August 9, 2013
Oroville Mercury Register
August 8, 2009
The men who flew the U2’s knew of the dangers, yet they flew on,
Heroes all of them. I usually write something on the Anniversary
of Captain Randy Roby’s last heroic act on that day 13 years ago.
He died on the streets of Oroville. He gave his life trying to get
his plane away from hurting anyone. He stayed with his plane too
long to save his own life. He knew this could happen but he headed
for the open fields north of town, instead of bailing out sooner.
I wrote the following paragraph in August 2009. I am convinced young
Capt. Randy Roby gave up his life so that others may live, those
others being the people of Oroville. I’ve talked to 6 eyewitnesses
now and some told me he looked to be in trouble approaching our
little town, I’m totally convinced he stuck with his crippled plane
trying to get it to the unpopulated country just north of Oroville.
A Law Enforcement Officer told me of a radio message out of Beale
Air force Base that he might have tried to put his plane down in
our Feather River to avoid houses and people. The men who told me
this is an honorable man that is a protector of our citizens. Maybe
Capt. Roby saw people on our river that hot August day and chose
to try to get out of town, in doing so, he gave the ultimate sacrifice
in his duty as a brave protector of our Freedom. 13 years ago and
nowhere is he honored in Oroville. Why? Because people soon forget,
well he is Not Forgotten by some and will be on the Oroville Veterans
Memorial plaque. But there should be more, why not a memorial in
front of the Cal-Fire office on Nelson Ave. where he died. Lets
go back to 1988, a young 1st Lt. Thomas E. Doyle, from Oroville,
died in Germany trying to do as Capt Roby did, get his plane away
from people. He almost made it and sadly as in Capt Roby’s case
where a lady died, the Mayors brother was killed, in spite of this
he was honored there as a hero. Many, many more could have perished.
I talked to four young Firemen at the Home Depot the other day and
told them Capt Roby’s story, hoping to instill in them the need
for a Memorial up there. Maybe with the help of our community it
will be done. We know so little about these two men I hope to fine
more. After I wrote the above paragraph, my granddaughter, Jessica
Rose Shaner and I, placed a small temporary memorial at the site.
Oroville Mercury Register
June 2, 1951
Oroville GIs Returning Home
Two Oroville district men were among the more than 1900 army combat
veterans of the Korean war who arrived in San Francisco today aboard
the S Gen. A. W. Brewster on rotation leave. They are Pfc. Morten
B. Whitmer Jr., 18 of Mitchell Avenue and M-Sgt. Paul F. Bartasavich
of Woodleaf Star Route. Whitmer, a paratrooper, had participated
in all major parachute drops in Korea since last August. Enlisting
on his 17th birthday, Aug. 31., 1949, he first saw active duty of
on his 18th birthday. He was one of the men dropped behind enemy
lines at Kimpo airfield after the allied landing at Inchon last
fall. Whitmer is the son of M. B. Whitmer. Whitmer left yesterday
afternoon for San Francisco to welcome his son.
I ran the above story on Capt. Randy Roby in 2009 and last year
and I think I will run it every year at this anniversary of that
sad day in August 1996, until a suitable memorial is built up on
that hill on Nelson Avenue. A few people have talked to me about
doing something up there. That’s a start up until this year nobody
ever talked to me about it. The weather is taking its toll on my
and Jessica’s little memorial, painted by Oroville’s Fred Daley.
It never ceases to amaze me what our young men have done through
out our History, boys one year, fighting for our country the next.
You might think this generation we have now is soft and unwilling
but for many that is not the case. When their country is in need
they go and do their job well. I almost forgot the anniversary of
Capt Randy Roby, but this morning, August 6th I heard the distinct
sound of a U-2 turning over Thermalito and turned for home, maybe
at Beale as if to say: Remember Capt. Randy Roby tomorrow. U-2’s
are pretty rare here now and I would have missed this one as in
10 seconds I would have been in the house and not heard it.
1st Lt. Thomas E Doyle will be inducted into Oroville High School
Hall of Fame in late September. A big thank you to the Loyal Order
of Moose, Oroville Lodge #519 and Chapter 1776 Women of the Moose,
rmalito-Oroville for putting on a fund raiser for us and presenting
the Memorial Park with a very nice check. Thank you Max Parker Administrator
of the Lodge and Kelly Ridge Golf Coarse and all the others that
participated in the success of this fund raiser.