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July 20, 2012

Oroville Mercury Register
September 27, 1941
Find Flier’s Body In Plane Wreckage
Missing Training Ship Found In Wilds Of North Butte; One Cadet Bails Out Safely
Chico- (Special)- Ground crews searching for the missing Mather Field cadet plane found the wreckage shortly before noon today near the Butte-Tehama county line and in it the body of Lt. John Driscoll who perished when the plane fell late yesterday. The plane had not burned after having crashed when the wings crumpled while the two cadets were on a training flight. Ground searchers signaled to Lt. Beard of Mather they had reached the spot and Beard returned here to send an ambulance to get the body of the pilot. The ship was found six miles northeast of the Meridian turnoff from Highway 99E between Pine Creek and Rock Creek.

Ground crews from Mather Field, Sacramento went into the hills 10 miles northeast of Chico today to determine if an aviation cadet had perished in the crash of an army training plane late yesterday. The missing man was Cadet John L. Driscoll, Jr., 23, Boise, Ida. His companion on the cross-country flight, 2nd Lieut. J. H. Carter, 25, Anderson, D. C., parachuted to safety. The plane burned after crashing Carter, dazed by his experience, was taken to Mather Field for treatment while authorities sought to learn the cause of the crash. It was believed that Carter dropped a pencil, unfastened his safety belt to pick it up and was thrown out of the cockpit. James E. Leonard, manager of the Chico airport, said Carter told him he had dropped the pencil, then felt a terrific wrench at his body as he was hurled out. His next recollection, Leonard quoted the pilot, was floating earthward in his parachute. What appeared to be a wing of the plane was hurtling earthward. Leonard said that from the air the plane appeared to be wrecked and burned. Both wings had been tore off, there was no sign of life around the wreckage, leading to the belief Driscoll had perished. However, Mather Field authorities still held to the slim hope Driscoll had managed to take to his chute and might be lying injured near the wreckage. Last night Constable Harry Allen took Major Brown, who was directing the search, to a spot on the Cohasset Road which he believed to be nearest the site of the crash. By a coincidence, about 34 planes from Moffett Field were here for last night’s football game, and many of these were pressed into the search. According to residents of the Cohasset district, the plane apparently went down at a point somewhere near the Morrison place on the Cohasset Road, or northeast of the old CCC campsite, near where Lt. Carter emerged from the road. Mather Field officials were of the opinion that the plane may have glided some distance from the point where Lieut. Carter alighted after his parachute jump, thus making the search harder. Carter said that he did not see the plane itself after he had taken to his ‘chute.

Oroville Mercury Register
September 27, 1941

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Cool and Comfortable Sunday-Monday
Cont. from 2:00 Feature At 2:00-4:33-7:06-9:39 Wings To The Wind…Eyes to the Skies! Flying high, wide and handsome! DIVE BOMBER, Starring Errol Flynn, Fred MacMurray with Ralph Bellamy, Alexis Smith . Fred MacMurray, Errol Flynn and Ralph Bellamy watch a comrade in a test maneuver in “Dive Bomber.” Starred with these three is Alexis Smith, Flynn and MacMurray head a company of 150 film makers who went to the naval air base, San Diego, to film the U. S. navy air thriller “Dive Bomber,” playing Sunday and Monday at the State Theatre the film had full government approval, and shows advanced naval attack and defense tactics, “Dive Bomber” was filmed in Technicolor.

Stu’s Notes: So many young men died in the skies of Butte and surrounding counties, it’s hard to believe how “Forgotten” they became. How did I find this story, well going through our new room which is full of boxes of old Oroville Mercury’s and boxes of material I’ve amassed in the 11 years since starting research for these articles and POW and MIA Ceremony’s, stuff and old motor cycle, I stumbled over something, knocked a box of old Mercury’s over and out flew a Mercury with the above story on the front page. It landed on the top of the heap. There was the story of this long forgotten man. Lt. John Driscoll. They were so young, so brave to flying those old planes. But fly they did, and die, they did all over America, Heroes all. Lt. John Driscoll had a family somewhere, I hope someday his family knows we have “Not Forgotten” him in Oroville. The more I write this story the sadder I get, but I think that it is good, we should be sad. I think it helps us reflect on what it takes to keep the World a safe place to live, someday maybe.
September 27, 1941, Europe is ablaze in war, China is overrun by the Japanese, America is so close to war it’s not funny. The Japanese are harassing our ships in the south Pacific, I’ve been told, Americans are already dying by hostile action and we show a movie that tell all the World our naval tactics. Well fast forward 8 months and those Navy Dive bombers won the Battle of Midway, sinking 4 Japanese Aircraft Carriers. That battle could have gone either way. It boiled down to who found who first.
 We landed on the moon 7/20/1969!