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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.
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 was created.

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.