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December 5, 2008

Biggs-Gridley-The News
July 7, 1944
(Continued from last week)
Honor Roll Dedicated with Military Rites
At the request of Mayor Stohr, Mayor Hinaman introduced the General who gave the dedicatory address and presented the Purple Heart to Mrs. Hammer. Leslie Charles Hammer was one of the heroes of Bataan and Corregidor- heroes who in the words of General MacArthur “went out fighting to the end of their flickering forlorn hope.” “Private First Class Hammer volunteered for service in the United States army April 2, 1941, and was serving with the 31st Infantry in the Philippines when the Japanese struck. For 120 days he and the other men of Bataan fought against the Nipponese, until exhausted by short rations and disease, cut off from supplies and reinforcements, they were finally overwhelmed on April 9, 1942, by numerically superior forces. Whether Private Hammer was among those who were able to get to Corregidor for the final stand in the Philippines, we do not know. He was reported missing in action as of May 6, 1942, the day Corregidor fell. During those days of Bataan and Corregidor, our men accomplished much. History will picture just how much. Battling against hopeless odds, they fought one of the great delaying actions of this war. I might say one of the greatest delaying actions of all time. Their bravery upset the time table of Japanese conquest, and enabled the democracies to gather strength to halt the tide of the seemingly invincible progress of the armies of Japan It is said that Australia was saved by the battles of the Coral Sea, Guadalcanal and New Guinea. But I say to you that first of all it was saved by the men of Bataan and Corregidor, for it was their sacrifices which gave us the time to prepare for Coral Sea, Guadalcanal and New Guinea, and it proved to the world that our soldiers were second to none.”.

Missing In Action Over Europe
Lt. Anthon Pryde reported missing in action over Europe Mrs. Dorothy Pryde, his wife was notified early this week by the war department, Pryde arrived in Italy over a month ago and went into immediate action flying B-17’s. In his last letter he had made some 15 missions. Pryde is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Pryde and is a graduate of Biggs union high school. He enlisted in the air corps over a year ago.

Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Brown, Monday, received a telegram from the war department advising them that their son, First Lt. Lloyd Brown is missing in action in France as of August 1st. Lt. Brown’s last letter to his parents was dated July 22nd and was sent from somewhere in the front battle lines in France. Lt. Brown has had five years in service, a year with the National Guard and four years with the infantry. A brother, Cecil, is a pilot in the AAF. He is a graduate of Gridley high school.

Stu’s Notes: Sadly I must report that Howard Gregg has passed away this week. Howard served in the U.S. Army 1951-1958, a Veteran of the Korean War; some who were never there called it a conflict and various other meaningless names, but for those who were there it was a WAR. And to this day it has never been officially ended. Americans have died there since the truce was declared in 1953. Howard was well known in Oroville. He was a very civic minded person and not afraid to voice his opinions. For many years he had a radio show for the Veterans, although he would let non veterans on his show if we talked about the Men and Women he loved. Those who served their country in the United States Armed Forces. He also served on our Veterans Memorial Committee, until his health gave out. He truly wanted to see the Memorial built.

Pearl Harbor Day is this Sunday, where a small group of us will gather in the middle of the Butte County Fairgrounds at the Pearl Harbor remembrance Flag pole. This Honoring Ceremony is put on by the Pearl Harbor Survivors of Butte County. It was exactly 9:55am (7:55am) Hawaii) December 7, 1941 when the first bullet took the life of a young Gridley – Biggs, Farm boy, Seaman Warren Harrell (Cotton) McCutcheon, in the next few hours some 2,400 service men and women would die, along with some civilians. America was now in a World War. 1100 young Navy men died on the Battle ship Arizona. This event is open to the public. Please come and remember with us, 9:55AM, Gridley, California. I have always been amazed of how long our men held out at Bataan and Corregidor. I am proud to know of one man that was there, Oroville and Pennsylvania’s and America’s Hero, Bob Wolfersberger.