CSS Tabbed Menus Css3Menu.com

September 8, 2006
This letter from Joan Lee came to me quite sometime ago. I have been saving it for the right time and because next Friday, September 15th will be POW/MIA Recognition Day, a day when all of Oroville should turn out to honor young heroes like 1st Lt. John Ryan. Joan ‘s words. “I found out about the following this morning, I ran into James Ryan and his wife, Gayle. They have been Oroville residents for over 57 years. James' brother, 1st Lt. John C. Ryan was an engineering student at the University of Alaska prior to going into the service during WWII. At that time he went into the Army Air Corps and was a pilot of a B-24. It was the rule then that if the crew flew 30 bombing missions they would be allowed to return to the states. Since John’s wife was expecting their first child he was anxious to return home. John Ryan was flying planes that had been used in the deserts of North Africa and due to dust and sand storms were very hard to maintain in the best of mechanical condition. He was worried about this whenever he went on a mission. He was flying just such a plane on his 28th mission when he and his fellow crew members were forced to crash in a pasture in Sicily. An elderly farmer who had lived and worked in the United States as a young man, and had worked on the underground transportation system in New York during the turn of the century found them. He had no liking for the Germans. He helped the American airmen by hiding them by day and moving them at night. He arranged for a boat to move them across the sea to get them back to base. When John got back to his base he was given a new B-24. His next mission, August 1, 1943, was a bombing raid of the Ploesti Oil Fields of Romania. While over the Mediterranean Sea the plane went into a tailspin and crashed into the sea. The wingman broke formation and went down to look for survivors but could find none. He was forced to return to base because he could not catch up with the rest of the flight.”

More from “Recollections From Army Days” by Robert C. Brooks
We were kept busy in camp. Washed windows and scrubbed floors in the barracks. Picked up cigarette butts and what other small trash there was around our area. We had some practice with the Grand M-1 rifle. Learned the ”Manual of Arms”, and safe handling. One drill was to learn the proper sight picture. Sightings were marked on a paper about 50 feet away, by another soldier. We tried to get the marks as close together as possible. We got out to the rifle range and fired at targets from 300 to 500 yards away. A miss of the whole target was a “Maggie’s Drawer”. The target marker would wave a red flag in front of the target. Most of the fellows qualified, and a few made “Expert”. New armored divisions were being organized. The 1st Armored needed replacements after setbacks in North Africa. In the last of 1942 I was assigned to the 12th Armored Division, 56th Armored Infantry Regiment later reorganized to 56th Armored Infantry Battalion. That was at Camp Campbell, Kentucky, near the Tennessee border. (to be continued)

Stu’s Notes: Here is another letter we received recently. To Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Fund, Dear Stu, Please accept the enclosed check in the amount of $963.50 to be used towards the construction of the Oroville Veterans Memorial. The funds were raised from an auction held at the 2005 Joint Family Reunion of the Leforce, Earnheart and Willis Families held in Oroville. About 75 family members from across the country were present at the reunion and participated in the auction. The reunion is held every two years and alternates between Oklahoma and California. Thank you for your efforts in this worthwhile project. Sincerely yours, Don Leforce. Lynn and I have known Don and Carol for a long time. They are very civic minded. Don once let me rummage through a Box Car he had at his business, Compass Equipment. I found many artifacts of the building of the Oroville Dam. Thank you, Don, very much.
I’ve know James “Bud” Ryan for years, we go back to the Build of the Oroville Dam, I as an Ironworker who worked on all phases of the Dam, Bud the Business Manager for the Pipe Fitters and Plumbers. Many of his Dam friends were mine also. I feel honored to write a little bit about his brother.
Remember our Fundraiser BBQ tomorrow night dinner will be served from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. At the Veterans Memorial Hall on Montgomery street ( by the Boss Burger). James Townsend has put together a great dinner, Tri-Tip – Chicken Dinner and a Raffle.
Next Friday, September 15th on the steps of the Veterans Memorial Building on Montgomery Street, Oroville at 6:45pm we will have a candle light service, in honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day. Ted Grainger will MC and present the Missing Man Table. Sound will be provided by Jim