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September 15, 2006
Oroville Mercury Register
(probably 1944)

Seven months have elapsed since Sgt. R. E. Bourquin, Jr., wrote a greeting on May 19 to his Oroville friends from the Shanghai War Prisoners’ Camp.
The card, printed in pen and ink by a man who always wrote with backward slant in longhand was received last week by Mr. and Mrs. N. W. Duncan, of 1st Avenue, only the mention of frog hunts to Duncan assured the Oroville recipients of the card that the message was from Bourquin, who was taken at Wake Island by the Japanese.
greeting read: “Dear Dunks’, Just a line to let you know that I haven’t forgotten you.
I’m well and hope you folks are also.
Neil, I would give anything right now to go on one of our frog hunts.
Give my best regards to all my friends, tell them I hope to see them all soon.
Love, Bob, P. S. Keep up the good work I’ll see you all soon.”

Sgt Bourquin was with a U. S. Air Force contingent of Grumman Wildcats that fought to keep the Japanese from taking Wake Island in December, 1941.
The group had been transferred to Wake from Hickman Field, Hawaii, just prior to the Pearl Harbor attack.
The Oroville soldier graduated from the Oroville Union High School in 1939 and joined the Marines that summer.
He trained at San Diego before being sent to Hawaii.
During a furlough in June, 1940, and just prior to going overseas, he visited at Oroville.
Bourquin’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Bourquin, Sr., moved to San Diego following their son’s high school graduation and have resided there since, according to the Duncans’.

This is a letter sent to committee member Joan Lee from the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, 2400 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D. C. 20301-2400
August 29, 2006

Dear Ms. Lee:

Thank you for requesting the 2006 National POW/MIA Recognition Day poster.
Annually, our office, designs, prints and distributes a poster of unique design in remembrance and honor of Americans who have not returned from hostile actions from World War II through Operation Desert Strom.
The poster serves not only to remember and honor our missing citizens, but also to remember their families who await answers and the return of their missing love ones.

Around the globe, the U. S. Government observes National POW/MIA Recognition Day on the third Friday in September.
We send posters to all U. S. military units worldwide, the families of the missing, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospitals and service centers, veterans, and private organizations, and concerned private citizens who wish to remember and honor the supreme sacrifice our fellow Americans have made on our behalf.
You may obtain additional copies of this year’s poster by printing it from our website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.
On behalf of the more than 600 men and women in the Department of Defense who work full time worldwide to obtain the fullest possible accounting of our missing, thank you for remembering and honoring our fallen but not forgotten citizens whose service and sacrifice go above and beyond the call of duty.

Sincerely, Angel L. Beltran,
External Relations & Operations.

Stu’s Notes:
I think Wake fell a few weeks after Pearl Harbor, if I recall right, the boys were ready for a fight yo the end and disappointed when their commander surrendered.
Maybe one of my readers knows more about this.
I do remember many American and Australian construction workers were machine gunned by the Japanese on the beaches of Wake Island after the surrender.
Also Oroville’s Harold Wickman worked on Wake shortly before it fell, sadly he was transferred to Guam and captured and sent to a Japanese Prison Camp.
They were notorious as being the cruelest camps at that time.
He died there in 1944 in Kobe, Japan.
He is buried in our cemetery on Marysville Road ( Feather River Blvd to you young readers) His grave is right across from Builders Supply.
He left a wife Muriel and his son Harold Jr.
his mother and three sisters.
Sgt. R. E. Bourquin Jr.’s story came from a news paper clipping from Helen Caswell who is from the Oroville High School Class of 1943. The picture of R. E. Bourquin looks a lot like the picture I forgot to run last week of Bud Ryan’s Brother, John.
Young eager Airmen ready to take on the world and the whole Japanese –German Air force’s.
And they did, God Bless them.
We must never forget them. Remember that tonight we honor all POW/MIA at our candle light ceremony on the steps of the Veteran’s Memorial Building on Montgomery Street at 6:45PM.