This story is from Ronald Hays
Harold V. Hayes at
the age of 86 recently passed away at his home in Redding, California.
Hayes was born in Oroville, and attended local schools graduating
from Oroville Union High School, where he played basketball in 1939.
Following the out break of World war II he was inducted into the
Army in October of 1942. Hayes completed basic training at Camp
Callen near San Diego, California. Following basic training
he was assigned to an anti aircraft training cadre at a camp in
the Mojave Desert. In 1944 as a Sergeant Technician he was
reassigned to Headquarters Company of the 548th Anti
Aircraft Artillery, Automatic Attached Weapons Battalion.
The battalion arrived at La Harve, France aboard the converted luxury
liner, Queen Mary in October of 1944. The battalion was attached
to and became an organizational unit of the 102, “Ozark” Infantry
Division. The battalion’s mission was to destroy German Planes
that were bombing and strafing the foot soldiers. As part
of the Ninth Army Corp the 102 advanced through the Netherlands
and into Germany. The Division led the advance across the
Roar River and ended the war at the Elbe River some fifty miles
from Berlin. At the Elbe River division soldiers met up with
Russian Troops who were advancing on Berlin. The following is from
the division’s recorded history, “The Luftwaffe opened 1945 with
a flourish. New Year’s morning, clear and cloudless, saw FW
190s Me 109 and JU 88s strafing our roads and bombing rear areas.
The 548th AAA AW Battalion actually enjoyed a field day.
They knocked down five FW 190s and one JU 88”. Hayes was credited
with shooting down one of those planes, while manning a dual fifty
caliber machine gun that was mounted on a truck.
(To be Continued)
Stu’s Notes: The following is what
Joan Lee, whose brother PFC. Thomas Van Campen, is missing in Vietnam,
read in 2003 at one of our first ceremonies.
NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY,
By the President of the United States
of America, Ronald Reagan.
“We accept and remember our obligation
to these missing servicemen. Until the POW/MIA issue is resolved,
it will remain a matter of the highest national priority.
On July 20, 1984, the POW/MIA Flag will fly over the White House,
the Departments of State and Defense, and the Veterans’ Administration
as a symbol of our unswerving commitment to achieve the fullest
possible accounting for the servicemen and civilians. By Senate
Joint Resolution 171, the Congress has designated July 20, 1984,
as “National POW/MIA Recognition Day.” On this day, I firmly
believe that we should recognize the special debt all Americans
owe to our fellow citizens who gave up their freedom in the service
of our country and to the families who have undergone a great travail.
NOW THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim Friday, July 20, 1984, as National POW/MIA
Recognition Day. I call on all Americans to join in honoring all
former American prisoners of war those still missing, and their
families who endured the uncommon sacrifices on behalf of this country.
I also call upon State and local officials and private organizations
to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 9th
day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the Two
hundred and eight.”
Signed, Ronald Reagan.
(I’m not sure why the date changed
but it is now the 3 Friday in September)
This will be the 6th year
we have done the POW/MIA honoring ceremony. Our committee
member Chaplin Ted Grainger
emceed the first four. He has been seriously ill for the last
eighteen months and passed away last Friday, September 5th.
A short while ago he told me he needed another operation and hoped
to emcee our upcoming event Sept. 19th. I saw Ted
5 days before he passed away and as he could not talk he gave me
several thumbs up as I spoke about the progress of our Memorial
Park. That’s my last memory of Ted, Thumbs up. He was
with us from the very start, over 7 years ago. He and I spoke
to almost every club in Oroville, some twice. Six members
have now passed away, I say let’s just raise some money and finish
our beautiful “on paper” Memorial. We’ve never had over 100 people
at the POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony. Lets fill the street
this year, as it will be closed. Except for the Boss Customers.
Please come September 19, at 7PM on the steps of Our beautiful Veterans
Memorial Hall with it’s new Flag Pole, Thank you Butte County Supervisors.
Next week I will write a little about Oroville’s Hero, Harold V.