Oroville Mercury Register
BOURQUIN WRITES FROM JAP CAMP
SGT. R. E. BOURQUIN Jr.
Seven months have elapsed since Sgt. R. E. Bourquin, Jr., wrote
a greeting on May 19 to his Oroville friends from the Shanghai War
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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.