June 27, 2003
Oroville Mercury August 1943 and some time during the war.
"SOME GAVE ALL"
GIVES LIFE KERNICK SMITH KILLED IN WAR
First Lt. Kernick Smith, 34, of the Army Air Forces, a former
Oroville resident, was killed in action in the South Pacific, July
18, according to information received here by Mrs. Sarah Cook and
Mr. and Mrs. Jay Cook of Thermalito. Word of Smith's death, presumably
when a plane on which he was on a reconnaissance mission was shot
down, was received from the war department by his wife Thursday
noon at her home in Selma, Fresno County. Lt. Smith, who was in
the air intelligence service, mapped and checked on results of bombing
raids. Although he held a private pilot's license he was unable
to become an army pilot because of his age.
IN WAR ZONE 8 MONTHS
He enlisted shortly after Pearl Harbor, trained in Miami and at
Harrisburg, Pa. And spent a month in Washington, D. C., before going
into action. He had been in the South Pacific eight months. His
parents, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Smith, died when he was five years
of age, and he was reared by Mrs. Sara Cook of Thermalito and her
husband, the late I. H. Cook. He lived in Paradise and Oroville
until his third year in high school there. Then he spent a year
at Staunton Millitary Academy at Staunton, VA.
GRADUATE OF STANFORD
At Oroville high school he played football and was a member of the
track team. After attending Staunton he entered Stanford University,
from which he was graduated as a geologist in 1933. He was an engineer
for the Bulolo Dredging Co. in Brazil and was in Alaska three times.
Four years ago he bought a 900-acre ranch at Selma and began raising
purebred Angus cattle. Lt. Smith had visited in Oroville every few
months before his enlistment. He was a member of Oroville Lodge
No. 104, Free and Accepted Masons.
CAPT. GILBERT COMMISSIONED IN HONOLULU CAPT
George Gilbert, Jr. recently received his promotion from
the ranks of first Lieutenant to that of captain in the Army Signal
Corps at Honolulu. Gilbert enlisted in the service as a private
three years ago. He later graduated from Ga., where he studied radio
and wire communications. He received his commission as second lieutenant
at Fort Monmouth, N. J. and his first Lieutenant's rating at San
Luis Obispo after he had completed four months maneuvers on the
Mojave Desert. Gilbert’s wife, the former Maxine Wanson, daughter
of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wanson of Oroville, is employed in the local
office of the district attorney. She is making her home with her
parents during her husband's military service. The captain is the
son of Mr. and Mrs. George Gilbert of Thermalito.
MRS. HUSTON'S GRANDSON STATIONED IN HAWAII
Private Jimmie L. Keyes, a graduate of Oroville High School
in 1942, entered the service Feb. 16, 1943 and was sent to Walters,
Texas for training and is now stationed in the Hawaiian Islands.
He is the son of Mr. I. Zander of Oakland. Zander was a sergeant
in World War 1. Keyes is the grandson Mrs. Carrie Huston, W-A Street
and made his home with her prior to his military service. He was
formerly employed at a local grocery store.
Stu's notes: Lt. Kernick Smith, young man grew up in Thermalito,
walked the same streets I did as a boy, yet I never knew of of him
until recently. Why? Why could I not go to a memorial for him? A
hero that gave his life us, as the Mercury headlines say. Well,
he will not be forgotten in Oroville ever again. Does anybody know
anything about this man? Al I have is this newspaper clipping which
came from a scrapbook that had been given to George Gilbert. His
wife, Maxine let me copy it. More on Capt George Gilbert later.
Thank you Maxine.