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November 25, 2005
Oroville Mercury
January 10, 1944 and March 18, 1944

“Some Gave All”

In So. Pacific By Japanese Ambush
Paratrooper’s Death After Long Service Told By Comrade. From an Oroville man who served in the same outfit, news has been received here of the death in action of Pfc. Lester William Onyett, 21, of Oroville.

Pvt. Onyett, a marine paratrooper, was killed while fighting in the Pacific when a squad to which he had been assigned as a replacement, was ambushed, according to George Lerner, a member of Onyett’s old unit. Lerner said, Onyett’s former buddies had asked that he write to Calvin Onyett, the marine’s uncle and inform him of Onyett’s death. Lerner wrote to his sister and requested her to convey the news to Oyett’s relatives. Onyett enlisted in June, 1942. He was graduated from Bird Street school and completed high school in Toledo, Ore. He later attended college in San Mateo. He worked for the Onyett dairy before going into the service.

Marine Casualty
Pfc. Lester William Onyett, of Oroville, a Marine paratrooper, was one of the first Butte county men to give his life in the expanding American drive against Japanese bases in the Pacific. Onyett died when the squad with which he was serving was ambushed, presumably in the Gilberts. Friends of Onyett said all but three of the men in the squad were killed, and that one of those who came out alive was wounded. Onyette, formerly employed at Onyett’s dairy here was a sniper as well as a paratrooper. He was in New Caledonia, and served on Guadalcanal before going into the action in which he met death. His mother, Mrs. Leon Clover lives at Rockport, near Ft. Bragg. His grandmother is Mrs. Sadie Onyett of Oroville, Mrs. Irvin Little of Gridley is an aunt and Calvin Onyett of Oroville is an uncle.

Home From Wars
Major Henry Stapp, former Oroville Western Pacific trainmaster, who arrived recently in New York after nearly a year overseas. Stapp wears the Middle Eastern Theatre ribbon centered with the battle star for the Sicilian campaign. As head of the 10th Port of embarkation, his job has been the moving of troops and supplies. In a telephone call from New York, Stapp told his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Stapp, that he hoped to be in Oroville soon.

Stu’s Notes: I recently talked to Tim Timmons, who parachuted into France, in the dark of night, on D-Day, behind German lines. Can you imagine that? Only my readers who are combat Veterans can. They are an elite group whom I will always look up to, Heroes among Heroes. Tim was wounded in the fighting later on and finally evacuated to England. His outfit went all the way to Germany, suffering unbelievable causalities. He is so proud of them. He will get me their story.

Does anyone know of George Lerner, the Oroville man in the above article? I took a long time friend, Nick Krpan, to Papacito’s, of course his lunch was free, no veteran can spend a dime there for his meal, on Veterans Day. The city honored Papacito’s founder Bonnie Lombardi and General Manager, Mary Sulik for their Outstanding Community Service that afternoon. I was thrilled along with Ted Grainger, Bob Sharkey and Bill Connelly to get to read parts of the proclamation. A picture was taken by Mercury photographer David Neilson, I saw it coming so I kept pushing Nick into a good spot, later he told Lynn that I kept pushing him and he didn’t know why. I will do most anything to get our Veterans Memorial Park Logo in the paper. Nick was wearing one of our shirts. Just like the one I have worn every day for close to 4 years now. Thank you again Shannon Larsen for the design.

Last week story was about the Van Duzer Brothers. Does anyone know Rodger’s address? I’ve lost contact with him. I think he is in Sacramento.

Next year big things will happen with our Veterans Memorial Park. We are working close with the City of Oroville and things are moving forward in a big way. Updates soon.