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May 4, 2012

“Some Gave All”
Chico Enterprise
March 8, 1944
Sgt. Earl Watson Promoted to Lieut. Posthumously

First Sergeant Earl L. Watson, who was killed in action in the Kwajalein battle on February 4, was promoted posthumously to the rank of first lieutenant by a memoriam order signed by President Roosevelt, the mother, Mrs. Fred Watson was advised today. The notice came in the form of a large engraved commission which read:
“In grateful memory of 1st Lieutenant Earl L. Watson , A.S. No. 20908568 who died in the service of his country in the Central Pacific Area February 4th, 1944. “He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives and through it, he lives…in a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.” Signed, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States.

“Some Gave All”
Chico Record
October 13, 1942
Military Honors Given Wassum At Last Rites

Scores of sorrowing friends assembled this afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the Trinity Methodist Church to pay their last respects to Warren M. Wassum, Chico youth who accidently met his death Thursday afternoon, while stationed at his post near Redding, He was serving with the 184th Infantry. U. S. Army as private first class. Rev. H. H. Allen, of the Trinity Methodist church, officiated at the services. “Home of the Soul” and No Night There, were rendered by Mrs. Ruth Jones, accompanied at the organ by Mrs. Lillian Cook. Interment was in the Chico cemetery. The escort and full military honors were by the 184th Infantry Pallbearers were 1st Sgt. Earl L Watson, Staff Sgt. James R. Willus, Sgt. Robert McDaniels, Sgt. Harold Pentico, Cpl. Mervin French, and Pfc. Anthony Caporlingua. The firing squad consisted of Sgt. Garnett Schulze, Cpl. Russel Woldring, Cpl. Joe Mears, Pfc. K. Pearl, Pfc. Thomas Deeds, Pvt. Edgar Olson and Pvt. Owen Jones.

Continued from last week from: The Feather River Territorial Special Edition 1959 By James Lenhoff
Pioneer Railroad Financiers said it was preposterous! Engineers said it was impossible! But the Argonauts of Oroville did it anyway. Continuation of a speech given by Tom Wells “That day will soon come when, by our energy and patriotism, we will have demonstrated that we are one people, one and indissoluble, now and forever, ONE, against which no storms of trail can prevail, in whatever shape presented.” A round of hardy applause confirmed the appropriateness of Wells’ mighty words. George Crossette then pointed to the director of the brass band, and the grand parade was started with a crash of cymbal and drum. Mayors, supervisors, and senators rode in ebony-polished carriages, waving like good politicians should to the crowd which bid them noisy welcome. They were followed by a carriage loaded with the board of directors of the railroad, and another which carried Dr. T. J. Jenkins, who had been elected president of the railroad. But the man who received the most enthusiastic welcome of all was Andrew J. Binney. Binney had personally superintended the building of the railroad and now would operate the line as its general manager. Through every hardship he had emerged victorious. In many ways he had accomplished the incredible, for it had been only thirty-seven years earlier, in 1827, that the first railroad in the United States was constructed- a narrow gauge, five-mile line out of Boston. Twenty-eight years later, in 1855, the first railroad in California was completed by the Sacramento Valley Railroad Company- a short line which ran from downtown Sacramento to its outskirts.
(continued next week)

Stu’s Notes: Of all the Soldiers I’ve written about this is the 1st one I’ve read of that was given such a jump in rank by our president. I did print a small news clipping August 2005 about Sgt. Watson that said he was a member of Company G of the Chico National Guard before the war. This is all we know of the soldier but I can imagine he went way beyond the call of duty. I hope to find the “rest of the story” some day. Private 1st Class Warren M. Wassum was an American Soldier, he died an American Soldier, not in battle not “over there”, he died near Redding, California and will be honored in stone at our Memorial Park. We decided years ago to do this. I think it is the right thing to do . I don’t think most memorials though out our Country do this, but I don’t know. I remember years ago I put on our Memorial list a young army man who died at the town of Las Plumas (under Lake Oroville now) while on guard duty during WWI. Since then many and I do mean many, have been found and added. I hope my readers that know people in Chico will clip the above and let Chico know we are honoring over 200 Chico young men who “Gave All” for Chico and America and the world. Proof reading the above articles for the 3rd time I discovered a possible relationship between the above two men. One of the Pallbearers for Pvt. 1st Class Warren Wassum, Oct, 1942, was 1st Sgt. Earl L. Watson, Could that be Sgt Earl L. Watson who was killed in the above story almost 2 years later? Stories randomly picked to be side by side by my most wonderful researcher Joan Lee and then me. Strange things do often happen. I would not have noticed this if the stories were not placed side by side, instead of chronological order. Wow I never used that word before.