Legion seeks to honor fallen with Maxwell memorial
American Legion Memorial Display honoring Colusa County’s fallen veterans.
Send tax-deductible donation to:
American Legion Post No. 218 C/O Fallen Veterans Fund P.O. Box 665 Maxwell, CA 95955
For more information or to make a referral, call 979-7630.
Servicemen who gave their lives for their country will be permanently memorialized in Maxwell.
The American Legion is raising money for a memorial display that would honor all Colusa County veterans who were killed in action.
"These veterans gave their all," said Joe Carrancho, a member of the committee. "We need to honor them."
Although the Maxwell American Legion is named for Vernon Jewel Danley, who died Sept. 13, 1918, during World War I, Carrancho said the post wanted to extend its memorial beyond Maxwell residents to include the entire county, in part because few veterans organizations remain in Colusa County to carry the torch for the fallen.
"We are the only American Legion post left," Carrancho said.
The Jefferson Winn Post in Princeton, also named after a Colusa County soldier killed in World War I, will give up it's 96-year-old charter in June.
The American Legion has chosen a wall-mounted, glass memorial case that will bear a half-moon crescent with the words "Freedom is not Free" at the top.
The estimated cost is about $5,000, said Carrancho, who started the campaign with a donation.
No other memorial to honor Colusa County's killed in action exists, although Arbuckle has a memorial for its own war causalities, including Justin Casillas, 19, who was killed in combat in Afghanistan on July 4, 2009, as he tried to save an injured friend while under attack.
Williams began working on a project to remember its fallen after the death of Rueben "Boy" Lopez, who was killed in Afghanistan with four other soldiers on Aug. 11, 2011, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle while they were on combat operations.
Carrancho said it is important for the American Legion to remember all of the county's fallen soldiers so they will never be forgotten.
"Many of them are not buried here," he said. "They could be buried at sea or buried in France. Where they are buried isn't what matters."
Danley and Winn, who died on Sept. 26, 1918, are both buried in France.
So are Henry Traynham, Jasper Estes, George Smith, Archie Suggett and Jessie Harling, also killed in World War I.
Carrancho said the American Legion originally talked about building a memorial to Maxwell's war dead after the death of William "Billy" Denmen in combat on March 24, 1968, in the Thua Thien Province of South Vietnam.
The post later determined there is a greater need for a permanent memorial to remember all of Colusa County's nearly 80 servicemen who were killed in action between World War I and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Among them were William Berger and Reed Davis, who were killed together on Feb. 5, 1918, when their steamship Tuscania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland by a German submarine.
Alfred Bruggman died aboard the USS Dakota on June 19, 1944, in the battle of the Philippines, and Robert Martin was shot down in a B-17 over Germany on Jan. 1, 1945.
Herbert Calcaterra of Stonyford was killed during battle while aboard the USS Pompano on Sept. 4, 1942.
Calcaterra manned his gun from an exposed site until fatally wounded, and received the Silver Star posthumously for gallantry during battle.
He was 22 years old when he died, and was buried at sea.
Buster Baze died as a prisoner of war aboard Japan's hell ship, Arisan Maru, after it was torpedoed by an American submarine and sank in the South China Sea on Oct. 24, 1944.
Joseph "Little Joe" Martinez, 18, was killed April 23, 1945, while operating a machine gun in battle with the 6th Marine Division in Okinawa.
He enlisted before graduating from Maxwell High School, and was posthumously awarded his diploma.
"These servicemen gave their all," Carrancho said. "When we started this project, we had no idea how many there were."