November 26, 2004
From Emma Nelson, Treasurer of VFW Auxiliary post 1747:
Walter LeRoy Nelson, Navy Gunners Mate 1st Class
went into service January 1942. He served in Alaska aboard the ship
“Detroit” for 2 years. When the ship was taken out of Commission
he was then stationed in Tacoma, Washington from March to November,
where they built a new mine sweeper that he would be on in the invasion
of Okinawa April 1945. He came back to Oroville, where his parents
lived. He then came back to Seattle, Washington, where we were married,
November 30, 1945. We were married 56 years. He was an Oroville
postal employee for 37 years. After retirement his hobby was woodcarving.
Oroville Mercury Register May 10, 1945
pictured here is Bud Edwards.
BUD EDWARDS MAKES HIGH IN PROMOTION TEST
James E. (Bud) Edwards, of the US Navy, has passed his tests
for electrician’s mate 1st class. Word has been received
that he passed with the highest grade in the group taking the test.
Bud joined the Navy Dec. 20, 1941 and has seen action in Alaska
and the South Pacific. He is thought to be in the Philippine area
at the present time. Stationed on a baby flat top carrier, he took
part in landings on Luzon and other engagements in that area. Edwards
attended Oroville High School and graduated with the class of 1939.
His wife, the former Miss June Joyce, is a secretary in the office
of county superintendent of schools. She also attended Oroville
High and says it has been a year since her husband was home.
Stu’s notes: Make my day. It really excites me when someone I
wrote about so long ago contacts me. Last week I wrote about Russ
Jones and low and behold he’s moved back to Oroville. After the
War he went to school under the G. I. Bill in Chico then worked
for the City of Oroville. I finally called Kenny Richter. My good
friend Bernie, Kenny’s brother, who just passed away, wanted me
to call Kenny for a long time. Bernie said “Stu he’ll give you a
good war story.” Bernie was right. We talked on the phone almost
an hour. Soon we will meet. Kenny served in the Pacific Islands
in WWII. Bernie and his family were a big part of Oroville. From
the Gold Dredgers to Our Dam and many other projects. He once years
ago told one brother to take the “cat and drive straight as you
can through the Rock Piles to Marysville road” and Oro Dam Blvd
The Baby Flat tops of our Navy took some terrible punishment
in the Pacific. In one large battle with a few destroyers they took
on a large Japanese task force. They fought so well the Japanese
retreated. In that Battle a few of our Destroyers charged Cruisers
and Battleships. With the Carriers close behind. Many navy men went
above and beyond the call of duty that day.
And carve he did, I myself have one of his carvings given to
me by my brother-in-law and sister-in-law John and Dawn Mathews
long ago. If Walt was alive today I’m sure he would have some stories
of the heroism of our boys at Okinawa. It was the last big battle
of the war with Japan. A prelude to what would have been the biggest
battle know to man. “The Invasion” That luckily never happened.