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Dale Birdsell ’48

Dale Birdsell ’48, April 8, 1998, in Fairfax, Virginia. He first entered Reed in 1941, but left during World War II to serve in the Army overseas. After the war, he returned to Portland, worked for Southern Pacific Railroad, and completed his undergraduate degree at Reed in 1948. He then attended Brown University, earning a master’s in history in 1950. He worked on a PhD in history at the University of Pennsylvania and had completed all but his dissertation when he left to work as a historian in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps Historical Office in Edgewood, Maryland. There, he coauthored a volume of the series, The U.S. Army in World War II, The Chemical Warfare Service: Chemicals in Combat, which also served as his PhD dissertation. He remained in that position until 1967 and authored or coauthored many official studies, histories, and reports. In 1967, he was promoted to chief historian of the U.S. Army Material Command, and he and his wife and children relocated to McLean, Virginia. He became director of historical programs and author of a variety of official special studies and reports. He also directed, edited, and coauthored a publicly published volume, Arsenal for the Brave: A History of the U.S. Army Material Command. He retired in 1986. In retirement, he pursued a variety of interests and community activities and was involved in a weekly current events group at the retirement community where he lived. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 1999

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