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June 22, 2007

Phil McKim, Jim’s brother brought Joan Robertson the information contained below, which she extrapolated into the information contained herein.

James Warren McKim – Born January 22 1922, died March 11, 2007

Jim was born in Bundy, Montana to James B. and Ora May Ebersole McKim. The family relocated the family to Oroville when Jim was a child and he graduated from Oroville Union High School in the Class of 1939. Jim worked in the fruit orchards, the Chocolate Shop (who remember Mr. Harris and that wonderful place of his?), and a local mortuary, earning money to travel and take photographs.

Jim served in the Army Air Corps during WWII as a photographer charged with capturing bomb strikes for bomb raid planning. Many men’s lives were spared because Jim installed cameras that were remotely operated and replaced the tail gunner (an assignment with a very short life expectancy), resulting in reducing crew requirements and lightening the weight load for each plane as well. His bomb group won many honors including the Presidential citation for effective bombing of strategic sites, such as rail yards, while sparing historic buildings and artifacts.

Jim was “mustered out” of the Army Air Corps at Beale Air Force Base. Following his service, he remained active in his veteran’s affiliation, the USAAF 319th Bomb Group.

After the war, Jim spent 16 years as a medical photographer beginning at McChord Air Force Base. This included a time when wounded servicemen were arriving from the Korean Conflict. Jim developed methods of photographing their injuries to assist the medical teams to both document and to repair the physical damage inflicted on these soldiers. When he left his employment with the Air Force, he took a position as head of the medical photography department of the University of Washington for 10 years.

Jim spent considerable time at, and donated over 3,000 photos, to the PIMA Air Museum in Tucson, AZ, over the last two years. The photos were all from WWII and added substantially to the museum’s extensive collection. He was interviewed extensively by museum staff three months before his death in order to expand their knowledge and understanding of the circumstances under which the WWII photos were taken.

Oroville Mercury Register, October 18, 1943
Richvale News
The air observers meeting at the Richvale school house Wednesday night was poorly attended because of harvest conditions. Mrs. Geneieve Lepper, air supervisor for this district from Oroville and Sgt. Dodson, post inspector for northern California, were present and explained the drill and emergency alerts. Mrs. Lepper, Sgt. Dodson, and the chief observer, Arthur Peterson and his assistants, Wm. Connor and Mrs. Connor and Guy Dougherty and Mrs. Dougherty enjoyed homemade ice cream, cake and coffee at the Dougherty home after the meeting.

Feather Falls News Report by Dorothy Biondo
Mrs. Jessie Owens is spending a short time in San Francisco, where her husband, Eugene Owens, is stationed with the Sea Bees. Owens expects to be sent overseas again in the near future.

Wounded in Solomons
Charles Miller, ships cook third class, United States Navy, a nephew of Mrs. C. B. Wiebie, is recovering from shrapnel wounds at the naval hospital at Treasure Island. Miller, was aboard one of the first line destroyers in the Battle of the Solomons.

Stu’s Notes: James Warren McKim, American Hero, from Oroville who served his country well for many years. Daryl Autrey did some research on the 319th, they flew the B-26, fast, medium bomber that I have read was hard to fly but a very good plane. I think Joe Kennedy was killed in a B26 on a very secret mission. The 319th flew from June 1942 to December 1945. They fought all through North Africa, Europe and the Pacific. They also flew B-25s and later A-26’s. The B-29’s in the Pacific used remote control guns. Veterans Advocate and OVMPC member, Howard Gregg’s Radio Show is now on Tuesday’s at 7:00pm, 107.1 FM on your dial. Sadly, I must report that long time OVMPC member Dean Roundy has passed away. Dean was a Veteran of WWII. He was a very quiet man that was always there to lend a helping hand, he will be truly missed by our group. Also OVMPC member Phil Laws is not well, but has the will to put up a good fight. Phil served in the Pacific during WWII flying in the Famous Avenger’s. He served on the U.S.S. Hornet at one time. You can read more about the 319th at www.billsb-26marauder.org.