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November 25, 2011

Oroville Mercury Register
November 26, 1951
Gridleyans Learn Son Wounded in Korea

News that Cpl. Don Johnson was wounded while fighting in Korea has been received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Johnson of Gridley. From letters written by the soldier and the Red Cross, Johnson’s parents learned that he was wounded, in the spine and is now on the way to recovery. He expects to be sent to Japan and then to a hospital in San Francisco. The wound was incurred November 14 near Seoul. Johnson saw General Matthew Ridgeway when he visited his hospital on Thanksgiving Day.

Oroville Mercury Register
December 1, 1951
Artillery Shell Wounds Biggs GI

A Biggs soldier, wounded seriously in Korea when a piece of shrapnel tore into his back, broke a rib and punctured a lung, has informed his parents by mail that he is “getting along okeh” in a hospital in Japan. Pfc. Floyd North, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willard W. North of Biggs, was included on a casualty list released by the Department of Defense today. In a letter received by his parents this week, he stated that he is in a hospital in Osaka, and is able to be up and around. Pfc. North, who has been in the army exactly one year and one week, told his parents he was wounded Nov. 8, just a few days after arriving in Korea. At the time he was wounded, he and two other men had just jumped into a foxhole when artillery shells started landing near them. Two of the men were wounded. Before going into the Army, North attended Biggs schools and worked with his father on their farm.

Oroville Mercury Register
October 12, 1950
Bill O’Kelley Still Carries Ball; This time for Uncle Sam In Korea

Last fall at this time Bill O’Kelly was rambling for big gains on the gridiron in the uniform of the Oroville High Tigers. This year Pfc. William S. O’Kelley RA-1934136 is driving into North Korea in the uniform of the U.S. Army. “I don’t think this war will last too much longer, that is if we can run fast enough to catch up with them and teach them a lesson,” the Oroville soldier said in a letter to his father, Orie O’Kelley or Houston Street. O’Kelley is an assistant machine-gunner with the 31st infantry regiment of the seventh division. He enlisted in the Army in March and left the states on July 6. He has been in action in Korea since July 17 and took part in the recent drive on Seoul. “It isn’t nearly as bad over here as you probably had it pictured,” O’Kelley said in the letter to his father. “Anyway, I had it pictured a lot worse before I got here.” He said the Korean terrain is mostly hilly and mountainous “like Plumas county.” Besides playing football at Oroville High, O’Kelley also lettered in basketball and track. He said he hopes the Tiger football team wins the championship “and I wish twice as much that I could be there playing for them.

Oroville Mercury Register
April 10, 1942
Thermalito Group Holds Soldier Party Army Boys Entertained With Games, Dancing, Music

Thermalito young people, chaperoned by parents of the group, entertained at a ‘Soldiers Party’ last Monday evening, given in the basement rooms of the school. There were about 75 present of whom 18 were soldier boys. The rooms were decked out in red, white and blue, with lots of flowers. Games were played and a short musical program given. June and Mike Wright played their steel guitars and Mrs. Mae Williams gave selections on her accordion. It was discovered that one of the guests was a pianist and another one played the accordion and this afforded the boys, as well as the other people present, much enjoyment Dancing was the main attraction with refreshments served later. The guests, who expressed their appreciation in no uncertain terms, were told that the next time they would be invited to a party that would start with a potluck supper. This met with their approval and all promised to be on hand.

Stu’s Notes: As I’ve said before I find very few stories of men that are wounded in action (W.I.A.). I’ve heard that the rate of wounded to those that were killed in action (K.I.A.), was 10 to 1. If true then 1,000’s of Butte County men were wounded. Young Bill O’Kelley probably about 19 years old did not know that General MacArthur was sending him way up to the Chinese border, deep in enemy territory, surrounded by North Koreans and a million or so Chinese soldiers waiting for him across the North Korean –Chinese border. Soon our brave men would be fighting all the way back to southern, South Korea. Then fighting back to the 38th parallel and further, and to a Truce that still goes on today. Just ask Sam Bebout; he was there.

December 7, 2011, a Wednesday, will be the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. I’ve been told by Art Wells it will be their last get together at the Gridley Fair Grounds Pearl Harbor Memorial. He thinks that the Pearl Harbor Survivors National Society will disband. More on this next week. I am having Turkey again tonight. Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.