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May 11, 2007

Oroville Mercury Register March 17, 1950

Oroville Man On Missing Vessel Richard La Rose, On First voyage, Sailed on Tender
An OROVILLE NAVY man on his first voyage is one of the 40 men aboard the U. S. S. Elder, navy net tender, mysteriously missing in mid-Pacific. All available search planes are criss-crossing the 2600 mile area today hunting for the net tender. Richard La Rose, 18, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wallace LaRose of Palermo road, was graduated from the San Diego Naval Base recently and went aboard the vessel as a fireman for his first sea voyage, his parents said here today. The ship, en route from Hawaii to the atomic testing grounds at Eniwetok, where it was to lay navigational buoys, has been missing four days and is the object of wide plane and ship search. La Rose was graduated from Oroville Union High School last June. He joined the Navy immediately following graduation.

REAR ADMIRAL Charles H. McMorgris, commanding officer of the rescue operation, today ordered all available planes into the search as well as three naval vessels, according to a United Press story from Pearl Harbor. Nine planes, eight four-engined Privateer patrol bombers and one utility craft, are all of the rescue planes which can presently be spared for the operation, McMorgris said. Two B-17 “dumbo” rescue planes now in Hawaii cannot be sent into the search he said, or the Hawaiian sea frontier would be left without planes equipped to parachute a lifeboat. McMorgris said all military air transport planes, flying regular trans-Pacific routes, have been diverted to fly over the search area. They will not be removed from their regular runs, however, he said.

More from “Recollections From Army Days” by Robert C. Brooks
Signs of spring were showing when we moved out. Soon after this we crossed the Rhine River on a pontoon bridge that our Engineers had built. We rode in our Halftracks, mostly on roads after this. There was resistance and some fire fights, but it was becoming apparent that the war wouldn’t last much longer. Approaching one village we were held up by artillery that was zeroed on the road. We dismounted around the side. Many German soldiers were surrendering, and we lined them up in columns, ready to march to the rear. Railroad tracks ran nearby, and I walked along them looking out for German soldiers. As I went around a curve I saw a soldier trying to change into civilian clothes. He was putting on a pair of civilian pants, but still had on his army jacket. I stopped him right away. Made him put his uniform back on, then took him to the column of prisoners. He had been “Caught with his pants down.” Our advances into Germany was too rapid for most of us to remember names of places we passed through. Some incidents do stand out, though. Near a small ancient-looking town that looked undamaged, we had been riding, when firing held us up. We were near the first buildings, and saw church steeple high above the buildings. Some men in a halftrack back of us saw shots come from the steeple, and fired on it with 50 caliber guns. We dismounted, and Baker and I ran to a covered archway by a stone building. We saw a fire start in the steeple over the old stone-brick church. As the fire got bigger and smoke was coming out, roof tiles began sliding down off the steeple and hitting the ground and lawn around the church. Soon several men, monks in brown robes, ran out the front door carrying some of the church articles – books, vases, crosses- and we expected any minute to see one of the heavy tiles hit one of them. But while that was still going on out halftrack came up and we jumped on and kept going. Didn’t see the outcome. Jim McCormick, who was with us, then said, “I sure hope those guys had faith enough and didn’t get hit’. To be continued.

Stu’s Notes: Our Spaghetti Dinner went very well. So many of our committee worked hard on this. Jim Halsey’s music was super great. He has been a big supporter of our Veterans Memorial Park through out the years. At the moment this is all I know of Richard LaRose. Would like to know more.