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November 7, 2003


U. S. Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Fla. – The Navy’s new insignia for enlisted naval air-crewmen, wings of silver and gold was pinned this week on Sidney Earl Higgins, 19, Seaman First Class, of Virginia Avenue, Oroville signaling his completion of intensive operational training at this station, headquarters for the Naval Air Operational Training Command. The flying mechanic-gunner will now be assigned to an operations squadron for active flight duty as a member of an air combat team either on an aircraft carrier or at a shore station. Higgins enlisted in the Navy January 8, 1944, taking “boot” training at the naval training station in San Diego. He made high marks on mechanical aptitude tests and was selected to attend aviation machinist school at Norman, Okla., where he graduated July 29, 1944. Higgins volunteered for air-crewman service and was transferred to the school for aerial gunners at Jacksonville, Fla., completing that phase of his training on the machine gun range Nov. 4. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Higgins, the new U. S. naval air-crewman was commended by his squadron commanding officer for his fine showing during operational training, which ended March 3, 1945.

Relatives of Staff Sgt. Daryl F. Lane of Marysville have learned that he is one of hundreds of enlisted men at a huge super fortress base in the Marianas whose diligent efforts have made it possible for the B-29’s of Maj. Gen. LeMay’s command to strike regularly at the heart of Japan’s war industry. Lane is a central fire control man in a service unit. “The work of Sgt. Lane and his fellow soldiers is directly responsible for the success of the B-29’s in bombing Japan’s war industries.” Gen. O’Donnell said in congratulating them. Lane’s parents are Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Lane of Sacramento, and are known here. He is a nephew of Mrs. Wm. Schab of Oroville.

Sgt. Debbie Shaner, in Iraq. Well it is the Iraqi holiday (Ramadan). They can only eat at night. We are at a higher level of security. Some of our civilian convoys were turned back from high risk camps, they have been getting hit pretty hard down that way. We took a big hit on _______ about two weeks ago. Needless to say we hurried our efforts to get our bunkers completed. My Squad has a convoy to _______ tomorrow. They don’t usually have too many problems with that route. It is supposed to storm real bad (torrential downpours) so it will probably be miserable for us. Someone found three puppies that appeared to be abandoned so I have one in our tent until she gets big enough for a kennel. She is black, tan, and white. Pretty cute. I’m not sure if we will get to keep her in the tent area she might have to move to our company maintenance/Hq area. So I will need to get some puppy stuff. One of the guys also brought back a chick on his last convoy. Soon we will have a farm. Take care and thanks for all your support and gifts. Debbie.

Stu’s notes: Good to hear from Debbie, needless to say we worry about her a lot. She is a good soldier. She never complains about her duty over there. She has been in Iraq six months now. Last weeks article brought me calls from three people, Marvin Mclain called and said he knew about Sgt. Mamoru Sakuma and Tim Tokuno’s brother and had addresses for me, I will write. Marvin worked for the Rail Road back then. Most railroad men were kept here to keep America rolling. Then Jim French (who has the same last name as my sweet wife) called. He knew Tim Tokuno and had his phone number. I called Tim and we will meet for stories of the Famous 442 Infantry. Jim served in the Army Air Force and was a Captain (I think) on the Chico Fire Department for many years. Randy Fowler told me that Frank Fenley had passed away. Several people remembered his songs.