A True Hero and Survivor

By Elise Spleiss     |  2017-11-19

Okinawa survivor Bob Mellor proudly displays his Navy photo, his Navy uniform and the American Campaign, Asiatic Pacific Campaign and World War II medals he earned during his service in the Battle of Okinawa. Photo by Elise Spleiss

Battle of Okinawa Survivor Part of Final Battle of World War II

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - At the age of 20, Bob (Junior) Mellor, had no way of knowing he was soon to be part of what would be known as ‘history’s greatest conflict on land and sea’, the Battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg. Many who unknowingly become a part of history in the making often just see it as part of the job. It is no different for Bob Mellor, now 92.

His patriotic T-shirts and original Navy uniforms hanging in his closet, the glass case full of photos and other service memorabilia are silent reminders of his service while his extensive collection of World War II and other combat movies bring those days back to life for him. And Bob loves to proudly talk about those days to any fortunate enough to hear his stories.

Bob joined the U.S. Navy on October 6, 1944 in San Francisco. He took a train to San Diego Naval Training Center where he completed his basic training as a Seaman Apprentice Class on December 28, 1944. The same day he was transferred to Landing Craft School where he graduated three months later on March 6, 1945.

During his training Bob took a leave to visit his older brother, Ray Mellor whose ship, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Fanshaw Bay, had come in for repairs following a Japanese attack that had burned the flight deck. While on board Ray, a Gunner’s Mate on the ship, showed his brother the 5-inch anti-aircraft guns where he worked. Ray survived the war, thanks to the metal case covering his Bible when he took shrapnel to the chest during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.

Upon completion of Landing Craft School Bob Mellor was transferred to the West Pacific where he was trained to drive a 30-foot Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) boat. He was immediately made a cockswain, in charge of the ship and its crew, and trained in the Pacific Ocean in 15 to 20-foot breakers. Mellor said he liked the training and “found it no harder than plowing a straight furrow” back home on his family’s 156-acre ranch in Delhi, California.

During his three-month training in preparation for the invasion of Okinawa, Mellor brought in supplies, hauled liberty parties and took sailor transfers to other ships on the high seas. He participated in a week-long shake-down cruise and amphibious landing off Catalina Island before boarding a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) headed for Pearl Harbor where he trained in all the sea channels driving a landing craft.

On March 17, 1945 Mellor was assigned to LSM 424 (Landing Ship, Medium) and was sent to the south islands in the Pacific where he joined a larger fleet of landing craft and mine sweepers. At 203 feet-long, his ship resembled a small aircraft carrier and carried over 100 guns, mortars and rockets of various sizes.  Mellor’s ship was part of the fleet that by the end of March would number 1,300 headed to the invasion of Okinawa. Only 325 miles from Japan, Okinawa was the last stronghold to defeat before reaching Japan.

Finally, on April 1, 1945 the U.S. and allied forces invaded Okinawa. Mellor and his men landed in Buckner Bay. By the end of the day, it had become the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific theater of World War II with 50,000 troops landing.

One of the pilots flying from the carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto was a young pilot by the name of George H.W. Bush. Bush and other pilots conducted bombing raids in their TBM Avengers to clear the way for Mellor and other landing crafts to land safely on Okinawa. However, attempting to prevent U.S. and Allied landings was the Imperial Japanese ‘super-battleship” Yamato, along with its fleet of Japanese aircraft carriers and destroyers. 

Mellor recalls that just after his ship had unloaded its pontoons and hardware for the floating docks, they were attacked briefly in a kamikaze attack by a Japanese Zero fighter plane. He and his men survived that attack and with the equipment provided, three U.S. Army and three U.S. Marine Corps divisions aided in the successful completion of the assault on Okinawa.

On April 7, 1945 the Yamato, the largest battleship in the world at 80,000-tons was sunk by the Avengers after 10 torpedo hits. The Yamato had been the former flagship of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The war ended on June 22, 1945 but Mellor had one more assignment to complete. On June 26, Mellor took his LSM 424 to the north end of Okinawa and picked up U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division at Hedo, and transported them to the North China Sea where they boarded 40 ships to go home. 

More than 12,000 American servicemen were killed at Okinawa and over 38,000 wounded or missing. Japan lost 100,000 men, plus a loss of up to 150,000 civilian Okinawans.

Mellor continued his life following his Navy days with his high school sweetheart, Elma Louise Voyles. They married in 1946, following his discharge from the Navy and her graduation with honors from Livingston High School in Livingston, California. Their first home was a chicken house in the backyard of Clint Lovelady’s Ranch in Delhi, California. They converted the chicken house into their home of one year, then moved to a farm in Delhi where Bob work full-time plowing fields and milking the cows. Their toilet was an outhouse.

In 1950 Mellor took a job at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento where he worked for 34 years before retiring as a “Scheduler’ for airplane repairs.

The Mellor’s had four children, three adopted over a span of fifteen years. After two children, they upsized from their home in North Highlands to 5-acres in Fair Oaks. After 54 years of marriage, Elma passed away in 2000.

Mellor now lives with his daughter, Lynne at her home in Roseville. He spends much of his time watching his extensive collection of WWII movies and other classics dating back to the 1930’s.               

He enjoys his pastime, especially as, referring to his waning memory, each time he watches a favorite movie like Midway or Flying Tigers, it’s like watching it for the first time.

As the number of our surviving World War II veterans are rapidly dwindling, our younger generations are either never studied or are forgetting their sacrifices. Stories like these are a memorial to the thousands of people who worked, fought and died to preserve our way of life today. They cannot be forgotten.

Sources: Mellor Family History by Dr. Dennis L. Mellor

The Collings Foundation; World War II Day by Day by Antony Shaw

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Saluting All Those Who Served

Story and pictures by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2017-11-19

Senator Jim Nielsen joins a salute by Rancho Cordova High School ROTC Cadets. Photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner

Veterans and Community Stand for the Flag

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - “Too many people, regard freedom as an entitlement,” Senator Jim Nielsen told a weekend Veterans Day audience, “It’s not an entitlement, it’s an obligation – an obligation to serve. There are those who disparage our flag and our pledge. We need to stand up and say no to that. Thousands of soldiers died so that flag would not touch the ground. Renewing our patriotism is a good thing; for we are a great nation.”

The Fourth District representative was speaking at Veteran’s Medical Center. Nearly 500 Sacramento County veterans and supporters attended the gathering held at former Mather Field Air Force base.

This year’s event theme was “From Argonne to Afghanistan.” The two locations represent a century of American military effort. An allied offensive at Argonne Forest (France) spanned less than two months and ended WW1. Now in its 16th year with no end in sight, the Afghan war is recognized as America’s longest conflict.

At the Mather event, Marion D. Smith and Bob Burns -- 90 and 91 years old respectively -- grasped weathered hands as two of the few WW II survivors. From 1945 t0 46, Smith was a radar specialist on the USS Livermore. He later served the Army Reserves. Bob Burns extended his WW II Army career during Korean and Vietnamese theaters.

The stalwarts were joined by 94-year-old Kiyo Sato, whose Japanese-American family grew strawberries at Mather in the 1930s. Sato, eight brothers and sisters and their parents were interned in Wyoming during war years. After her release, the eldest daughter achieved a college degree, nursing qualifications and eventually reached the rank of Captain in the US Air Force.

“I was born here,” says the Rosemont resident. “I feel the same emotion about America as any citizen.  I will never stop working for this country to again be a beacon of hope.”

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Del Campo High Schools football team goes undefeated for the regular season

SJUSD Release  |  2017-11-19

Athletic Director at Del Campo High School Sharon Props said she is proud of Del Campo’s football team. Photo courtesy SJUSD

Fair Oaks, CA (MPG) - The Del Campo High School football team made history on Nov. 3 when it went undefeated in the regular season for the first time in the team’s history. The Cougars defeated Bella Vista High School by a score of 67 – 0 to cap off the season and move into the playoffs.

On Thursday, Nov. 9 the Cougars defeated Buhach Colony in the first playoff game for a record so far of 11 – 0. Mike Dimino, head coach of Del Campo’s football team, said the strategy moving forward is to work hard to improve each game.

“The secret of this team’s success is their team chemistry,” Dimino said. “But aside from that, they are making the right decisions off the field. We like to win, obviously, but the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that we’re between 50 to 75 percent B averages for the whole team.”

Athletic Director at Del Campo High School Sharon Props said she is also proud of Del Campo’s football team.

“We’ve never been 10 – 0 before, so everyone is very excited,” Props said. “We have 31 seniors that built this team, so they’ve been playing together for a long time — a lot of the junior classmen have also been playing awhile — so it’s a good culmination that they’ve stuck together this long and have achieved what they have achieved.”

The last time a football team in San Juan Unified School District achieved this milestone was during the 1994 – 1995 season when Rio Americano High School went undefeated during regular season. The team was eventually knocked out of the playoffs after it lost to Del Oro High School in the Division 2 Section Final. Dimino is hopeful the Cougars will be able to go all the way to the state championships this year.

Quarterback Tyler Dimino, the son of Del Campo’s head coach, shares that sentiment.

“I’m hoping to go far in the playoffs,” Dimino said. “I have trust in this team. I think we’re very good and we can do it.”

“I feel very good in our abilities and we’ve shown them on the field,” said left tackle/defensive tackle and senior Jordan Ford. “We all have great chemistry together and we work hard and practice.”

Del Campo’s next playoff game is against Sacramento High School on Nov. 17.

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ACFP Relay Team Runs for Survivors

By Colleen Robertson, ACFP  |  2017-11-19

Photo courtesy ACFP

Supporting survivors and victims of Domestic Violence and Family Violence

Sacramento, CA (MPG) - A Community For Peace (ACFP) created a Community Team for the California International Marathon called ‘ACFP Communities in Motion Relay Team’. The team will run Sunday, December 3, 2017. The team’s goal is to raise $26,000 to support survivors of domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and family violence which includes women, children and men.

This year, A Community For Peace has composed a team of four runners from our community. We are very excited about this marathon team this year because it reflects a true community of healing and peace.

The California International Marathon (CIM) is a marathon organized by runners, for runners! On Sunday, December 3rd, the scenic 26 mile route will start near the Folsom Dam in Folsom, then take the runners through the towns of Orangevale, Citrus Heights, right in front our ACFP office, then continues through Fair Oaks and Carmichael and finally, under a canopy of trees in full fall colors, into the city of Sacramento for the State Capitol finish.

ACFP and the community team ask everyone to pledge for the ACFP Communities in Motion Relay Team. You can pledge online at www.acommunityforpeace.org under the events CIM Run page. To sponsor this team, contact the media contact below. 2

A Community For Peace is a trauma-informed social justice crisis center for victims and survivors of domestic violence, family violence, and sexual assault. A Community For Peace’s mission is to end all forms of violence to women and girls, men and boys, and to promote peace in our homes, schools and communities. A Community For Peace is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Tax ID#68-0457704.

Source: ACFP

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Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - This press release is a summary of the facts known at this time.  This incident is still under investigation, so the information is subject to change. Additional details will be released as they become available.


On Sunday, November 19, 2017 at approximately 2:45 am, a solo officer with the Citrus Heights Police Department made a self-initiated contact with a male and a female standing near a vehicle in the parking lot of a local motel in the 6200 block of Auburn Boulevard.  During the contact, the officer conducted a search of the male (The male was later confirmed to be in possession of a firearm).

During the search, the male pulled away from the officer and fled on foot.   The officer chased the male on foot.  Until additional statements are obtained, it is unknown at this time what transpired between the suspect and the officer during the foot pursuit.  However, it is known that during the chase, the officer discharged his firearm an unknown number of times at the male. The male continued to run from the officer and stopped a short distance later in a nearby parking lot.  

Other officers arrived on scene to assist. The officers discovered the male had sustained at least one gunshot wound to his upper torso.  The officers immediately called for paramedics and began to provide first aid to the male.  A search of the male revealed a firearm.

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department transported the male to a local hospital for treatment.  The male is currently listed in stable condition.

The male was identified as 24 year old Nickolas Russo (May 2017 booking photo below).  Russo has an extensive criminal history including firearms possession.  Russo is currently on CDCR Parole for burglary and County Probation for vehicle theft.

The involved officer was not injured and has been placed on paid administrative leave as per department policy.

Russo is currently under arrest for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, resisting a police officer, violation of parole, and violation of probation.

There are no outstanding suspects or threats to the public resulting from this incident.
The officer involved shooting is being investigated by the Citrus Heights Police Department’s Investigative Services Division and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.

As a result of this incident, Auburn Boulevard is currently closed between Greenback Lane and Charwood Lane.  Auburn Boulevard is expected to be closed until approximately11:30 am.

Anyone having information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the Citrus Heights Police Department at 916-727-5500.

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Girl Scouts STEM Center Opens in Sacramento

By Jacqueline Fox  |  2017-11-08

Girl Scouts at the Teevhah STEM Center 2 work with mechanical toys as part of an exploration into electronic engineering. (Photo Credit: Girl Scouts of the USA)

Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Silly boys. Science and technology also are for girls, and the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) is about to prove it to you.

On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the GSHCC will open the region’s first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Center + Makerspace, an all-girl facility that will serve as a hub for innovation and exploration across the world of tech and science for girl scouts in the council’s 18-county region.  

The STEM Center + Makerspace, modeled on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s other STEM Centers already operating in other parts of the country, will offer girls scouts in grades K-12 the region’s first open structured learning and development space where they can unleash their curiosity and skills and explore and innovate through a broad range of activities that include a deep dive into the study of robotics, circuitry and programing, as well as the environmental sciences.

“Girl Scouts is uniquely qualified to offer support for girls to work creatively in a single-gender environment, where they can explore new interests and collaborate with other girls,” says Dr. Linda Farley, GSHCC CEO.  “The STEM Center + MakerSpace is an investment in the next generation of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers and Leaders (G.I.R.L.s.), and will serve as a hub for girl innovation, exploration and discovery for Girl Scouts throughout our 18-county region.”

The GSHCC serves roughly 30,000 girls and 10,000 adult Girl Scout members in counties across Sacramento, Stockton and the Modesto area.  Its new STEM Center, sponsored in part by Intel Corporation, includes the MakerSpace, which encourages the use of design thinking and collaborative problem solving.

“At Intel, we are committed to opening doors to opportunity for girls here in Northern and Central California, and we believe this STEM Center + Makerspace will inspire these girls and give them the skills they’ll need to become future innovators,” says Courtney Martin, Intel public affairs director.

A ‘task force’ of local female innovators and Girl Scout members will collaborate on the new STEM Center’s formation and operations.

The Girl Scout’s push for girl leadership and training in STEM is being fueled by the organization’s drive to reverse what it points to as a decline in the country’s number and efficacy of its STEM-related industries.  Putting STEM in front of girls, first at the pre-college level, the organization hopes, will build on their interest and confidence in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering.  In turn, that knowledge and experience can be expanded at the college level, creating a pipeline of STEM-trained women ready to take their education on to build life-long careers.

According to the organization, America’s status as the world’s leading technology and science innovator appears to be slipping, pointing to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, which suggests that only 29 percent of Americans rated their country’s K-12 education in STEM subjects as “above average” or “the best in the world.”

Since 1912, Girl Scouts has served as one of the most widely supported, all-girl leadership development organizations in the world.  There are currently 112 regional Girl Scout councils across the country representing roughly two million members, where they focus on building courage, confidence and character, and yes, cookies.

But the creation of Girl Scout STEM Centers aims to ratchet up the impact of membership, specifically by working to fill the gaps in educational instruction in the fields of science, engineering and technology and give girls a chance to build careers across sectors that have, in some cases, remained out of reach.

“With our focus on mechanical engineering, biological and environmental sciences, programming and robotics, girls develop skills that have the potential to change their lives,” Farley said.

For more information, please visit: www.girlscoutshcc.org

 

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Jennifer Wood Chosen Environmentalist of the Year

By Lori Morales, CCL  |  2017-11-08

Jennifer Wood. Photo courtesy CCL

Award goes to Sacramento Citizens’ Climate Lobby Volunteer

Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Jennifer Wood received the Environmentalist of the Year Award from the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) November 8th. Jennifer is a volunteer with the Sacramento Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), and she was honored along with other champions of the environment at the annual awards ceremony.

Jennifer Wood founded the Sacramento Chapter of CCL in January of 2013 because of CCL’s emphasis on citizen engagement and its focus on bipartisan national policy. She began as the volunteer Group Leader for the Sacramento Chapter and is now a volunteer Chapter Coordinator, focusing on groups in the Central Valley and Sierras. Jennifer stated: “CCL has an approach that can bridge the political divide and bring many voices into the conversation. We advocate for national climate policy that is equitable, effective, and efficient.”

CCL, which has 84,000 members globally and chapters that cover every Congressional District in the U.S., trains volunteers in the skills of citizen engagement and helps members exercise their political voice. The Sacramento CCL chapter has grown to over 800 members and has developed relationships with Representatives Doris Matsui and Ami Bera, demonstrating community support for common-sense national climate policy. 

Members meet with local elected officials and community leaders and educate the public about national climate solutions. Last June, seven chapter members traveled to Washington, D.C. for CCL’s annual conference, and joined 1,000 volunteers as they lobbied every member of Congress about the need for national climate action.  “It was a life changing experience to participate in grassroots organizing.” said Edith Thacher, Sacramento chapter co-lead, “Imagine hundreds of volunteers walking the halls of Congress, meeting with each representative or their staff, expressing a unified message, and respectfully discussing the congressperson’s perspective on climate action.”

Commenting on the award, Jennifer said, “This award belongs to my Chapter’s members as much as it does to me. There is no CCL without the volunteers and there is no political will for change unless citizens speak out and become active”.

For more information see the CCL Sacramento Chapter website: https://www.sacramentoccl.org/   

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