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October 27, 2006
More from “Recollections From Army Days” by Robert C. Brooks

July 5, 1945
Sky Mail
Dear Friend,
Received your most welcome letter some time ago. Just got around to answering it now. I have some bad news. But not as bad as I expected. I didn’t think any of us would make it through. But some of us did. To start off with the names and what happened to them. Homer Peterson was killed in the French Maginot line. He was one of our best men. Charles Bishop suffered shell concussion. I think he will be O. K. John Fiedler was hit with machine gun fire about three weeks after we got in combat. He had just made S. F. C. but I heard from him later. He got O.K. Atkins was slightly wounded the first time, and then he had frozen feet. Morrison had a broken leg with shell fragments. And Milton Emerick was killed near Avranches, France, by a sniper, but we got the sniper and shot him all to pieces. We sure had it tuff and what I heard you fellows did too. I wish you would write to me and tell me about the old boys that is left. Is Sargent Rankin still with you? If he is tell him to write me. If Sgt. Hedrick is there tell him hello and write me. Do you still have any of the old officers with you. I am in the army of occupation so guess I will stay over here for a while. I had rather do that than go to the Pacific. So can’t think of any thing to write about, so excuse my bad writing, but you will forgive me since I am just a KY hillbilly.
Answer soon,
Gilmer Mays.

Our Supply Sergeant, Louis Gangi, and Motor Sergeant, Harold Keeler were in the cavalry before being transferred to our company at Camp Campbell. Keeler had a great deal to learn about vehicles when he made the change from Stable Sergeant in the Cavalry to Motor Sergeant in the Armored Division. He got right in to motors and machinery and maintenance; worked on trucks, jeeps, and other vehicles.

Oroville Mercury Register 1943

“It’s like shooting quail with a shotgun” is the way Sgt. Ivan Alexander, 29, of Robinson’s Corner, aerial machine gunner on a high altitude bomber, describes his duties. Alexander has had a lot of practice shooting quail, ducks, geese and deer. He’s toted a shotgun since the age of eight. Which is the main reason he was able to turn in the second highest average in his squadron of 275 men in aerial gunnery competition recently near Salt Lake City air base. He had an average of 27.8 directs hits on a 14 by 16 foot sleeve target at 200 to 400 yards,. While the target was moving at 200 miles an hour. “you have to lead them,” he explained. Alexander, who visited here on a 10 day furlough, after completion of his training, was to report for further orders, possibly for assignment to overseas duty. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. T. E. Alexander. He was a tractor driver and oiler before going into the service.

Stu’s notes: I had a dear friend who was an all round good man, Jim Minter, who lived in Oroville a long time. I sure miss him. He was in the Horse Calvary in the Army. He had quite an odd walk, as he had been kicked by a mule in the Army. He was a good Ironworker who walked the “Iron”. He was also “Father of the Year” in the Oroville Masonic Lodge.
I ran the picture of Homer because he just looks like he should be honored in someway in Oroville. Remember, he died for us. You can look at his picture and see a hero, as all those young men were so long ago,
I hope everyone has marked their calendar for a busy Saturday, November 11th. We will have a parade in the morning starting at 11AM. Then there will be a dinner to support the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park up at the Municipal Auditorium. It is being put on by Bob Sharkey and Crew of the Feather River Recreation and Parks District. It is at 6:30pm the cost is $25 per person or $40 per couple. I hope to see a good turn out at both events.