October 28, 2005
March 24, 1944
Armed Men Write To Old Tutor
Rotarians listened Monday to a
cross section of a high school principal’s correspondence with men
in the armed services and found in it touches of philosophy and
humor. Some of the writers were grateful for their schooling.
Others were wistful, wishing they had chosen better.
The summation by the speaker
J. C. Nisbet, demonstrated
that Oroville Union High School is well represented both by ex-students
and teachers in the greatest of all wars. Topping the list
was Maj. Gen. Arthur Wilson,
who has been promoted twice-from colonel to brigadier general to
major general-since the war began. Nisbet read a resolution
of commendation spread on the Congressional Record by
Sen. Truman, referring
to Wilson in highest terms as liaison officer for the Truman investigating
committee just before Wilson was advanced to brigadier general and
assigned to organize the service of supply for Gen. MacArthur in
the South Pacific.
There was the letter from
1st Lt. Eugene Boehme,
student in the school 3 years ago, who led a company of marines
in the invasion of bloody Tarawa. “Our position was never
precarious…Marines never think along such lines…but it was a hot
spot. Guadalcanal was bad enough but could not compare with
Evan Hughes, well
remembered here, wrote of being now “on the biggest newest and best
battleship in the world.” He hoped he was on his way to the
spot where he could be of aid to his fighting brother. “I wish I
had taken 5 different kinds of language,” he wrote.
Touton J. Anderson,
who taught for 2 years here about 10 years ago, is in rural England,
possible readying for the great invasion. He seems to have
got possession of a hen, which he has farmed out to a farmer.
He collects the occasional egg and has the eating right to the hen
when the proper time comes. The city men of England are distant
through friendly. The farmers are different. “Buy him a beer
in a pub and he’s your friend right away.” Anderson has nothing
but admiration for the English and their superb confidence that
they will win through despite all difficulties.
Henry Boussy, former
teacher, himself a Frenchman, is an oddity to the Frenchmen he meets
because he, an American, can speak the language. He is a captain
in the U. S. air corps. Eating in England is “a masterpiece
of getting along without.” “I have given up warm feet for the duration.”
He tells of lowly beans, potatoes and boiled rice served on silver
John Thomas, who attended school here for three years, then
graduated in Marysville, is in Iran helping to keep the line of
supply open to Russia. “Hot. Gets up to 150 degrees.
Sand flies, typhus, Disease is as bad as bullets.”
Earl Baker, a seaman
2nd class in the U. S. Navy, wrote 8 days out of new York: “I have
used math in the past 5 months more than I ever expected.
Tell them all to take more math. It is the only thing that
holds me back.”
Johnny Aleck is a
radio operator in North Africa, and must be “on his toes every moment”
or he will give information to the enemy. “They think we soldiers
are rich. Racketeers here are stringing us.” A serious note
from Johnny: “When we hear about strikes back home we feel pretty
bad. There had better be no strikes when this outfit gets
home or there’ll be hell to pay.” “Please tell all the students
to take all the math they can get. It’s all I need to get
ahead.” To be continued next week.
I saw Ernie Reynolds
recently, he has some fantastic tales to tell as a Merchant Marine
Seaman after WWII and right before the Cold War with Russia and
China. I hope to get a story from him soon. His bother
Richard, who attended
Oroville High in the 1930’s, was lost at Sea as a Navy Seaman.
It was just before Pearl Harbor.
Richard Rodney Reynolds
of Yankee Hill served on the USS Wasmus. As I have said before
the Merchant Seamen finally received their just due
from our government, for their gallant services to their country.
I think Richard deserves a special honor in our Memorial, as he
gave his life serving in some dangerous times and places, just days
before the war was declared. Our men were dying in many far
off places before the war. China, France, and England and
they deserve to be honored in their hometowns.
J.C. Nisbet was the
Superintendent at Oroville High School when I graduated in 1958.
I hope I can find more of his letters of our Oroville Soldiers.
Last weeks story of Maj.
Rabo of Chico left me in wonder if he survived the crash
of his B-17. Well he did as did his Co Pilot, Medal of Honor
Recipient Lt. John Cary
(Red) Morgan. Thanks to
Mary (Long) Andrews,
I talked to his son Mike
Rabo who lives in Durham. We will meet soon and get
the “rest of the story”. I want to thank Feather River Recreation
and Parks District for their recent help on our POW/MIA ceremony
and our Spaghetti Lunch.