Emory Scott West Jr.

1910 - 1960

Korean WarWWII

Their Story

Emory Scott West Jr. was born on December 23rd, 1910, to Mr. and Mrs. Emory Scott West. Emory Scott West Jr. attended Davenport High School in Iowa, where his father was the head of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.[1] Perhaps because of his father’s influence, West sought to attend West Point, and took an entrance examination toward this end.[2] Ultimately, West attended the University of Minnesota; either failing the exam or changing his mind about West Point. He worked for some years as an architect in St. Petersburg, Fl, and joined the Army reserve in 1940. When the US went to war with the Axis in 1941, West became an active-duty soldier.[3]

As an armored reconnaissance commander of the 5th Armored Division, West clashed with the German army throughout Western Europe. Given that West was in command of the armored reconnaissance at Camp Cooke in December of 1942, when the 5th Armored Division was training there, it is reasonable to assume that he commanded the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squad.[4] The 5th deployed to Europe in the heat of the Normandy campaign, their mission being to entrap and destroy the German armor. After fighting a series of tank battles in France and Germany, the 5th finally delivered a decisive blow to the German morale at Hürtgen Forest in December 1944:

The Doughs of the 5th Armored will tell you that the month of fighting in the Hürtgen Forest and on the approaches to the Roer River was the most bitter they experienced. Held down by the terrain, weather and thousands of mines, the Tankers and Infantrymen fought a hacking, foot-by-foot battle. They lived in mud and rain and ice, and were constantly exposed to tremendous artillery concentrations. But this month of savage battle broke the German spirit. Never again did the Nazis fight with the ferocity they displayed at Hürtgen.[5]

West and the 5th continued to push Eastward towards Berlin up until the end of the war. Throughout the following four months they destroyed the Von Clausewitz Panzer Division and thinned the ranks of the Ninth Army. On Victory in Europe Day, the 5th was the closest American division to Berlin.[6] As the result of his command of the 85th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squad, West contributed to the fall of Nazi Germany.

After World War II, West probably served as an Army engineer in Japan. Following the US victory over the Japanese Empire in World War II, there was concern that Japan might adopt Communism and become an ally of the Soviet Union. After China’s adoption of Communism, General MacArthur led a restoration program in Japan, in order to forge the island nation into a firm US ally:

Growing concern over Communist power in East Asia, particularly the success of the Chinese Communist Party in its struggle against Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces, led the United States to halt reforms in 1947 and 1948 in order to focus on the economic recovery and political rehabilitation of Japan. In this “Reverse Course,” Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, General Douglas MacArthur, focused on strengthening, not punishing, what would become a key cold war ally.[7]

Since West is recorded as having been an architect before the war, having served two tours in Japan during his military service, and having completed Engineer training while in the Army, it is probable that he was involved in the rebuilding of Japan.[8] West would have excelled in rebuilding homes and other places of habitation after the widespread destruction World War II wrought on Japan. In this capacity, it is certain that West contributed to the firm alliance between the US and Japan that remains strong to this day.

Emory Scott West Jr. died on January 12th, 1960, in Granite City, Illinois, where he was working as an engineer. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son.[9] His service in World War II and during the Korean War helped America achieve victory in Europe, and peace in the Pacific.


[1]  “Emory S. West Jr.,” The Rock Island Argus, January 13, 1960, p. 2,

[2] “Two Will Take Examinations for West Point,” Quad-City Times, February 6, 1931, p. 14,

[3] “Emory S. West Jr., Former Davenporter, Promoted to Major,” The Daily Times, December 2, 1942, p. 6,

[4] “Emory S. West Jr., Former Davenporter, Promoted to Major,” The Daily Times, December 2, 1942, p. 6, “Corporal Ralph E. Reese,” The Plain Speaker, December 21, 1942, p. 19, “5th Armored Division,” Sons of Liberty Museum, 2022,

[5] Fighting Divisions, Kahn & McLemore, Infantry Journal Press, 1945-1946 quoted in “5th Armored Division,” Sons of Liberty Museum, 2022,

[6] “5th Armored Division,” Sons of Liberty Museum, 2022,

[7] “Korean War and Japan’s Recovery,” Office of the Historian (U.S. Department of State), accessed July 1, 2022,

[8] “Iowans in Service,” The Rock Island Argus, May 24, 1955, p. 9, “Emory S. West Jr.,” The Rock Island Argus, January 13, 1960, p. 2,

[9] “Emory S. West Jr.,” The Rock Island Argus, January 13, 1960, p. 2,