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May 29, 2009

Oroville Mercury Register
March 12, 1952

Oroville Marine Correspondent Gets Air Strike News First Hand
With 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Korea - Marine Tech. Sgt. Paul F. Shaner, 35, son of Mrs. Betty L. Mills, Route 3, Box 1064, Oroville, qualifies as the Marine Corps’ only airborne combat correspondent. Armed with an aerial camera, the sergeant has gone aloft on several occasions, flying in the belly of an antiquated torpedo bomber, to take photographs of fighter bomber aircraft of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing as they drop bombs, napalm and other explosives upon enemy bunkers and emplacements ahead of Marine troops. “Most of the combat correspondents have been content to stay on the ground,” Shaner, grinningly admits, “but I still have a little of the frustrated tail gunner in me, I guess.” During World War II, the sergeant completed 38 missions and was awarded two Air Medals as a tail gunner on a B-25 in the Pacific. A career Leatherneck, he has completed 14 missions over Red territory in the Korean Conflict. On two occasions, the plane in which he has flown has been badly shot up. Once, the pilot lost most of the plastic out of his canopy when enemy anti-aircraft blasted nearby. Another time, Red small arms fire left ventilations in the small compartment from which Shaner was shooting pictures with the huge aerial camera. “If the pictures were a little fuzzy that day, it’s because I couldn’t hold the camera still.” he admits “It was cold and I was more than a little worried.” Number one thrill of the current war for Shaner was filming the biggest air strike of the war. The strike, led by Maj. Gen. Christian F. Schilt, commanding general, consisted of 80-odd planes that hurled themselves at an enemy ridge ahead of Marine ground troops. “Those planes started at the bottom of the ridge and walked their bombs and explosives right up the side. When the smoke had cleared away, it looked as though someone had turned a self respecting mountain into a huge sand pile,” Shaner said. Shaner’s wife, Ruby, and two sons, Gregory, 6 and Gary, 2 live in Creston, Iowa

OMR May 30, 1956
Oroville Joins Nation In Memorial Day Observances Honoring War Dead
Several hundred persons stood in silence on the Upper Thermalito bridge across the Feather River this morning while wreaths and garlands were drooped in the stream in memorial services honoring the area’s war dead. Led by a color guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars encampment, the veterans of this country’s wars of the past strode onto the span in the uniforms they once wore in the service of their country. They were followed by representatives of veteran’s auxiliaries, civic organizations, the Thermalito Drum and Bugle Corps and children from the Oroville elementary schools each bearing a small American Flag presented to them by the W. T. Sherman Woman’s Relief Corps at the start of the parade.

Stu’s Notes: Oroville Marine? The Mercury said so; well in those days he was more like a Marine of the world always ready to go where he was needed, for almost 30 years. He joined the Marines December 7, 1941, on his birthday. His mother, Betty Mills and brother’s Walter and Stanley Shaner lived in Oroville after WWII, along with my mother, Martha, brother Larry and sister’s Peggy, Kathy and Betty. Paul did visit here often, but for many years his home was with his Marines and his above mentioned family in various places. The above article didn’t mention one Mission when his B-25 went down in some far off South Pacific Bay. He jumped into the life raft with out getting wet; lucky as he probably was one of the few Marines who couldn’t swim. As a young boy I always enjoyed his visits and the stories he would tell. After Korea he had one more war to go to, Vietnam, by now as a top of the line Master Sgt. (as high as an enlisted Marine could go) he ran a TV. Station for “his Marines:. When asked why he didn’t go higher in rank he said “Why? I’m at the top now, if I become a Lt. I would be at the bottom.” Our Marine passed away about a year and a half ago at the age of 93. An American Hero. A most wonderful bunch of Oroville people worked so hard to put on Oroville’s Memorial Day services. At the Memorial Park Cemetery the Flags looked so good. Many got up at 4AM to put up the Flags. We want to thank the Feather Fall Casino for the Shuttle service. Over 100 people put on a most patriotic service as about 100 [people watched. The ceremony at the green bridge, our 3rd annual, put on by the Oroville Veterans Memorial Park Committee event went well. It was chaired by Vene Thompson and Sherry Morehouse. As many years in the past the Thermalito Schools Band, now Nelson Avenue, played well. I will have the names of the students next week. Thank you to all that participated and attended these events.