transcript)

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Related Collection: Roland C. Holt Collection

This collection came to the library through MSU Billings history Professor – Thomas C.  Rust.  It is tied to the WWII oral history project.  This gentleman was not part of the oral history project, but he knew of the project and asked that his items please be added to the collection when he passed on. 

  World War II memorabilia (1944-1948): a Navy scrapbook with photos and newspapers clippings, military papers, medals, Presidential citations, newspapers, and foreign occupation money.