CSS Tabbed Menus Css3Menu.com

September 9, 2005

Oroville Mercury February 26, 1944

Accepts Medal for Hero Son
E. A. Pulliam of Oroville, father of Sgt. Francis W. (Skeet) Pulliam of this city, is shown right, as he accepted the Distinguished Flying Cross in ceremonies at Chico Army Flying Field in behalf of his son, who has been missing in a raid over Europe since Oct. 14. Shaking hands with the Oroville man is Col. Gerald Hoyle, left, commanding officer of the flying field. The cross was awarded for “great courage and skill” as a turret gunner on a B-17 in more than 20 bombardment missions over enemy territory.

Jerry Walker’s Marine Comrades tell of Oroville Man At Tarawa
Marine comrades of Pfc. Jerry Walker at the battle of Tarawa have advised Mrs. James Walker, his mother, that they left Jerry “hale and hearty” following the engagement. Two members of Walker’s Corps, Cpl. Eddie Coppinger and Pfc. Norman Dillan, were seen by the mother at the U. S. Naval Hospital at Oakland. Her visit was in response to a letter from Coppinger, who had written 24 letters to relatives at the request of 24 boys of his outfit who remained overseas. Later Mrs. Walker visited with the two boys at an entertainment given for them by Mrs. Jesse Cress in San Francisco. They told her that Dillon and Walker had gone to the Samoa Islands together. There they met and became friends with Coppinger, who was Walker’s corporal. In Oct. ’43, the three went with their outfit to New Zealand and from there to the New Hebrides. There they were trained on landing barges. Walker went into the Tarawa battle with the eighth-wave of men sent in. The landing was difficult. The Japanese were entrenched in concrete pill-boxes and the Americans’ shells were not heavy enough to penetrate the concrete. The first three waves virtually were wiped out. Scrapers, brought into action, then covered the pill boxes and the Japanese concealed in them. After the scrapers had buried everything, the Airplanes went back to dig out the Japanese that still lived. These later were pushed into the sea. One night when Walker was on duty, following the invasion, an enemy plane dropped bombs on the island, the hospitalized Marines said. The next morning Walker found that one bomb had landed only 20 yards from his post. Coppinger and Dillion were being treated at the hospital for filariasis, the presence of parasitic worms in the blood stream. In a recent letter to his mother Walker wrote that he might be home by the middle of May. He said that he had some symptoms of “a slight touch of filariasis.”

“That’s All Brother”
A U. S. Bomber Base In England -UP-
One by one the German fighters were knocking out the engines of Flying Fortress, fighting desperately to get back home. 2nd Lt. Robert McClamont, Chillicothe, O., bombardier on another Flying Fortress, was watching as the crippled ship tried every possible evasive movement. When the Focke-Wulfs closed in for the kill, the radio-man on the riddled American ship sent out his last message: “That’s all, brother. You’re looking at my last engine.” A few seconds later, the Fort crashed and burned.

Stu's notes: Sgt. Francis W. (Skeet) Pulliam, our motto is “Not Forgotten Veterans”. Seems like no one knows of this young Oroville man. Was he ever found? We have him listed at KIA, but this is not verified. Someone in Oroville must remember him. If you know about any of Oroville’s lost soldiers, please call or write me. They should not be forgotten. Those that came home, have stories to tell that should not be lost to History. If you don’t want to talk about yourself, many don’t, tell the stories of your buddies who have gone on, they can’t.

Did Pvt. Jerry Walker make it home to Oroville? I remember some Walkers years ago that lived in Oroville. Oroville has the honor to have men that flew in B-17’s, heroes they are. Oroville also lost some that flew in these planes. In the early part of WWII, 1942-43 the life expectancy in these bombers was not good. If you lasted 25 missions you were awful fortunate. At that time they flew over Europe without fighter escort. They were on their own. They did it and we must be forever grateful. So many young Oroville men died, and if not for them and so many others WWII would have been much longer and possibly brought to the shores of America. Germany and Japan were on the verge of having weapons that could have hurt our country bad. Our committee and founding member Doug Krause flew in B-17’s over Europe.

I hope everyone has an hour on Friday, September 16th, at 6:30PM, to come to the steps of the Veterans Memorial Building on Montgomery Street for our third annual POW/MIA recognition day, candlelight service.