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March 18, 2011

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
2010-2011 Calendar
March 2, 1965 (46 years ago) Vietnam War Began.
March 3rd, 1931 (80 years ago, “Star Spangled Banner” Made U. S. National Anthem .

Oroville Mercury Register
April 4, 1961
Russian Planes Drop Red Paratroopers In New Laotian Offensive
Vientiane, Laos (UPI) –Soviet transport planes have dropped Communist paratroops near the government supply base of Vang Vieng 65 miles north of Vientiane in a new offensive that threatened to cut off the royal armies to the north, the Laotian government reported today. Defense Minister Gen. Phoumi Nosavan said the operation was similar to one last Friday when paratroops dropped by the Soviet planes forced government forces to retreat from Tha Thom, another key base just south of the Plain of Jars and 85 miles northeast of Vientiane. Phoumi said the paratroops, estimated at 360 soldiers dropped in three flights by four Soviet Ilyushin transports, had not attacked Vang Vieng. But they were operating 20 miles behind the main government forces advancing northward from Vang Vieng.

Reinforcements Rushed
Phoumi said government reinforcements were being rushed to Vang Vieng, site of a major government airbase where supplies are flown in by plane for the forces fighting northward toward Luang Prabang. He said the paratroops were six miles outside Vang Veing. The heaviest fighting was reported at Muong Kassy 20 miles north of Vang Vieng. Thirteen plane loads of paratroopers, described by the royal government as Red Vietminh forces from neighboring Communist North Viet Nam, spearheaded a Red victory at Tha Thom Friday. The paratroop attack might spell an end to immediate hopes for a cease-fire in Laos and the arrival here for a three-nation watchdog commission to police the military truce while East and West met to find a political settlement to the Asian hot spot. Earlier the Laotian government had said it was willing to give up United States aid if Russia cuts off its help to the Communists in Laos and North Viet Nam. (Stu- the Mercury spelled Vietnam using two words in 1961.)

Information Minister Bouavan Norasing said the United States and the Soviet Union should stop aid to the two sides simultaneously. Then a cease fire could go into effect… He made it clear, however that this would depend on Moscow stopping the massive arms aid to both North Viet Nam and the Pathet Lao rebel forces in Laos. Laotian military officials have claimed repeatedly that North Vietnamese are helping the Pathet Lao. Although they have not come up with any direct evidence of this, U. S. military observers believe there is some substance to the claims.

Oroville Mercury Register
March 22, 1961
Local People In Armed Forces
Antarctica- Willard G. Lonsberry, seaman, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Lonsberry of Greenville St., Oroville, is serving aboard the ice breaker USS Staten Island, which is returning to the Antarctic in a last-minute attempt to recover a fuel storage tanker adrift in the Ross Sea. Originally bound for Valpariso, Chile, after six weeks exploration in the South Polar region as part of Operation Deep Freeze 1961, the icebreaker was diverted from its itinerary by Rear Admiral David N. Tyree, USN, commander of the Antarctica naval support forces. The tanker is one of two torn loose from their moorings by bad weather at McMurdo Sound Naval Air Facility while carrying 200,000 gallons of aviation gasoline to be used for next season’s air operations. The Staten Island was scheduled to arrive at McMurdo yesterday. The tanker is now adrift at a point two miles north of the air facility. The polar continent has been in complete isolation since March 12 when normal ship operations were halted for the winter.

Airman 1.c Richard W. Wanous, son of Mrs. M. J. Castillo of Oroville and Richart Wanous of Los Angeles was named airman of the quarter at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Wanous previously was airman of the month while stationed in Iceland. He is a 1957 graduate of Oroville High School.

Army Pvt. Clarence E. Johnson, 18, son of Mrs. Amanda B. Johnson, Woodleaf Star Route, recently was graduated from the 101st Airborne Division Jump School at Fort Campbell, Ky. Johnson received his paratrooper wings after completing three weeks of intensive ground and serial training which included five parachute jumps. He entered the Army in August 1960 and received basic training at Fort Ord. Johnson is a 1959 graduate of Oroville Union High School.

Stu’s Notes: Vietnam pros and cons. Why did we go there? Some say to help the oppressed people that lived there to stop the spread of Communism and the killing of innocent people. If America didn’t step forward to help nobody would. Others say we went there for Oil. Right or wrong we did go there for almost 10 years and 58,000 young Americans died there, over 50 from Butte
County. I’ve not written much about Vietnam. I will write more in the future and try to do more, using articles that were printed in the Oroville Mercury, although I will have to go slow, as I do not have many newspapers from 1960 to the early 70’s when America picked up its marbles (so to speak) and came home. As you see above, first we sent observers.