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June 18, 2004
Oroville Mercury April 30 and May 8, 1945

Pfc. Robert L. Garland, the son of Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Garland of Myers Street, is in his fifth year of service in the army. He enlisted before war was declared and has been serving in the Pacific area for over three years. He has been in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines with I corps. This unit started out as combat engineers, was converted to a tank destroyer battalion and when the Japanese ran out of tanks in New Guinea, was converted once more this time into a motorized mortar battalion. The Japanese call these mortars “automatic artillery” because they fire with incredible rapidity and accuracy. They have been kept up front with the infantry in the thick of the fights. One morning, after fighting all night, Garland wrote his mother that he looked out of his foxhole and saw a little monkey all covered with blood. He picked him up and cared for him and now has him for a pet. Mr. and Mrs. Garland have two other sons that have been in the service over four years. Sgt. Norman Garland has spent the years in the United States and at present is training other GIs in anti-aircraft warfare at Inglewood, Calif. He has been at camps in Washington, Georgia, Tennessee and other states. Pfc. Marion Garland is with the Infantry. He was in the Aleutians for a while but is now fighting in France.

Van Duzer Gets Riviera Rest
Valentine Van Duzer, T5, with the 1st Army in the European area, was one of the lucky ones to draw a week’s furlough to the French Riviera recently. The boys making this trip are said to have been housed in beautifully furnished rooms with private baths in luxurious hotels. They were treated like kings and were under very little military restrictions. His brother, Pfc. Roger Van Duzer, is also enjoying a rest after the hardships of the battle line. He wrote home that he was at a marine rest camp following the action on Iwo Jima. Waiting for him he found letters and packages and he said it was just like coming home to return to this camp and find his mail.

Oroville Greets V-E Day Quietly; Many Close Doors Two series of blasts, 30 to a series, from the Oroville fire siren ushered in V-E Day at six o’clock this morning. Immediately after, the church bells rang merrily. The sleeping town had awakened to the fact that the long waited for day was officially here. At 8:45 the sound of the organ chimes played by Miss Pati Randolph was heard coming from the tower of the Congregational Church. She closed her fifteen-minute program with the hymn “Grant to us Peace in our time, Oh Lord.” Another short program was heard at noon. The schools opened as usual but dismissed the pupils at 1:30. Burbank and Eastside schools observed the occasion with programs of patriotic songs and a few remarks to bring home the meaning of the day. The band played for the Bird Street program and they made plans to carry on with the Bond Sale set for May 18. An assembly was held at the high school to celebrate the big day. In the absence of orders from Washington, Oroville post office remained open. They do not have authority to close except when the Governor issues a proclamation. Many of the local stores remained closed the entire day. Others felt they should stay on the job and remained open. Pacific Gas and Electric remained open because the law requires public utilities to stay open except on stated holidays. The local bars closed as did those of Sutter and Yuba counties. It was reported this morning that Chico business houses were carrying on business as usual.

Stu’s notes: V-E Day, Victory over Europe. The world went wild with celebration. Although it didn’t seem to catch on in Oroville, as the May 8th Oroville Mercury didn’t have much to say on the day. More on what happened here next week.
May 7, 1945 I was 4 ½ years old, I remember a big celebration in my little town of New Brighton, PA. My dad, Walter Shaner, local good man, got out the 22 rifle, which I still have, and my brother, Larry, your “Local” Mailman and Sister Peggy “Local Dancer” went out on the front stoop and fired it off. I worried about the bullet falling on someone’s head. People were celebrating in the streets. Maybe there were celebrations on the streets of Oroville, anybody remember?
Several months ago I talked to Roger Van Duzer. He was moving somewhere. I hope he contacts me again. I would like to know more about the Oroville boys he knew.