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October 31, 2003

Pfc. Vernon L. Rose, formerly of Cherokee and Oroville is one of the Americal Infantry veterans participating in a drive in the Philippines against strong Japanese positions where only foot troops can find and hit the enemy. A rifleman, he is working in terrain where supplies must be carried in packs. The drive is the Americal Division’s third campaign against the Japanese. The infantrymen met the enemy for the first time on Guadalcanal and fought again on Bougainville before coming to the Philippines. Rose is the son of Mrs. Ethel Staub of Cherokee. He is about 21 years of age. For several years he came down from Cherokee to pick fruit in the Oroville district. He lived in Oroville prior to his military service. He was a close friend of the Worthy brothers, the late Alphie (Tex) Worthy of the U. S. Navy, Bobby Lee Worthy of the navy now taking an electrical course at Gulf Port, Miss; and James Worthy, honorably discharged from the navy.

Mr. and Mrs. Milo Stram have received a letter from their son, Lawrence, written by a Red Cross worker and dated March 9, in which he informed them that he would be evacuated within a few days from a hospital in the Marianas to some place nearer home. The Navy Pharmacist’s Mate 3-C was wounded according to his letter, “when a Japanese sniper threw a slug at me yesterday morning.” The letter continued, “It isn’t serious, just a small hole in the upper right arm, and I should be as good as new in no time. The boys are doing a great job on Iwo Jima but it hasn’t been easy, I wish I were still there and not laid up in this hospital.”

Two Japanese men of this locality get special mention in an army bulletin. They are Sgt. Mamoru Sakuma of Oroville and Sgt. Tim. T. Tokuno of Palermo, who are fighting with the Allied Forces in the European area. Sakuma is with the 2nd Battalion of the 442nd Infantry composed of Americans of Japanese ancestry and has been engaged in frontline combat high in the French Alps along the Franco-Italian border. Previously, in the so-called “Little Cassino” line, they fought over mountain heights so impassable that even mules could not be used to transport supplies. Supply men tied themselves together with their belts as they hauled water food and ammunition to their fellow troops. Slugging their way through southern France, they played a great part in the rescue of the now famous “Lost Battalion” of this war. Over 1,000 Purple Hearts, some with Oak Leaf Clusters, have been awarded to these troops. Fourteen Distinguished Service Crosses have been awarded, 54 Silver Stars, 51 Bronze Stars and 70 division citations for individual members. Sakuma attended Oroville High and was an outstanding student in political science and history. He was a speaker at the graduation ceremony in 1936 and was studying law at University of California when he entered the service. Sgt. Tokuno, known to his many friends as Tony, was manager of the high school football team for two years. He graduated with the class of 1934. He is a member of the 3rd Battalion of the same regiment. At one time this group took part in breaking a fanatically defended German position, routing the Germans and breaking a stalemate that threatened to hold up the entire American advance in that sector.

Stu’s notes: October 3rd I wrote about Frank Fenley; could this be my Thermalito School Principal about 1952-53? He was also our scout-master. He would sing at our school assemblies. I remember one song very well, The Strawberry Roan. Mr. Fenley, if you read this call me. I think he worked at a travel agency in Oroville. Oroville had so many Heroes that I never heard of growing up in Oroville. It is such a shame Sgt. Manoru Sakuma and Sgt. Tim T. Tokuno of the famous 442nd, why did I not hear their stories? I even went to High School with Edmund Tokuno. My brother, Larry, went to school with his brother Doug. Could they have been related to Tim? “Some Gave All” The Worthy Brothers served their country well. Alphie (Tex) Worthy made the supreme sacrifice.