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September 3, 2004
Stu’s notes:
The five Ruiz Brothers from Honcut served their country well. This story will be from a visit with Pedro (Pete) Ruiz, August 2004. They served in the years 1941 – 1955. Cpl. Luis Ruiz Jr. U. S. Army 1941-1945 WWII Germany, Cpl. Pedro (Pete) Ruiz, U. S. Marine Corps 1941-1945 WWII South Pacific. S/Sgt Arnulfo Ruiz, U. S. Army 1947-1951 Korean Veteran, Cpl. Ruben Babe Ruiz U. S. Army 1949-1952 Armed Forces Occupation Germany, Cpl. Angelo Alfonso Ruiz U. S. Marine Corps 1952-1955, Korean Veteran. The picture today is of Luis and Pete. I hope to talk to the other brothers in the future. Luis was in the landing at Normandy and fought through Belgium. After the war he came home to Honcut and worked in the lumber mills around Oroville. Most people that knew him probably never knew he was a “hero”. As most came back and lived and died their stories never told. Most like Pete who tell some of their stories are very modest about what they did. Only those that were there can really know. The words of Pete Ruiz “Right after Pearl Harbor I enlisted in the Marine Corp to follow in my brother’s foot steps. Enlisting at the steps of the Veterans Memorial Hall on Montgomery, caught a troop train at the Depot, many stops along the way to San Diego Marine Base. I never returned home again until December 1945. After Boot camp I went to Tank School, Jacques’ Farm in Desert outside of San Diego, trained in WWI tanks also at Camp Pendleton. I was assigned to the 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion, under the command of Major Louis Metzer, USMC. Then we trained on Amphibious tanks at Ocean side. Trained in the surf. Next went to Pearl Harbor in late 1942, saw lots of damage, took a big convoy to Guadalcanal. Ships as far as you could see. Still fighting going on there, we used our tanks as artillery. Next to the Marshall Islands in 1943, went to shore on Kwajalein, I think in January 1944. We were on shore one month, pretty nasty there. Back to our base, Guadalcanal then to Guam where we went to shore very nasty fighting. We lost tanks on landing. Our tanks went through the water well but slow, if hit below the water line they sank. I was a driver. On land it drove like a tractor with friction brakes for steering. Seven men were on each tank. Lots of jungle fighting here.

Taken from the book Hitting the Beaches, Compiled and edited by Dale L. Barker, Luther M. Flattum, Company B
A few hours on Guam. The rest of the day was spent transporting wounded out to the ships and carrying ammo and water to the front lines. On the first trip to the lines we ran into another mine field. B-1 and we in B-2 were in the lead. George L. Cash was driving. We hit a mine and for a few seconds I thought I was dead. All it did, however, was blow a hole in the bottom of the tank and send us into a near panic. A medium tank just ahead hit a larger mine and lost a track. Mines were getting as thick as fleas. Pedro Ruiz grabbed his Thompson submachine gun and walked in front of the tank as we advanced. I felt quite a bit of admiration for Pedro then. Thank God he didn’t get hit, but they were coming terribly close. We caught up with the infantry, and some of the men helped Pedro look for mines and guide us.

Back to Guadalcanal. Out beer rations had piled up while we were gone. I traded mine for candy bars. Next we went to Okinawa, our 2nd armored had taken care of Iwo Jima. We anchored off the coast of Okinawa for a week and saw many Kamikazes. Then a huge Bombardment . What a Show! We went a shore on the North Island April 1, 1945, not a shot fired at us. Made it to Japanese Airport by night, then back to the beach, made landing at Naha, landed on the southern tip. Very heavy fighting for 3 months. Then to Saipan. July 1945, got new updated tanks, we prepared for the invasion of Japan, woke up one August Day and the war was over. Lots of partying , so many relieved. On October 5, 1945, typhoon , one of the biggest ever, everything blew away. Had the invasion fleet been there thousands would have died. The trip home was delayed another month. Came home on a overloaded troop ship at 10 knots. Big Bands in San Diego, not much fan-faire in Oroville. November 1945 home to Honcut on a train with $300 in muster out pay. Went to war at $50.00 a month ended up $75 per month. I went to work in the Lumber mills, Feather Falls, Georgia Pacific, Finished up and retired from Koppers.”

POW/MIA DAY on the front steps of the Veterans Memorial Building on Montgomery St. September 17, 2004 at 6:30pm.