May 17, 2003
OROVILLE MERCURY REGISTER March 13,1945
LOCAL BOY IN TERRIFIC FIGHT
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
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:
WITH THE 24TH
INFANTRY (VICTORY) DIVISION IN THE PHILIPPINES
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.
GAYLORD HERE ON LEAVE; TO BE RELEASED
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
in Oroville. Could this be her husband? What a book he could
have written. So many places, so many wars.