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Kirk, Jr., James G.

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



James G. Kirk, Jr was born on 19 June 1920 in Portland, Oregon. His family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, when James was thirteen, and it was here that he completed his education, graduating from Central High School in 1937. After two years of college (1937-39) he worked three years (1939-42) as a waiter on Northern Pacific Railroad dining cars, operating out of St. Paul. James then worked as a laborer in war-related industries, for International Harvester (1942-43) and at the Twin Cities Arsenal in suburban New Brighton (1943-44). Married since 1941, and with two children, in April 1944 James was nevertheless drafted into the US Army. James completed Basic Training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia, and had additional training at Camp Hood, Texas, before being assigned to the 679th Tank Destroyer Battalion. James was a rifleman, part of the crew of a self-propelled vehicle. The 679th was shipped to Europe, and saw action in Italy in 1945. James was rotated back to the US in August 1945, and was preparing for duty in the Pacific, when the war ended. By December he was discharged, with the rank of private first class. Again a civilian, James returned to St. Paul, re-married (1946, wife Emma), and worked for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad as a dining car waiter. When dining car service was ended in 1962, James spent a number of years in community service work before retiring in 1982. At the time of this interview (May 2003) James Kirk lived in St. Paul.


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James Kirk - Transcript.pdf (622 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with James Kirk, Jr.