August 4, 2006
Oroville Mercury Register August 11, 1956
GEN. ARTHUR WILSON DIES IN S.F.; SHOCK TO HIS FRIENDS
Follows Coronary Two Days Ago
Oroville’s Most Famed Soldier
Taps sounded today for Major Gen Arthur R. Wilson (Ret.) 63, Oroville’s
most famous soldier-son, who died early this morning at Letterman
General Hospital in San Francisco.
Death came at 3:30 a. m. as a result of a heart attack early this
week after Gen. Wilson had been taken to the hospital suffering
from a bladder ailment.
Only yesterday friends in Oroville were informed that Gen. Wilson
appeared to be recovering from the heart attack and doctors at the
hospital said his condition was satisfactory.
Gen. Wilson was born at Cherokee, one of three sons of Agnes and
Alex M. Wilson, pioneer Butte county residents both of whom were
born in Butte county.
He attended grammar school in Cherokee and was a graduate of Oroville
Union High School.
He later graduated from the University of California at Berkeley,
but left school in 1916 to begin his military career that was to
lead him to the four corners of the world.
Up from the ranks
Gen. Wilson served as an enlisted man with the California National
Guard on the Mexican Border under General John A. Pershing in 1916.
He entered the army in World War 1 as a second lieutenant, August,
1917 and was commissioned in the regular army as a first lieutenant
of field artillery effective July 1, 1920.
Meanwhile, he had managed to complete his college education and
received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California
During World War I Gen. Wilson
served with the 346th
Field Artillery at the Presidio, in San Francisco and at Camp Lewis,
He joined the American Expeditionary Force with his regiment on
July 13, 1918 and served at Camp De.Souge, France.
After the armistice he served with the American Army of Occupation
After The War
General Wilson’s post-war service included duty with the 76th Field
Artillery at the Presidio and with the 13th Field Artillery at Schofield
He was an instructor in the Command and General Staff School at
Fort Leavenworth, Kans., from 1935 to 1937 when he became war department
liaison officer with the Works Progress Administration in Washington,
He rose in rank to become a full colonel 1937 and was assigned as
chief of the Federal Works Agency.
Subsequently he was assigned to the general staff of the War Department
and later was named liaison officer with the Truman investigating
committee of the Senate.
Attended Army College
As the clouds of World War II began to gather on the horizons of
the world, Gen. Wilson attended the Army War College, the command
and general staff schools, the field artillery school and the chemical
warfare school, gaining the military education that was to make
him one of the nation’s top soldiers.
When war broke out on December 7, 1941, Gen. Wilson was ready to
take his place among the leaders of the greatest army ever assembled.
By January, 1942, he had been advanced to the rank of brigadier
general and was recognized as an expert in logistics and supply.
His first assignment under his new rank was to lead the first American
troops in the Southwest Pacific Theater of War in the early spring
As quartermaster general of the United States forces in that theater,
he assisted in working out a vital lend-lease agreement with the
top officials of the Australian government.
Was With Ike
By the first of August, 1942, Gen. Wilson was in England with General
Dwight D. Eisenhower. As one of the youngest generals in the army
he helped organize the gigantic operation that was to develop into
the invasion of the European continent two years later and then,
with the preliminary work done, he was sent to Africa.
There he set up the supply system that provided the troops and the
arms with which the Allies were to drive the German and Italians
forces from North Africa.
For that task he received the order of the Legion of Merit.
As the tide of the Allied Forces swept toward the underbelly of
Europe, Gen. Wilson joined in the invasion of Sicily where his organization
of the supply lines led to the swift capture of that island.
From his headquarters there he kept the men and the arms flowing
toward Italy as the Allies began their advance northward along the
When the famous beachhead was established at Anzio, Gen. Wilson
was there to make certain that the guns and the ammunition were
at hand for the fierce fight that followed. To be continued.
Stu’s notes: When I read of what Gen. Wilson did in his short
63 years of life I think America is blessed to have people who make
such a difference in the world.
Where would we be without them? We will have the rest of Gen. Wilson’s
story next week.
As I’ve said before I would put Oroville up against any other place
in the world for the quality of our men and women that served our
country, from the Generals on down. I received a couple of calls
on last week’s column.
I talked to Don Hockings daughter, she still lives in Oroville.
Her brother’s in Chico.
Jerry Walker came home from the war, he went to work at the Post
Office and has passed away from a heart attack. He served on Guadalcanel
with Soon Gee from Charlie’s restaurant (anonymous caller)
Come see our Veterans Memorial group at the Berry Creek Berry Festival
August 12th at the Berry Creek Grange from 10am to 4pm.
We are moving forward with our memorial park. Our group attended
the Oroville City Council Meeting Aug. 1st and City Administrator
Sharon Atteberry gave us an update on our project.
The many, many loose ends are finally coming together. Our sign
should go up soon.