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June 15, 2007

Oroville Mercury Register April 6, 1944
Oroville Soldier Makes Record In Long Mediterranean Push
Pvt. Don Evans Gets Help Through to the front line amid shells and blackouts

An Allied Fifth Army infantry man on the Anzio beachhead front, Private Donald G. Evans, Route 3, Oroville, California, carries hot meals, small arms ammunition and supplies to entrenched troops in his infantry regiment. “It’s strictly night work,” said Evans, who drives a 2 ½ ton truck. “The German Lines are too close to our bivouac to make day-driving possible. Enemy artillery would range-in before we drove our first mile. At night we can speak safely along these roads, although we are often sniped at along the way. Sometimes flares are shot over us, followed by artillery fire, but we manage to make it.” The insulated food containers Evans carries at night contain a hot meal for the infantrymen in combat, besides two meals of cold rations. Recently Evans carried hot steak sandwiches to the infantrymen who received their first steak since arriving on the Anzio beachhead. Since then he has regularly carried hot meals of fresh meat.

Evans has expertly driven his truck for over 17,000 miles along the frontlines since coming over seas 17 months ago. Although most of his mileage has been in blackout, he has never had a road accident. Serving in an infantry regiment of the Fifth Army’s 3rd division Evans has participated in four amphibious invasions from Fedala, Morocco, to Anzio. He drove his truck through the entire Sicilian campaign. During the capture of Palermo his truck was one of the first into the city.

Landing at Salerno during September, he successfully supplied his unit all along the Fifth Army frontlines to San Vittore, before landing with the infantry troops at Anzio-Nettuno. When his regiment spearheaded the crossing of the Volturno River Evans was among the first to drive his truck across the famed river. “There’re several shrapnel holes in my truck,” he said, “but the Germans can’t stop us from driving to the front every night.”

From the scrapbook of Mrs. Gilbert
Oroville Mercury May 26, 1942
“Some Gave All”

Raymond O’Brien, Chico Athlete, Is Killed In Action
Chico (Butte Co.), April 27

Official navy department notification was received last night of the death in action of Raymond (Red) O’Brien, 36, machinist, second class. The notice did not specify the time and place of the action. O’Brien was captain of a Chico High School football team and was known in the Sacramento Valley as a baseball player. He enlisted in the navy shortly after Pearl Harbor. Prior to enlistment he managed local service stations. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and of the Kiwanis Club. A brother, Major Kenneth O’Brien, also a former ball player, has been listed by the war department as a prisoner of war in the Philippines. Sergeant Philip and Private Verne O’Brien also are brothers. In addition he leaves his widow, Mrs. Mildred Brook O’Brien, a teacher in Thermalito; his father J. H. O'Brian of Lincoln, Placer County; his sisters, Mrs. C.C. Rogers of Chico, Mrs. Eleanor M. Price of San Francisco and Mrs. Philip M. Toleman of Happy Camp, Siskiyou County and his brothers, Clifford of Oroville, Butte County and Glenn M. O’Brien of Westwood, Lassen County.

Stu’s Notes: I picked up this story on Don Evans, I don’t know why, but it was in one of my many unruly files laying all over the house. Any way I immediately remembered well, it was two years ago I did a story on Bob Imay Evans, so a quick call to his daughter, Katy (Evans) Mendenhall confirmed that Don was her Dad’s brother. Her Dad’ s amazing, heroic story and his ship the USS Longshaw is on our web site and now another amazing story of his brother will be there. April 15, 2005 and also Dec. 6, 2002. It tells about Bob and Don’s Grandmother, Mrs. Sarah Imay Evans and her 15 grandsons in the Armed Forces in WWII. What a family to be proud of. Kathy had a brother that fought in Vietnam and will let me know more about him. I have had this story of Raymond O’Brien for quite some time, thank you Mrs. Gilbert, another soldier that had strong ties to Chico and Oroville and we should be proud of all the soldiers in his family. I hope to find some of his relatives. He will not be forgotten here.