May 9, 2003
These stories are about the men and women who went to war so
that we might be free.
OROVILLE March 10, 1945
LOCAL BOYS ON IWO JIMA HEARD FROM THREE WRITE LETTERS TO THEIR FOLKS
Stram, Warmack and Van Duzer Send Air Mail Letters Home: They're
First word from Oroville men on Iwo Jima, rock of American courage,
has been received today in letters from Col. Richard Warmack, son
of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Warmack, and from Navy Pharmacist's Mate Lawrence
Stram, son of Mr. and Mrs. Milo Stram, now of Vallejo. Warmack,
believed to have gone ashore on D-day, after having participated
in five other Pacific battles, including Saipan and Tinian, told
of having seen Pfc. Roger Van Duzer and Cpl. Arlin Rhine.
Van Duzer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Valentine Van Duzer of Wyandotte,
and Rhine, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Rhine of Oroville, both
were believed to have been in the heavy fighting on the island.
Neither the Rhine's nor the Van Duzer's had heard directly from
their sons today. 'I have lots to tell you," Warmack wrote March
2, in a V mail letter to his parents and brother, Larry. "I haven't
received any mail since I've been on the island here, and I sure
miss it, especially now that things have cooled down - on the beach
anyway. I've had many close calls, but I guess God wants me to get
back. I see Roger Van Duzer every day, and we talk, eat, talk, etc.,
etc. Ha! One day Roger, Arlin and I got together and we talked about
everything." He mentioned that he was in his fox hole, and added
that "conditions weren't very good for writing." He wrote again
the next day, saying he had received pictures and Mercury clippings,
a letter from his wife, Faye and other mail. "I didn't see Roger
today as he moved to a different position," He said. "He'll come
down and look me up again soon, though. I'm sure Arlin went up to
the front the other day, so we haven't seen him. Gosh, I'd sure
go for a hot shower and clean clothes right now." He got his bath
March 5 in the ocean, he wrote on that day, washing his shorts in
a steel helmet. "I lost most of my clothes and a few things after
I hit the beach, he wrote, "but nothing important except my glasses.
They were crushed. I also broke a $7.50 pipe, but I've got another
one that came in with the PX supplies the other day. I told Faye
I felt lucky to be alive to smoke a pipe and wear glasses.
Stram, who went ashore as a naval pharmacist's mate attached to
the fifth Marine Division, landed Feb. 19. One who has been on Iwo
and who has seen the battle casualties realizes how true that the
"wounded don't cry," said Stram in a letter written from the island
Feb. 28. Although several other Oroville marines are believed to
be on Iwo, so far as could be learned today, the letters received
from Warmack and Stram were the first to reach local relatives from
the bloodily contested rock. Stram wrote; "My dearest family: The
big battle is nearly over. Though not secured as yet. We spent quite
a time on the lines but are now in a rear area resting up. Man alive!
How wonderful water felt. Good chow we're now getting. It's like
Christmas in July. The boys were wonderful. Did a magnificent job.
Quentin Reynolds said the wounded don't cry. How right he is. The
good Lord sure stuck by us. Every spare minute has been spent in
prayer. I'm sure He heard mine because I came through without a
scratch. Don't worry, please. Everything's O.K. I'll write again
as soon as possible. Meantime know that I'm all right and thinking
of you all every minute. With Love, Lawrence."
The Van Duzers received a letter this afternoon from their son,
dated March 4, in which he said he was well. "Have a nice fox hole
fixed up and the picture of you and dad watching me as I write this
letter," he said. "In the distant part of the island I can hear
our planes strafing the Japanese. They can't last much longer. He
added that he expected to see Warmack the following day.
Stu 's notes: "Some Gave All " as we know now Cpl. Arlin Rhine
loses his life on Iwo, one of almost 6,000 young men, who gave all
on that little island. I talked to Richard Warmack recently while
his classmates were planning their class reunion. I have been in
his store many times, since I was a lad, in the past not knowing
a hero owned it I bought my wife and mother gifts from him. It was
a neat store.
Wow, what a fast trip, my daughter, Sgt.Deborah Jean Shaner,
had for the last 3 months. She has been stationed at Ft. Lewis,
WA. Then May 1st I got a phone message, "Hi dad I'm on a plane to
Baltimore, I'll call later. "Then a call, "Hi Dad; I'm on the tarmac
at the Baltimore Airport. We will be here 2 or 3 hours, but can't
get off the plane because we have weapons on board" I think, aren't
they the good guys? Oh well, 10 hours later she calls on her cell
phone, "Dad I'm in Kuwait. " I asked her what it is like there?
"It's dark but we walked through sand to the barracks.” Now I know
what so many parents have felt in so many wars. You're proud but
also very worried. Debbie is serving with the Yuba City National
Guard Unit activated into the Army.