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March 19, 2004
Oroville Mercury Register April 25, 1945

T/Sgt. Robert J. Smith, of Oroville, holder of the Air Medal and Silver Star, was caught by the army cameraman while on rest leave in Rome. In the background is the world famous Victor Emanuel Monument. Since the picture was taken Smith has returned to the United States after 32 months overseas in the Army Air Force, with the 12th flight engineers. He recently reported for reassignment at Santa Ana after having visited here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. McDonald of Montgomery street. Prior to his military service, Smith was employed by the Yuba Consolidated Gold Fields. He had taken up flying and owned his own plane. He volunteered April 8, 1941, and from McClellan Field was sent to Chanute Field, Ill, for technical trained at FT. Benning and Florence Air base, then was assigned to overseas duty. He arrived in England in September 1942. Later he was transferred to the Mediterranean area where he took part in the North African campaign, the invasion of Sicily and Italy, and the liberation of Greece and Southern France. Smith is a graduate of Oroville High School, class of ’33. While at school he was a member of the orchestra, band and football and basketball teams.

Frank C. Kroepelin, deck engineer with the merchant marine, met his brother, Pvt. Robert A Kroepellin, on an Island somewhere in the faraway pacific area. He said it was through the Red Cross that he was able to obtain the exact location where Pvt. Kroepelin could be found. On arrival at the address given, word was sent ashore and Pvt. Kroepelin came aboard and the two brothers had a grand time talking over old times and newer events. They were able to spend two or three days together. Pvt. Kroepelin has spent 18 months overseas with the army engineers and has seen action on several occasions. Mrs. Frank Kroepelin and daughter Mary are staying at their home on Long Bar Road while the father and two sons are serving their country. Pfc. Willis Kroepelin in with the air corps stationed at Victorville and Marvin is a fireman second class in the US Navy. Frank Kroepelin served in the Navy during World War I. He was a machinist and agriculturist before joining the merchant marine.

Sgt. Deborah Shaner, Iraq
“I went on a mission to a camp in ____. First time I had been there so it was a nice change to see more territory. We were providing gun trucks for a mission. The unit that escorted us there said they never have any problems so it was to our surprise that when we had gone to bed the camp siren went off and then over the loud speaker it said code red seek immediate shelter. Well we were parked in a warehouse with no roof. Our only shelter was the truck. So we waited for a while nothing happened and then the siren went off again and it said code black have protective gear in possession then a few minutes after that a few mortar rounds went off. We made fun of the situation and then went to sleep.

Stu’s notes: The Dunham brothers, heroes of Oroville, last weeks article. I learned more about them from Viola Eule Post. She is the mother of Bob Post, who I have known since high school. Bob’s father went to the service during the war, I hope to have a story soon. Viola says she went to a little grammar school with the Dunham boys in the late 20’s. The school was in a little community outside of Bangor, called Upham. The Upham School had a teacher named Olive Ruff Dunham, the boy’s mother, later they moved to the Sacramento area then the South Pacific. Three more of Oroville's Forgotten Heroes. You might ask why, they lived in Bangor, but you know whose counting. About Sgt. Smith’s Silver Star, this medal didn’t come easy.