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August 4, 2006
Oroville Mercury Register August 11, 1956

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 in 1919.
During World War I Gen. Wilson
served with the 346th
Field Artillery at the Presidio, in San Francisco and at Camp Lewis, Wash.
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 in Germany.

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 Barracks, Hawaii.
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, D. C.
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 of 1942.
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 Italian Boot.
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.