February 3, 2012
From a letter by Dean Andoe:
Stu, I am sending you a photo which was taken in 1943, in the front yard on Elgin Street. We lived about three houses from Palermo Road. This is the only photo that shows my brothers in their Navy uniforms. Garland only had one three day leave during the entire war. The two small flags in the window reflect two family members serving in the war. This was common practice during the war years. There were similar flags in windows all over Oroville. In the back row of the photo are my parents: John Andoe, Bessie Andoe and my brother Garland. My two sisters are in the middle row; Doris and Marie. The front row is me, Dean Andoe age 4, and the oldest, Norman Andoe. All of the family members were born in Missouri except me. Our Family came to California in 1937 and located in Gridley, with relatives on my Mother’s side of the family.
In April, 1939, I was born in Gridley. And we moved to Oroville shortly after my birth and settled in the house on Elgin Street. We were living on Elgin Street in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. On Monday December 8, Norman and Garland went downtown Oroville and joined the Navy. Norman was 19 and Garland was 17. By Friday, December 12, Dad took the boys downtown to the bus station and they were sent to the Naval Training Base in San Diego. Six weeks later, Garland was assigned to duty in Pearl Harbor. Norman was assigned to a troop transport and then served on an aircraft carrier. Both spent the entire war in the Pacific theatre. Garland was assigned to the Submarine U.S.S. Tautog about the time of the battle of Midway and served on the submarine until the war was over. Norman remained in the Navy for 30 years and served in the Korean War on the U.S.S. Essex.
At the end of his career, Norman was an instructor in the weapons department at the US Naval Academy, in Annapolis,, Maryland. His rank was Chief Petty Officer. He retired and moved to Florida, where he died at the age of 75. Garland was discharged from the Navy at the conclusion of the war. He returned to Oroville, took a temporary job with PG&E and retired 38 years later. I do not know the names of the ships Norman served on during WWII. I have included a short article from the Oroville Mercury which identifies the ship he served on during the Korean War. I obtained the information on the submarine Tautog from the Naval Museum at Pearl Harbor. I went through the museum in the late 70’s and got the information from the manager of the museum. Upon reading the information about the Tautog I discovered it was truly a killer ship. As you read the battle record you find it sank more Japanese tonnage in WWII than any other submarine. Garland was a crew member on the Tautog from age 18-22. I cannot imagine the terror he experienced when they were being depth charged. He would not talk about his war experience on the Tautog. That is why I went to the submarine museum and researched the ship he was on. (Signed) Dean
Stu’s Notes: What a week I’ve had, a wealth of information has come my way of Oroville’s Heroes of long ago. First, I received the story of Dean Andoe’s family, including Oroville’s City Councilman Gordon Andoe. Dean’s brothers served their country very well, Brother Garland, having one of the most dangerous of jobs, submarine duty in the Pacific theatre and Norman on Aircraft carriers, a number one target of the Japanese in the war.. The U. S. lost 55 Submarines in the Oceans of the world, most in the Pacific. The best subs although not true in every case were the ones who had an aggressive skipper. Skippers who would take their Sub’s into the most dangerous of places, they took the fight right up to the enemies shores, into their Harbors, I’m sure crew members thought “Where’s the Skipper taking us now?” By the end of the War Japanese shipping was almost wiped out. Can you imagine being under water for days at a time coming up to charge your batteries and set your bearings, always on the look out for enemy planes or ships. That could sink you in a minute. Hours of being depth charged (like in bombed from above) a near miss or a hit and you never come up.
Also as my readers know I’ve been looking for relatives of Cpl. Melvin Rowe, who was lost over Europe when his bomber went down. Well, I met a man walking by our Memorial Site; you don’t walk by me and get away without a Hi. One word led to another and I found out that he new of Clp. Melvin Rowe and that he had a brother and other relatives in Oroville. His brother had a business called Weaver Manufacturing out by the RR tracks west of the Memorial Cemetery; well no luck finding it. The man’s name, I was told, was John Rowe, a brother of Melvin so I went home and looked up Rowe in the phone book and left a few messages for all the Oroville Rowe’s and that night I got a call from Michelle Rowe who had some of the rest of the story soon, when he gets home I hope to talk to Melvin’s brother. Then work on finding a no-name street that needs a name, I like Cpl. Melvin Rowe Street or Avenue. To me a service manor woman has a title, be it Pvt. or Gen. That’s who they were. Many died with that title. They were somebody, Heroes ALL.