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January 25, 2008

Fall of 2007, James Crow’s Story provided by his Oroville nephew, Eric L. Zancanella
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Transportation Corps, U. S. Army Reserves


James Arnold Crow, son of Lee and Annie Crow of Thermalito, made the Navy a twenty-year career, serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the Korean War, and later as a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman in the Vietnam War. Three of his four older brothers served in WWII’s Pacific Theater, one a Marine, and two Sailors. Born in Texhoma, Oklahoma, 19 October 1931, James and the Crow family moved from Oklahoma to Colorado, then they moved to California, San Francisco Bay Area, for war work in 1943. James lived in Richmond, then Grass Valley, and was the last at home before coming to Thermalito in 1946, where he started high school and got involved in Scouting, earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Lee Crow, James’ father, became the Thermalito Scout Master. The Crow’s lived on 10th Street in Thermalito, and later on the corner of Nelson Avenue and Del Oro. With his parents’ blessing, James joined the Navy a week after he turned 17 in 1948. He became a Hospital Corpsman because the Navy saw that he had worked in a hospital one summer pushing food carts.
(To be continued)

Oroville Mercury Register January 9, 1953
Gold Star Mothers Install Officers
Installation of officers was the highlight of the Gold Star Mothers program when they held their meeting Wednesday evening at the Memorial Hall. Those installed were; Gertrude Morningstar, president; Bertha King, vice president; Mary Jensen, second vice president; Irma Tieck chaplain; Irene Rowe, treasurer; Marguerite Jacobs, color bearer; Mary Karr, historian. To be installed at a later date will be Marble Henley, secretary and Zema Worthy, sergeant at arms. Special guests of the meeting were Georgia Smith, Bess Phillips and Lorraine Ellis. Refreshments were served by Mrs. Morningstar and Mrs. Henley.

Oroville Mercury Register January 15, 1953
Editorial by Dan L. Beebe
Inventions Needed Give US Radio Signals On Wrecks and the Pilot’s Opinion
Several improvements should be made in service and commercial aircraft to make possible their quick location following a crash and to record in indestructible form the reasons for it as noted by the pilot. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities to do this. The surprising thing is that it has not been accomplished already. The crash nearby did not offer the location problem, but judging from the pictures published the wreckage is such that the teams of experts studying it will not be able to establish the cause of the craft’s failure. If there had been on board an indestructible log of the flight, with every variation from the normal recorded as it appeared we would have at least the opinion of the commanding officer as to what caused the failure. We have thought for some time the makers of airplanes should invent a signal that would continue to send out radio impulses following a crash giving the approximate location of the plane. Such a device probably would operate all the time the plane was in the air and would serve as a valuable aid to those wishing to chart its flight. I would be silenced, of course, if an enemy were involved. With such a radio signal continuing after the crash many a life would be saved and we would be spared the harrowing searches over great areas of rugged country. Many would like to know in the pilot’s opinion, why the B-50 Super Fortress that crashed west of Gridley, was not able to maintain altitude. With four motors, at least two must have gone out together, or possibly there was some trouble with the other equipment.

Stu’s Notes: I recently talked to John Cowan for about an hour. He was the manager of Grey Lodge Wildlife Refuge for 33 years and was very instrumental in the building and growth of Butte College. I told him that I wrote about the B-50 crash that he witnessed out by Grey Lodge. He had not read my story but repeated to me almost word for word of what he saw. He and his wife still live in Butte County. He is 91 and still remembers that sad day very well. He was very thankful for what we are doing to honor men such as these. When I told my partner Co-Chair, Bill Connelly about this story, he found on the internet all about the B 50 Super Fortress. Bill was born in 1953 and years later worked around the Super Fortress’s as a member of the U. S. Air force. He worked with B 52’s, they were born along with Bill in the early 50’s and like Bill are still Flying high. You can see a B50 on Display out doors at Castle Air Museum in Atwater, CA.

As many of my readers know “Gold Star Mother’s” lost a son or daughter in the service of our Country. They also have Gold Star Wives. I have been informed by a friend, Pat Foster. She lost her husband while in Service of our Country. Was Dan Beebe, one of the Fathers of the Black Box in Airplanes? I feel it an honor to have known the Crow and Zancanella Family and then Eric Zancanella for this story which I will do a little at a time like we did Bob Brook’s story.