Charles Leroy Myers: Born in Oakdale, California on May 5, 1920,
he is the third son of five children born to Silvia Lillian Crane
and Charles Wesley Myers. His family called him Leroy. After a couple
of moves due to Charles’ work, the family settled down in Chico.
Leroy graduated from Chico High School, Chico, California in 1937.
He loved baseball and was the 2nd baseman on the Championship High
School team in 1937. Leroy’s goal was to become a lawyer, the best
dam lawyer in California. However, college and law school would
cost a lot of money. After high school, he followed his father in
construction learning to be a heavy equipment operator. In a couple
of years, 1939, the world was rattling its war swords and Europe
was at war with Germany. In late 1940, a call came out for construction
workers and craftsman from Morrison-Knudson, headquartered in Boise,
Id. The project was to build a naval base and airfield on the tiny
island in mid Pacific, called Wake Island. The pay was very good
and the contract for only 9 months…to Leroy, that equated to money
for school. Charles, his dad, arrived on Wake in February and Leroy
followed in April 1941. Father and son worked together most of the
time on the heavy equipment while on Wake. They were first housed
in tents at Camp #1 while new barracks were being built at Camp
#2 on the other side of the Island. Each ship bought supplies and
more men. The men worked hard but the food was good and there was
plenty. They adjusted to the tropical heat and daily rain squalls
and showers, bathed and wash clothes in salt water and sat outside
to watch nightly movies. It was not an easy life but it was quite
an adventure while being well paid. The fishermen were in fish heaven
and the beauty of the sunsets was outstanding. No one was prepared
for what would come before Christmas of 1941 when the Japanese initiated
war with all the nations touching the Pacific Ocean. The next 44
months would be hell on earth. To be continued. Stu’s Notes; I first
wrote about Charles Leroy Myers and his father Charles Wesley Myers,
September 25, 2009 and October 2, 2009. I had found an old Chico
Enterprise record newspaper, given to me by Buzz Huntington, one
of many he gave me over the years. I figured that both men would
have passed on by now. Silly me, 94 years old, in my observation
of Leroy he is alive and well and egger to tell his story which
he does and he has given me permission to use it all in this column.
Now some of it will be very graphic and sad but it must no be forgotten.
The evils of man have gone on, I guess, since Cain killed his brother
Able and to this day they still go on all over our world. When will
evil stop. I don’t know but hopefully it will.
If you go to our Website www.OrovilleVeteransMemorialPark.org then you can read about them coming home in 1945 and now I have what I always want “The rest of the story.” I thank Daryl every time I mention the web site because he is the reason we have it and it is great.
Now let’s start thinking about Veterans’ Day Parade. Let’s make it a big one, line the Parade route with people down Montgomery Street from the Old Marysville Road, now Feather River Blvd,.. How did we get that name anyway, Why not Old Cemetery Road, because it goes right by there? Veterans’ Day services were held at one of Oroville’s first on Marysville Road, now Feather River Blvd. There are many Civil War Soldiers buried there plus WWI and World War II Heroes and a man who died in a Japanese Prison. I think that most of my readers know that for years Veterans Day was known as Armistice Day. The day the Armistice was signed between France and her Allies and Germany. November 11, 1918 at the 11th hour and the 11th minute to officially end The Great War, the War to end all Wars. Yea, Right.