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October 22, 2010
Thank you Peggy Adamson of the Butte County Historical Society for reminding me of the speech by Barbara Hennigan talking last Sunday at the Chico Air Museum about Chico’s early pioneer in aviation Thaddous Kerns. I am a member of that relatively new wonderful place of aviation history and especially to me the history of Chico Army Air Field. Although Daryl Autrey and I had already found a lot of history of the young men who died training out of there more was to be found out that day. In their archives was a list of some of the pilots that flew out of there during WWII. The list contained four names we did not have that died flying our skies. The search goes on. I cannot say enough about this young museum if you are interested in the history of aviation you must see it and perhaps join up. I think this is a start of something big in our north state. What they have done out there in a very short time is unbelievable. Chico Air Museum 170 Convair Avenue Chico, CA 95973 located close to the control tower at the Chico airport. You heard it first in this column I’ve long thought there should be an aviation Smithsonian on the west coast actually one in Southern California and one up here in the north state maybe at Chico airport, why not? It’s long overdue, why should the east coast have such a monopoly on so much of our history. I’ve heard they only display 10% of what they have.

A few years ago Sad Sack cartoon drawings were found in a county building here in Oroville right away some wanted to send it to D.C. but some of us including Bob Beeler, County Supervisor at the time said that we wanted to keep it here so, for a while not much happened, then Stan Starky from my OHS class of 1958 took up the cause to keep it here. Well I talked to him recently and he said it’s still here. They were drawn by a soldier at Beale Army Base, no planes then just soldiers and tanks, he later become a famous cartoonist, I’m still learning the rest of the story. Hopefully Stan can give me an update.

You may not know that General Chuck Yeager Trained a short while in Oroville, met a young Oroville high school grad. I think at one of the many dances put on by Oroville for the soldiers from our Army Airdrome, Chico Army Air Field and Beal Army Base about 1943. Then he went to fight in Europe and flew a P-51 Mustang, he shot down five German planes in one day and then was shot down but escaped and had a total of 11.5 kills for the war. After the war he came to Oroville and Married his sweetheart Glennis Dickhouse as many know he named all of his planes after her, the most famous one, the X-1 which flew faster than the speed of sound. Well as a few P-47 pilots (rivals as to which plane was better the P-47 or P-51) would argue they could dive faster than the speed of sound. They could dive better than many planes and may have broke the sound barrier but the X-1 was the first to do it in level flight. Oh well, the plane flown on the west coast went to and hangs high in the Smithsonian. I know I’ve been there twice. Let’s bring it back to California maybe to Northern California where the General lives.

Chico Record – June 14, 1942
Howard Gould Dies in Flames with Carrier Lexington
– County Auditor D.W. Cooper was notified yesterday that Howard Gould deputy auditor died when the flames ravished carrier Lexington sank in the battle of Coral Sea, May 6. The 25-year-old county employee, who joined the nation’s fighting force October 1, was one of the crews eight per cent of the battle scarred ship who failed to escape the flame and horror of the sinking ship. Cooper was notified of the tragedy by Gould’s father Harry Gould of Colfax, who had been informed of his son’s death by the Naval department.

Chico Record – June 17, 1942
Supervisors Honor Gould’s Memory
—Butte County late Monday honored the memory of Howard S. Gould. Former chief deputy county auditor, the first Butte County employee killed in the second World War. Referring to Gould’s death in the sinking of the aircraft carrier Lexington in the Battle of the Coral Sea the supervisors adopted a resolution that read, in part: “Prior to his enlistment in the U.S. Navy, he was the chief deputy auditor of the County of Butte, and in such capacity rendered valuable service to the County of Butte. In the passing of Howard S. Gould the officers and employees of the County of Butte have lost a true friend and a valued associate, and this country and the County of Butte have been deprived of a capable and efficient worker whose loss is inestimable.” The resolution was ordered included in the official board minutes and copies are to be sent to members of the U.S. Navy man’s family. When the board adjourned until Friday, the order was made out of respect for Gould’s memory.

Stu Notes: Never too late, as Butte
County is our lead agency on our memorial Howard S. Gould’s name will be set in stone. I’m not sure if other WWII Butte County men died in the War. Things happened fast back then, Howard Gould died within 7 months of enlisting and within a little over 4 months of the Attack on Pearl Harbor that started it, which leads me to say, meet us few at the Pearl Harbor Memorial at the Gridley Fairgrounds only 6 weeks away.