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October 2, 2009

Oroville Mercury Register
March 1959
New Enlistee- Daryl Argie Autrey, son of Mrs. Eva L. Autrey, Rt. 5, Box 5227, Oroville, has enlisted in the U. S. Navy. He was active in the young people’s group at First Baptist Church and in the high school band here. He will be assigned to trade school in the aviation branch of the navy after completing nine weeks recruit training.

Chico Enterprise Record
November 5, 1945 - By Gene Davis
Myers Father, Son Saga In Japanese Prison Camp Not Soothing Bedtime Story
The Myers father and son saga covering 44 months in Japanese prisons of war does not sound like a southing bedtime story. Yet Charles Myers, 49, and his son Leroy, 25, have related only some of the milder details of their imprisonment. Continued from last week.

Although the prisoners were denied contact with anyone except their prison guards, they were ingenious enough to keep informed about the trend of the war. They watched and listened to the Japanese 24 hours a day and learned a great deal this way. The first Red Cross packages were distributed to the prisoners at Christmas in 1943. There was one package to every six men and the packages were well looted. In August 1944 additional well looted Red Cross packages were given out – one to every 11 men. In August 1945 a large stock of Red Cross vitamin pills and first aid material suddenly materialized and on August 14, 1945 the beatings suddenly stopped. The Americans felt sure the war was over but they were too fearful to celebrate. The Japanese staff was still on guard but were suspiciously civil. On the 18th the prisoners were called to the parade ground shortly after their noon meal. The Japanese commander announced the Japanese had surrendered to the United States and that the Americans were free to leave the prison compound. He also expressed the hope the Americans would be friends to the vanquished Nips. The Americans enjoyed the freedom of driving around Kyushu until the Japanese advised them American troops had landed at Konoye. The released prisoners traveled to Konoye by train and from Konoye to Okinawa and Manila the journey was made by air. They were issued complete GI outfits for their trip home.

When asked how they felt about allowing the Japanese to return to the Pacific Coast, Charles Myers stated he could never feel good about it. “I kept my sanity during all those months in prison camps by making a thorough study of the Japanese character. We saw them in their natural light-free from pretenses. They considered the American civilian construction workers in the same light as their own coolie war workers. In other words we were lower than dogs and they treated us just that way. When they knew the war was lost they couldn’t bow and smile often enough. Even before the surrender was announced the Japanese told us they were going to give up in this war and start preparing for the next one. That was the national idea in Japan. If America had lost the war we would all become acquainted with the real character of the Japanese. “We should make sure the Japanese can not plan another war by seeing to it they we have a strong and a permanent army of occupation in Japan. Then if we would keep the spies off the Pacific Coast we could feel fairly safe.”

The Myers father and son were able to remain together during their entire internment. Upon arriving back in Chico they made one more trip together to the selective service office where they both registered for the draft. This week the Myers family are really enjoying a reunion. With Charles Myers in his Pleasant Valley home are all of his children including Leroy, Captain Harold Myers-home from 70 missions as a pilot in Italy; J. Wesley Myers of Pleasant Valley, Mrs. Reynolds of Chico and V. Myers, who attends the Pleasant Valley school.

Stu’s Notes: I printed the above letter word for word changing only the word Japanese, it might seem quite harsh but it is history and history should not be changed. I will say it was found out that almost all the Japanese on the west coast were true Americans and very loyal to America. Many of the young men fighting for their country in Europe, as the famous 442 Army Division, a most highly decorated outfit, many died and a few of these young Japanese men were from the Oroville area. My brother and I were classmates of Doug and Edmond Tokuno. Class of 1956 and 1958. They had relatives that fought “Over There”. See Daryl’s Archives for Sgt. Tim T. Tokuno. Daryl Autrey is very actively involved in our Veterans Memorial Park, without Daryl we would not have the most wonderful, an unbelievable web site. All of the stories of Oroville and Butte Counties Veterans that I have written for over 7 years now are there forever. The index he has created, printed out is now over 80 pages, about 400 pages of stories. Sounds like a book, maybe someday, hey, Daryl. Daryl served his country well and then as a civilian at Lawrence Livermore lab continued on.