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February 2, 2007
More from “Recollections From Army Days” By Robert C. Brooks

Dirt and shrapnel zinged over us, and the high screams of the “88” shells sounded terrifying. As if this wasn’t enough, we heard loud banging and kicking and screaming of farm animals trapped in stalls and corrals. It lasted for just a few minutes, but seemed like forever before the firing stopped. If it had kept on they might have eliminated everyone on the hillside, but perhaps they ran out of ammunition or thought their position was spotted. We were called to get back to positions just over the hill. Causalities were left that night. Groves had been wounded, and died. One of our men Orville Wollenburg, had stayed with him for a little while. We stayed in those positions, and waited for morning, when the sky began to light up. It was unusually quiet that morning, and the sun showed through the haze like a big red ball over the hills. We heard far off in the distance a church bell ringing, and could hardly believe it. Dick Koos and I listening to it wondered if it meant the war was over, but of course it wasn’t. There was a detail sent to get the bodies of our soldiers. One of my friends, Marshall Place, told me later that he didn’t want to go, but as he thought about it he came to feel it as an honor. We stayed in those positions for several days. During that time the Germans tried to attack our positions, but were as bad off as we had been. They came in daylight, and the wind was blowing so hard they were slanted against it. They were just as much targets as we had been, though much farther a way, and they finally gave it up. This took place over Christmas days, and a few of us at a time went back a mile or so to the field kitchen, where we had a hot Christmas dinner. Some days after that, in January 1945, we moved back to another area in another village where we got some replacements and rested. By that time there was a lot of snow. (to be continued)

Oroville Mercury Register December 17, 1952

Four members of the Oroville High School graduating class of 1952 have enlisted in the United States Air Force and are now receiving training prior to regular assignments. They are Richard Wilson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Claude Willson, Fallbrook Avenue; Robert Simpson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Allan Simpson, Ft. Wayne Street; James Allen son of Mr. and Mrs. Marion L. Allen, Rout 3; and Joel McKim, son of Mr. and Mrs. James W. McKim, Quincy Road. The boys enlisted through the Chico Air Force Recruiting Office and were sent to San Francisco for processing and assignment to training camps.

Cpl. Paul W. Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Smith, of Thermalito has returned to England from Germany where he was graduated from a language school after six months of study. Smith was graduated from Oroville High School in 1949 and later attended San Jose State College before enlisting in the Army in December, 1950. He has been in Europe for the past 18 months.

WENDELL L. BROWN, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Brown, Oroville,is spending a 30 day leave from the Navy with his parents. Brown, who was formerly a Mercury carrier and who graduated from Oroville High School in 1950, enlisted in the Navy in January, 1951. For the past 19 months he has been stationed at Guam where he was assigned to the Welfare and Recreation departments, as well as in the personnel department. Upon completion of his leave he will report to Treasure Island for future assignment.

Stu’s Notes: Chief Warren Officer Paul Wesley Smith who was born in Oroville, Sept.18th, 1931 to Gus and Ruth Smith of Thermalito, served our country well for over 15 years. He died of small arms fire in a fire fight in Gia Dinh South Vietnam on May 5, 1968. He was 36 years old. My family was friends with his family. And we know of no relatives other than a brother who was a Highway Patrolman, somewhere. Family friends, Cliff and Ermaline Sawyer remember him as a very intelligent patriotic young man who served his country. He was an Eagle Scout and president of Oroville High School Class of 1949. He was awarded the Silver Star, among other medals. Cliff told me that Paul really loved the Vietnamese people and served there way past his normal tour of duty. Robert Simpson is the brother of Oroville’s own J.R. Simpson. I recently went to the Funeral of Paul Kafader III, I didn’t know him but had talked to him several times at our booth on Feather Fiesta Days. He was an electrician and was looking forward to helping us build Our Veterans Memorial. I’m sure he would have been a big help. We must build soon as a man like Paul should be honored while they are still with us.