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October 17, 2014

More from Charles Leroy Myers (Prisoner of War, Wake Island 1941)

“Before The Defense of Wake Island During early November, 1941 Harry Morrison, Project Manager for PNAB Contractors came to Wake Island and informed the civilian construction crews that war with Japan was likely and he had been assured by the military that in case of war the civilian employees would be immediately evacuated. But in the meantime, we should stay and help get the Island’s defenses completed. A few workmen took the next boats back, but even though every news broadcast and Marine activity indicated that war was eminent most of us were willing to stay and do our jobs. Early in November Dan Teeters, CNAB Project Manager, told we different foramens to give the Marines any help they ask for in men, materials and equipment. Dan later brought Major Devereaux and one of his gunnery officers to the airport, introduced them to Bill Ray, Excavation Superintendent and myself and arrangements were being made for trucks, dozers and cranes to haul, place and concrete the bases for the 5” Naval guns at the three points of the Island. Larry Grant and his concrete crew furnished the concrete. Walt “Swede” Hokensen, Waterfront and Rigging Foreman hauled the guns for them. Another rush job was to build an access road to and a coral pad on which to build the radio station on the east beach of the lagoon. The carpenters were building it when the war started. When the 12 gruman fighter planes arrived Major Putnam asked for an area parking pad to be graded and graveled at the south west intersection of the east west and the north south runways. A temporary air to ground radio station was mucked out of the coral south of this location. Cat operators used specifically on these and other numerous projects were: Paul Robbins, “Black Jack” Graham, Hetttick, Boesiger, Pennington, Edwards, John Barney, Bill Hanson and others. Crane and dragline operators were Harrold Dobbins, Leroy Myers, Dave Osborne and others. We were working two ten hour shifts in the excavation Department. T. Bailey Lee was the foreman on the opposite shift from me and I’m sure he and his men performed similar projects to aid in the military defense and facilities. About December 1, 1941 the Marines asked for volunteers to take training on various weapons. I and other members of the excavation crew took training on 30 cal and 50 cal anti-aircraft guns and 5” coastal batteries which the Marines were feverishly getting placed around the Island. Isaac J. (Ike) Wardle, Excavation Foreman on Wake Island. Chuck Davis, Ray Quinn, Assistant Excavation Superintendent George Denton, Labor Foreman Cleo Brooks, Water-front Foreman Walter Hokensen and others all had crews out from time to time for the Marines.

Stu’s Notes:
Free dentistry for Veterans on Veteran’s Day. Oroville Dentist, Dr. Sims Lowry will be providing free dental services on Veterans’ Day, November 11, 2014 as a service to those who have served our country in the military. A Veteran himself Dr. Lowry is pleased to provide free services which can be completed on the same day, such as fillings, extractions etc. Veterans wishing to take advantage of these services should call Dr. Lowry’s office at 534-5940 and be prepared to show either their Military ID or DD214. Services provided on a first come first serve bases.

I received a call from Shadow Bonham of Oroville Gentle Dentistry this week and she e-mailed me a flyer about what they were doing on Veterans Day. “Oroville Gentle Dentistry, 2014 5th Avenue, Oroville CA is proud to offer a Free Exam and Cleaning for Veterans. Sponsoring Oroville Veteran’s Memorial Park. Come enjoy America’s Favorites; Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & Chevrolet Wear your colors, share stories and enjoy great company. Veteran’s Day November 11th, 2014 8AM-5PM 533-8204 Call today to reserve your appointment.

Next week I hope to have names of the Restaurants that are offering free meals to the Veterans. Just have your Veteran ID’s ready.

Today at my daughters house, Emma my granddaughter said to her mommy, “When will Daddy be home,(he was away on business). She replied “Tomorrow”. My mind immediately went to the Family’s of our Veterans through the many years gone by. Little boys and girls asking that same question which there was no real answer a mother could give. Sadly so many Daddy’s never came home. We must never, never forget their Sacrifice.

Be sure to see the Parade before or after you go to enjoy the hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. Veteran’s Day November 11 at 11AM from Feather River Blvd down Montgomery Street. Review stand will be at the City Chamber of Commerce Office. Hope to see you there.