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February 10, 2012

Oroville Mercury Register
July 1944
Jerry Weiss Wins Coveted Citation For Gallantry

U.S. Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla – Jerry M. Weiss, an Aviation Ordnance man 2nd Class, whose permanent home address is 3rd Avenue, Oroville, Calif., to day received the presidential citation and ribbon bar for the First Marine Division Reinforced. Said the citation; “On August 7-9, 1942 (this division) demonstrated outstanding gallantry and determination in successfully executing forced landing assaults against a number of strongly defended Japanese positions on Tulagi, Gavutu, Tanamabogo, Florida, and Guadalcanal…the courage and determination displayed in these operations were of an inspiring order.” The citation also states that this division held these important strategic positions without assistance until December 9. This was the historic occupation of Guadalcanal, which marked the turning point in the general Japanese advance toward Australia. Ordnance man-Gunner Weiss, at present attached to this station’s aviation training department, was presented the unit award at a formal ceremony by the commanding officer, Capt. L. E. French. –Local stories concerning Jerry Weiss have spelled his name “Wise”. Under that spelling, he attended the local high school, leaving it in 1938 after three years to join the navy. In April, 1943, the Mercury carried a story about Wise, who had returned home on leave from south Pacific fighting. It told how he had been blown from his fox hole by a Japanese bomb.

Oroville Mercury Register
July 1944
Pilot Awarded Purple Heart

Richvale- Mrs. G. M. Geiger has received word from her husband Lt. Geiger, saying he has been wounded in action and has been presented with the Purple Heart. He pilots a B-24 with an air unit that has headquarters in Italy. He has been in Europe several months.
Oroville Mercury Register 1943 Sale of the Earl Mills 100-acre ranch one-half mile west of Palermo to Col. .Joseph A. Rogers, USA Retired, and famous World War I hero, of Berkeley, has been completed by A. M. Hengy, Oroville real estate broker. Col. Rogers, retired in 1938 from active army service due to physical disabilities, is stated to have made the Butte county land investment in the post-war interests of his children. A son, Lt. Com. R. S. Rogers, is serving in the Naval Air Corps and recently became a nationally known figure when an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to him for air bravery became the subject for a Saturday Evening Post article on Sept. 25. A son-in-law, Lt. Com. Raymond Shile is also serving in the U. S. Navy. Col. Rogers achieved renown in World War I for conspicuous service in action on the western front. During the worst days of the Argonne battles, he took over command of the 124th Field Artillery when his superior officer was wounded, the official personnel was decimated, and huge causalities swept his outfit. He came out of World War I with a distinguished service medal, Silver Star and three oak-leaf clusters. His enforced retirement due to disabilities at Fort Bragg, N. C. in 1938 was regretted by officers and men alike of his division. The Palermo ranch seller, Mills, is horticultural commissioner for Humboldt County and served in the same capacity for Butte county for several years. The property is planned in part to pears, prunes and olives.

Stu’s Notes: I’ve written a little bit before of Jerry Weiss, but these are the first stories about him being in combat. I recently acquired some stories from Lucy Sperlin who oversees the Butte County Historical Society Museum and Archives. A large box of Iwo Jima Memorabilia was donated by Cyndi Stram, whose father, P.H.M. 3/c Lawrence H. Stram, was wounded on Iwo Jima, saved for years. I’ve written of Lawrence. Stram before and now I have more of his story. Jerry Weiss was raised by Dave Dry, on Third Avenue, Oroville in 1948 he was appointed a deputy sheriff by Sheriff Forword. Jerry served six years in the navy, 30 months overseas and has a daughter 2 ½ years old. Where is she now? Her father was quite a Hero the fighting around Guadalcanal was fierce. The Japanese wanted to take Australia and the only thing in their way was some very Brave Americans who changed their mind. They were young men from all over America, fighting the Japanese who were veterans of three years of War by 1942 and they were used to winning. Well that would soon end.
 Well I wonder, I always wonder, if Col. Joseph A. Rogers’s 100 acre ranch one half mile west of Palermo is still in the family and if the pears, prunes and olives still survive. I do know as an old prune picker that prune tree’s have short lives but Olives live for hundreds of years.

The Gold Star’s are going up around town, so look at the street signs if you see one you win. Although there are no prizes, just let me know what you think of them. I thought long how to make those signs tell their story and I think Gold Stars do it well, without changing hundreds of addresses.