Local Veteran Heroes
The letter/number combination after each name identifies the museum wing and display case
OLLIE B.(OBIE) WICKERSHAM (D-66)
ANTHONY BEVACQUA (B-14)
Wickersham was a part of the 82nd Airborne Division as the Allies stormed the beach at Anzio during World War II. He then parachuted into Holland during Operation Market Garden, fought in the Battle of the Bulge,
and returned home a highly decorated paratrooper. Five years later, he was called up again to serve in the Korean War as a platoon sergeant. He was captured and forced to join with other prisoners in a 500-mile death march through the mountains into North Korea. He spent twenty-eight months enduring brutality, dysentery, and malnutrition. Of the 500 men, 200 survived. When he was rescued, he weighed just ninety pounds. Wickersham retired as an army sergeant first class. He was born in May 1925 and still lives in Chico, California.
SHIRL TODD (C-36)
Todd served with the 1st Marine Division during the Korean War and the Battle Chosin Reservoir. This battle is the most renowned battle in Marine Corps history. It was also very decisive in that it
convinced General Douglas MacArthur to abandon his plan of uniting all of Korea under the South Korean government. The battle took place during the end of November and the beginning of December 1950 in minus thirty-five to minus fifty degree weather. The survivors managed to fight their way to the Sea of Japan where they were rescued. Todd was a survivor and returned to his home in Colusa, California.
Everett Luther Harris (D-50)
Harris was piloting a P-38 Lightening on his very first photo reconnaissance mission over Italy during World War II when he lost an engine and had to bail. He did not survive. His body was discovered by an Italian farmer
who removed personal effects and buried the body. He hid Harris's belongings in a box in his basement. The farmer passed away in 2012 and his son found the box. The son contacted an official in Italy who contacted an official in Kentucky who worked on returning personal effects to the next of kin. It was discovered that Harris attending Yuba City High school, his widow lived in Paradise, and his brother lived in Yuba City, After receiving Everett's belongings, his brother donated them to the museum. The display was created in November 2016 with everyone attending. One of the twists to this story is that his wife was employed during the war building P-38s.
Bevacqua completed flight training in March 1957 at the CIA's Area 51 facility as the youngest pilot to
ever check out and fly the U-2 spy plane. He flew the U-2 for the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing until 1965 when he attended the Air Force's Command and Staff College before becoming an SR-71 reconnaissance plane pilot. He retired in 1973 with over 2,600 hours in the U-2 and SR-71. Bevacqua was an instructor pilot on both aircraft and was only one of twelve to have flown both aircraft while both were in service. He received the Kelly Johnson Award in 2013. For his role in the highly classified CIA U-2 project at Area 51 and service to the United States, Bevacqua was enshrined in the Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2019. He is retired and lives in Yuba City, California.
ROBERT BROWN (B-14)
Brown enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in October 1940 at the age of sixteen. He was assigned to the 34th Pursuit Squadron and trained as a medical technician. He was on the island of Luzon in the
Philippines when the Pacific War broke out. When the US/Filipino forces surrendered to the Japanese army, he was captured. Still only seventeen years old, Brown became one of the youngest to participate in the infamous Bataan Death March. He survived and was later sent to a POW camp in Mukden, China. When he arrived he weighed just eighty pounds. While a prisoner, he learned to speak Japanese and helped other POWs who were ill and wounded. For his service, he received two written commendations from the Japanese camp commander. He was liberated in August 1945 and returned home to Marysville, California. Brown continued to serve in the Air Force and retired in October 1969 as a chief master sergeant. He passed away in 2008.
DONALD LEHMAN (C-35)
Lehman served as a marine corporal during World War II and earned two battle stars and his jump wings. He was discharged as a corporal to his home in Yuba City. He then attended the University
of California, Davis, received a commission in the Army, returned to active duty, and retired as a brigadier general.