July 9, 2004
Oroville Mercury Register March 11, 1944
Pfc. Geo. Beard Asphyxiated At Ohio Air Base
COLUMBUS, O.-U.P.- An Army board of officers was appointed today
to investigate the death yesterday of Pfc. George E. Beard, 20,
Sacramento, who died while aboard a Flying Fortress on a routine
training flight from Lockbourne Army Air Base. His parents, Mr.
and Mrs. James C. Beard, live at Oroville, Calif.
Word that their son, Pfc. George E. Beard, 20, former Oroville
high school student, died at Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus,
O., Friday of asphyxiation has been received by Mr. and Mrs. James
C. Beard at Fifth Avenue. Details of his death were not learned,
but it was believed he may have been overcome by fumes during a
test flight in a plane. An aviation mechanic, he had charge of testing
planes in his squadron that had been repaired. Col. John S. Gullet,
commander of the airport, in a telegram to the young man’s parents
gave the cause of death as anoxia, a form of asphyxiation. The body
is being sent to Oroville for funeral services. The time will be
announced later. Pfc. Beard was born Jan. 9, 1924, at Bejoit, Wis.,
and came to California in 1937. He attended Oroville high school,
from which he was graduated in June, 1942. He was a member of the
high school basketball team and participated in athletics later
at Sacramento Junior College, which he entered in October 1942.
He was employed at Crystal Drug Store in Oroville while attending
high school, and during summer vacations. He also worked for F.
C. Stolte Co. as a carpenter on Chico Army Airfield. He had been
in the service slightly more than a year, having entered the army
through selective service when he reached his 19th birthday.
Home at Christmas He was in Oroville at Christmas time on a ten-day
furlough. Besides his parents he is survived by four brothers and
a sister, Sgt. James C. Beard of McClellan Field, Sacramento
James W. Beard of Oroville; Frank T. Beard. Aviation
ordnance maintenance mate 2nd class, stationed at Norman,
Okla., Grant Harry Beard of Oroville, and Mrs. Ivan Briggs
of Oroville. The young man was a nephew of Vern P. Tannchill and
Mrs. Francis Stubbs.
Starkey Wins Approval For Brave Action Helps to rescue comrade
stunned by Japanese bomb. (The following story was written by Sergeant
Francis H. Barr, Dallas, Texas, a Marine Corps Combat Correspondent.)
SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC, March 10- (Delayed) – Marine
Corporal Jess W. Starkey, 29, of Oroville, Calif.,
was rewarded recently with a letter of commendation for rescuing
a wounded man and for assisting him to an aid station in total darkness
during an air raid on Bougainville. A draftsman in a Leatherneck
unit, Corporal Starkey was a fireman for the Southern Pacific working
out of Oroville before enlisting. His wife, the former Betty G.
Gould, works for the State Highway Patrol, in Quincy, Calif. Corporal
Starkey’s citation, awarded by Major General Allen Hal Turnage,
commander of the Third Marine Division, read: “At about 3 a. m.
on November 7, 1943, during an attack by enemy aircraft on the command
post of this Marine unit in the Cape Torokina area, Bougainville,
a 500 pound aerial bomb exploded about 35 yards from the area in
which you were located. Of your own volition, you proceeded with
two other members of your unit to the place where the bomb had fallen,
in order to assist a badly wounded man lying near the bomb crater.
Although enemy planes were still overhead, and bombing continued
in nearby areas, without consideration of your own safety you assisted
in placing the wounded man on a stretcher and carrying him for more
than 300 yards, in total darkness, to an aid station. You displayed
outstanding bravery and devotion to duty. Your conduct was in keeping
with the highest traditions of the United Sates naval service.”
Starkey’s foster father and his mother. Mr. and Mrs. Sheridan Starkey
live in Gridley, Calif., where a sister Mrs. Millie Fawns also resides.
I thought it was time to write a little about the men who “GAVE
ALL” for their country. This is all we know about Pfc. George
Beard. He will be honored on our Memorial. Our club Chaplin
and my partner in our talks, to many groups these past 3 years,
Ted Grainger is recovering from Heart Surgery at Enloe Hospital.
We wish him well and Happy Birthday tomorrow, July 10th!