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August 16, 2013
Thermalito Boy Serves His Country Well
By his Family
William Alfred Keyes Jr. (1927-2013)
“In September of 1945 he went into the U. S. Army and he worked at Camp Beale through November of that year as a Camp Guard, then later he was transferred to Fort Bliss, Texas and did a special eight week basic course there. When he finished he was sent to Fort Ord where he joined a group of 500 men and was sent to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, from there he boarded a troop ship the USS Alexander, a 5,000 man ship. Three weeks later they landed in Le Havre, France. He worked there as a special M. P. in France and after sometime was loaded up on a 40 X 8 rail car where the men were sent to Nuremberg, Germany. He then became a guard at a German Prison Camp; he worked there for two months and was then sent to Frankfurt, Germany where he worked in the I.G. Farbin Headquarters of General Eisenhower as a special M. P. Guard and Receptionist. Later he was transferred to Hanow Air Force Base and went on to guard for the 22nd Signal Service Group. Later in that year he was assigned to the PX where he finished his military time managing a post exchange at the Base. Bill was honorable discharged from services in 1947, he came back to Oroville and worked for the cannery for one year and then for Bill Turners Tire Service, which was across the street from the Oroville Post Office. During this time he met and married the Love of his life Barbara in June of 1950.”

Stu - Boy what an Army, 3 week cruise to France and a train ride for free! Bill worked for RCBS as a Foreman for years.

Oroville Mercury Register
December 8, 1950
Biggs Reservist Recalled by Army

Cpl. James L. Fortney, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. O. Fortney of Biggs, a member of the Army reserve, was called back into the service in September. He is stationed at Camp Rucker, Alabama. The Fortney’s moved to Biggs in 1935 and Jim attended the Biggs schools, graduating from high school in June, 1943. A month later he joined the Army and served in the European Theatre of Operations, receiving five Battle Stars. Following V-J Day he served in the office of the Military Government in Germany until his discharge in November, 1945. He enrolled at Yuba College in 1946. He was graduated in June, 1948, and then entered San Jose State College, from which he was graduated with distinction last June. He had registered at the University of California for graduate work when he received his call to re-enter the army. In a letter received by his parents recently, he said that he plans to fly home for Christmas. Stu- A good Soldier, Soldiers on to another war.

Oroville Mercury Register
September 21, 1950
Two More From Area Join Armed Forces

Two more Oroville men had joined the ranks of the armed services today, one by recall to Marine Corps duty and the other by enlisting in the Navy. PFC. LeRoy John LaBarge, 19, of Thermalito is now stationed at Camp Pendleton near Oceanside following his call from reserve to active duty with the Marine Corps last week. LaBarge originally enlisted May of last year and was discharged last April 7, but remained in the reserve. He worked at the Bidwell Bar plant of Feather River Pine Mills prior to his recall. He is the son on Mrs. Lawrence J. LaBarge of Thermalito.

Bill W. Hurst, 20, of Oroville has signed up for a four year enlistment with the Navy, the Chico recruiting office announced today. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jennings Hurst of Route 3. Hurst, a 1948 Oroville graduate, was the 27th man to enlist through the Chico office this month.

Stu’s Notes:
The first story is about my friend, Bill Keyes who served our country well, right after graduating from Oroville High in 1945, he joined the Army. Bill was born in Richmond, CA, August 15th, 1927 to William A. Keyes Sr. and Marcia G. Keyes. I got to know Bill Keyes a few years ago, I had written about an Oroville Airman Second Lt. Harold J. Mickelson in his P39, August 23, 1943, who crashed and died at the top of Nelson Road on the south side, up on the ridge. Sadly according to Bill he just caught the top of the ridge and his plane went to the east down the hill with the engine ending up where the water of the Forebay is now. Bill helped Daryl Autrey, Jack Kiely and I put a Memorial wreath there on the fence. Bill was the first Thermalito kid to reach the crash site. Sadly after a few years and a new wreath it was stolen. But that is where this Hero of Oroville and the World died training to fight for our country. You can read more of Mickelson on our web site.