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Front Page » July 22, 2003 » Local News »
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Historical Society celebrates Veterans

Jim Jensen displays his division flag.

The Emery County Historical Society hosted its June monthly meeting at the Museum of the San Rafael. The society president, JoAnn Behling welcomed everyone and asked Maribelle Wareham to open the meeting with prayer. Sylvia Nelson then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Lee Rasumssen introduced members of the Emery County Community Theater: Larry Saling, Val Jenkins, Linda Daley, Lance Wright and Con Anderson. These actors entertained the audience with an old time radio broadcast enactment of Fibber McGee and Molly. The Andrew Sisters (Kaye Fox, Karla Gundersen and Loyette Holdaway, accompanied by Roxanne Hulse on the piano) brought back many memories of the 40s and 50s by singing renditions of Sentimental Journey, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Mr. Sandman and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.

Rasmussen presented a slide presentation of the Emery County World War II veterans, where they were born, the branch and rank in the service, where they served and how long they served in the war.

Behling introduced Jim Jensen of Castle Dale, Max Ralphs and Ray Wareham of Ferron, and Merlin Christiansen of Emery. All these men served in the South Pacific and mesmerized the audience with their wartime experiences.

Jensen served with the US Army in the Philippines. At one time they captured 14 Japanese who spoke perfect English and had attended West Point Military Academy. He was also in New Guinea where he helped capture a high ranking Japanese officer.

Ralphs served in the US Marines. After completing basic training he was assigned to a clerical school. Upon completion of this schooling, he was assigned to the Fourth Marine Air Wing and went to the Marshall Islands during WWII.

Christiansen served as a medic in the US Navy. He served in the New Caledonia and Hebrides Islands. He was a cook, a chauffeur for the top brass touring the islands, and as a medic to assist surgeons in the operation rooms repairing injuries of the men injured in action. One of his memorable experiences was meeting Bob Hope when he came to entertain the troops. He said he was thrilled to be able to served Bob Hope refreshments when he toured their hospital.

Wareham served in the US Marine Corps during WWII from May 26, 1943 to Feb. 1, 1946. After boot camp and training at Camp Pendleton, he was shipped to the South Pacific.

He served in New Caledonia, New Hebrides Island of Efate, Espiritu Santo, Solomon Island, stopping at Guadalcanal, Marshal Islands at Enewetak where we waited for the invasion of the Marianas, stopping at Saipan as a reserve unit, then on to Guam where he participated during the invasion of Guam. Guam was secured Aug. 10, 1944, according to the Marine Corps records; however, many of the Japanese were still on the island harassing the US troops and causing many casualties and problems in securing the island. On Oct. 24, 1944, three regiments were ordered to do a sweep of the entire island going from the south to the north. Four days later as they came upon the north end of the island, the division had killed 617 Japanese and captured 75 prisoners. This took care of the Japanese problem on Guam.

When the war ended Aug. 14, 1945, Wareham was trained to go on an aircraft carrier preparing to attack Japan. When the war was over, Wareham was discharged Feb. 1, 1946 and returned to Ferron. These were four of many young men from Emery County, fresh out of high school willing to fight and sacrifice their lives if need be for the safety of their country, the United States of America.

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