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October 8, 2010
Oroville Mercury
August 13, 1945
Chico Major Dies In Ship Sinking
Chico—Major Kenneth O’Brien, prisoner of war in a Japanese camp in the Philippines since the fall of Bataan, was lost at sea on December 15, 1944, as a result of the bombing and sinking of the enemy prison ship in the Subic Sea, according to a War Department release by his sister Mrs. C.C. Rogers of this city. A veteran of the First World War O’Brien was called into service again before this country went to war, as he was a captain in the reserves at that time. In the tragic Death March of December, 1941, O’Brien was marched from Bataan to Manila and embarked from there last December with about 1500 other Americans for Japanese Prisons.

August 28, 1945
Pfc. Quenton Buck Gets Purple Heart
—A purple Heart Medal has been awarded Pfc. Quenton Buck who was wounded on Okinawa. His mother, Mrs. Irene Buck, received the medal from her son and the same day received notification from the War Department that he had recovered sufficiently to return to his company for further assignment. He was treated for his injuries at an army hospital on Saipan. Private Buck is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Buck, Route 2, and has been in the service since June, 1944.

Bruno Giovannoni Home on 30-day Furlough
Sgt. Bruno Giovannoni, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carlo Giovannoni, is in Oroville on furlough from the 9th Air Force. This is his first visit here in two years and he says he sees “quite a change in the old town.” He has just returned from nineteen and a half months overseas duty with his unit. While he was in Europe he was stationed for nine months near Cambridge in England. In September after D-Day his company moved to within fifteen miles from Paris where they stayed for four months before going to Laon, France. Their next location was to be Frankfort but the war ended the day before they were to move. September 5, Sgt. Giovannoni will report to Camp Beale for further assignment, His wife, the former Alma Rofolo, makes her home with his parents during his absence.

Stu’s Notes: The Japanese did not mark their ships as P.O.W. ships (prisoner or war) therefore when our submarines and Airplanes saw a Japanese ship they tried there best to sink it. Sadly, not knowing American, British and others were locked in the holes deep down in the ship and few escaped when these ships went down. I have heard of a few cases where the men cheered when they heard the American Planes attacking them. I’ve used quit a few Mercury stories of Bruno Giovannoni in the past,Thank you Bud Bolt. Recently Bud called me as he needed Information about our Memorial as he is working on a project to honor Veterans on our Tile memorial wall open to all of Americas veterans who served our country. So, Last Tuesday I took in the stuff he needed and met two of Butte counties veterans Bob Yocum Korea War and Don Rystrom WWII. Both said they didn’t do much, well they did they served their country. And would have, might have, could have died in doing so, lucky for America they lived. When I mentioned about the men who died training at Chico and Oroville army air bases Don really caught my interest when as a young rice Farmer in the Richvale area he knew of three Plane Crashes within about 2 miles of Richvale and he would show me the sites right then so off we went. Next week I will let my readers know what Don remembered. This is very important to me and I hope others think that way. These young men who came here and flew our skies are just as much a hero as those who died over seas. They died trying their best to be Army Air Corp pilots, and go to war. We must not ever forget that. I must say were they died today Oct 5 2010 is a thing of beauty, rice as far as the eye can see, golden grains heading out and different shades of greens of the later plantings with the Buttes in all their glory to the south our Coast range to the west, looking north on a very clear day I have seen Mount Shasta from out there and to the east our great Sierra-Nevada Mountains and Mt. Lassen. I could sit there all day and look. Oh I guess I did years ago sitting out there waiting for a duck or a goose not knowing that those young men died not far from where I sat. Thank you Don.

Oh, by the way yesterday October 7 2010, 50 years ago I started as an apprentice Ironworker on the Oroville Dam R.R. Relocation. Read more about my dam experiences in my history columns. Seventy years ago Monday, October 4
th I was born. Happy Birthday to me!