CSS Tabbed Menus Css3Menu.com

May 17, 2003

Among Oroville's heroes list the names of Pvt. Eugene A. Russell son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Russell of Hurleton. Surrounded by Japanese in the Phillippines, the company of which Russell was a member killed 1500 of them during 14 days of flooding rains.

The story as supplied by the army appears below:
Russell's father is commander of the American Legion post here. The boy graduated from the local high school with the class of 1943. He was a high school cadet for four years and played basketball. He specialized in woodwork. The army's story follows:

Pvt. Eugene A. Russell of Woodleaf Star Route, Oroville, will never forget the grim experience of a two-week battle out of which his company came only 60 strong but left behind them the corpses of 1500 Japanese. His company B of this Victory Division's battle-hard 21st Infantry Regiment, attacking a strategic ridge in the Philippines, fought Nips to their front, their flanks and their rear, through fourteen days of flooding rains. From atop the ridge Japanese mortars and machineguns poured murderous fire on the forward-slugging Americans below. But Russell and his buddies, supported by pounding division artillery, pressed home their advance. Each day and night the Japanese counter-attacked in bayonet-brandishing swarms, but their attacks met bloody doom in a storm of U. S. fire. At night Russell's foxhole was half filled with water and mud. Rations and ammunition had to be carried by hand over two miles of sniper infested ground. There was no hot food, for even the mess sergeant was in a frontlines foxhole, killing Japanese. They gave that ridge many names, Breakneck Ridge, was one. Suicide Hill another. And some called it Bloody Knob.

Chief Pharmacist's Mate William (Bill) Gaylord, of the U. S. Navy, former local mortician, arrived in Oroville Thursday on 18-day leave. At the end of his leave he will report for discharge from the service under the age-limit provision. Gaylord said he has made no definite plans as to what he will do after his discharge. Wearer of campaign ribbons for the American and Asiatic Theatres of War, and six major battle stars, Gaylord has participated in the following engagements: Palau Islands, Leyte Island, action against enemy surface craft in the second battle of the Philippine Sea, Mindoro Island and Luzon Island. His sixth battle star is for his part in the Philippine liberation. He wears a seventh star for service in World War I. At the Thursday meeting of the local American Legion Gaylord presented the unit with an American Flag off his ship, the U.S.S. Kadashan Bay. Tattered and worn, the flag gave evidence of its long use through many of the battles in which Gaylord took part. It was given to him by the commanding officer of the ship as a gift to post.

Stu's notes: As I read more and more of the stories of the Heroes of Oroville, it never ceases to amaze me. I grew up reading war stories never knowing that the boys of Oroville lived those stories. Their stories would fill a library. Years ago we knew a lady named Greta Gaylord in Oroville. Could this be her husband? What a book he could have written. So many places, so many wars.