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January 15, 2010

Oroville Mercury Register
September 19, 1944

“Some Gave All”

Chico Lieutenant Killed In Action
The name of 2nd Lt. James L. Kemp of Chico was included today in a war department list of 2460 American soldiers killed in action. He met death in the Mediterranean war theatre. He is the son of Mrs. C. O. Kemp of Chico. (Stu- I hope to find more in the E.R about this man.)

Ramsey On Visit After Battle Duty
Tech. Sgt. Chet Ramsey, former Butte county game warden, visited in Oroville Saturday while on leave from marine corps duty. Ramsey, in the service since August, 1942, wears a presidential citation bar for service at Kwajalein and South Pacific and American Defense ribbons with three battle stars. Before coming here, Ramsey visited his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. T. Ramsey of Sacramento.

Leonard Helps Defeat Japanese In Fight For Burma Air Strip
Flown Over Mountains With Reinforcements
Serving On Merrill’s Marauders Staff
Capt, Raymond Leonard, who has flown with 20 of his men over a wild Indian mountain range to the Myitkina air strip in time to help defeat the Japanese there, has been assigned permanently to a regimental staff of Merrill’s Marauders, and is living with his colonel. Aside from having mild cases of malaria and dysentery, “Bud” is O. K., he writes his mother, Mrs. Raymond A. Leonard. Writing of the Myitkina battle, Leonard States; “Well we were completely surrounded by Japanese: there were no roads into where we were and every single piece of food, ammunition and equipment that we had was flown into us and most of it was dropped by parachute. We fought all during the battle from almost the beginning to the end and as you have doubtless read it was some of the bitterest fighting of the whole war.”Leonard commanded a rifle company in the front line during the fight and when it was over had more hours of actual combat to his credit than any other company commander. “The good Lord was really with me on a number of occasions, and believe me I have great confidence in Him,” the young captain wrote. As operations officer on the regimental staff, Leonard handles about 3,000 men and officers under the colonel’s direction. Writing of his flight into Burma, Leonard says; “It was the wildest trip I ever made in an airplane. The mountains were towering, some of them 15,000 feet high . The weather was most unpredictable. Half of the time were in clouds and couldn’t even see the wing-tips. Then all of a sudden we’d get a little break in the clouds and there would be mountains on the right., mountains on the left, and mountains all around.” Leonard and the others hadn’t tasted fresh meat for a long time, so the Oroville boy went out and shot himself a water buffalo. He referred to the meat as “very tough.” He hopes to shoot a tiger before he leaves the jungle. Where he has been located since the Myitkina battle there is a large river. “It is wonderful swimming with lots of fish, and there are all kinds of game – elephants, tiger, buffalo, wild pig and deer. The only trouble is that I would like to see a town, even it it’s just a little one, with a restaurant, a bar and a theatre, plus some electric lights….I probably won’t get out of the jungle for six or seven more months.

Pvt. Damon Home On Ten-Day Leave
Pvt. E. M. (Bill) Damon of the army signal corps is in Oroville on 10- day furlough after completing training at Camp Kohler and Davis. Damon, son of Mr. and Mrs. U. M. Damon, has been in the service for seven months. He formerly operated a teletype at Damon’s Sport Shop. He will leave at the end of the week for Fort Monmouth, N. J., where he will continue radio training.

Stu’s Notes: My very good friend Nick Krpan has passed away, he was a soldier. He fought all the way from France into Germany. He was a charter member of the Men Who Build Oroville Dam and also The Oroville Veterans Memorial Park for All of Butte County. He was also a 55 plus member of Labor’s Local 185, Sacramento, and the VFW and American Legion and much more. Best of all he was my friend, we talked endlessly for many years about what he did in the War and life in general. For many years we had lunch every week at Cassidy’s, his favorite place and he always liked his free Veterans Day Meal at Papacito’s. Thank you Papacito’s. He leaves in Oroville his very good friend Doris Teague who watched over him for years and her Family, Wayne and Arvada Teague and family. He leaves his Sister Louise Krpan and Niece & nephew Carole Jean & Les in Tucson, AZ. Also family in Davis and Danville. I wrote in this column over the years about Nick, please go to our most wonderful web site and read all about him. Thanks again Daryl, our webmaster.

Both Raymond Leonard and Chet Ramsey returned home to Oroville and served the Community well. They both were in the thick of the fighting. Check our Web site for more of their stories.