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October 21, 2005
Butte County News Published weekly from the Mercury Register office to supplement the service of that daily newspaper.
March 24, 1944

Miss Elliott Pfc. “Í have made private first class and am I proud.”
That message comes from Pfc. Doris Elliott, stationed at Charleston (S. C. ) Air Region. “Probably it was because I was only three days out of basic training when it happened.” She adds. “I still like the army,” writes Mess Elliott, who is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burt Mansell. Writing of Charleston, she says “many of the homes hereabouts date back to 1705, and the citizens are acutely aware of it, too.” She sent the Mercury another picture, writing: “You printed my picture a while back, having received it from the War Department. I had just come back from a 24-hour duty of KP when that picture was taken and it wasn’t very flattering. I have received numerous letters from friends asking whether I was ill, and is the service so very hard. I would like to have you print the enclosed picture to really show everyone that I am not worked to death.”

Maj. Fred Rabo, Chico, Is Lost In Flames Over Berlin
Mar. 6 Maj. Fred Rabo of Chico, a squadron commander, was lost when his Flying Fortress was shot from formation by heavy flak during a raid over Berlin March 6. Also missing when the big ship, trailing flames, dropped from formation was Lt. John Cary (Red) Morgan, 29, of New York City, and Amarillo Tex., the co-pilot, who held the Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for valor. The bomber went down the same day that Brig. Gen. Russell A. Wilson, 38 of Decatur, Ill., combat wing commander, was lost leading the Fortress raid on the German capital. The going was tough over Berlin that day.

While the anti-aircraft fire was worst, the plane flown by Maj. Rabo flipped out of formation, its right wing afire. 1st Lt. Walter M. Haynes of Sanford Fla., navigator on a Flying Fortress flying on Morgan’s ring wing, saw Rabo’s plane start its death plunge. Haynes said there were no enemy fighter around the ship but described the flak as “terrific.”

At a United States bomber base in England, Haynes said: “I could see Rabo’s wing on fire and his plane came right up under us – so close we had to pull up to avoid collision. Three other ships were knocked down by flak almost simultaneously. That was about the time we dropped our bombs. “The fire on Rabo’s ship either was from a direct burst or from a hit on the oil line. The last anyone knew is that the plane still was under control when it slid into the haze.” Morgan won the Medal of Honor for a mission over Hanover, Germany, last July 26, on which he was flight officer. The pilot of his plane, 1st Lt. Robert L. Campbell of Liberty, Miss., was wounded fatally. For two hours Morgan fought to keep the plane on its course with Campbell slumped over the controls. But he flew to the target and came back.

Stu’s Notes: We recently spoke at the monthly meeting of the Butte County Historical Society about the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park. We were invited to speak by the President Peggy Adamson and Vice President Mary Long Andrews. I had a copy of the newspaper with this week’s story in it. Mary saw it and she became quite excited, as Pfc. Doris Elliott is her Aunt. Mary is a former mayor of Chico. Her sister Nancy was in my high school class of 1958. By the way we will have an all class reunion next year on October 14, 2006 all of Oroville Union High School District classes, since ever, are invited. This means half of Oroville and the other half their friends and relations. A big part of Chico, as my daughter and son live there. The Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Committee is hosting a sock hop the Friday before at the Oroville Veterans Memorial Hall. In the basement where the teen center was in my day. More on this as the year goes by.
What was the fate of a young brave man from Chico, Maj. Fred Rabo? I don’t know, hopefully one of my readers will. Most of the Medal of Honor Recipients that didn’t die in battle, as many did, could go home. The war was over for them. But some chose to stay and fight on. WWII had about 480 Medal of Honor Recipients, some people mistakenly say “winners” but they did not win anything, they earned it. “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.” Many young men in our wars did what a Medal of Honor requires but for various reasons they got a lesser medal. That’s the first time I’ve read “ring wing”. Could it mean the plane to the left, wedding ring?