Articles

Ron TompkinsWALTERVILLE: Like many of his generation, Ron Tompkins answered the call to arms for the armed services in World War II. Age for him wasn’t an issue, getting his mother to sign off on his enlistment papers when he was nine months shy of his 18th birthday.
Time, however, did have an effect. Coming into the Navy in 1945 he sailed out of San Francisco and arrived for duty in the Philippines. In the Marshall Islands his ship, the USS Petrof Bay, a 7,800 ton aircraft carrier, was part of a fleet being put together for the invasion of Japan. Those plans came to a halt soon after the sailors saw a strange bomber fly over their ship escorted by two fighters.
Ron says that at the time, they had no idea of the significance of what they’d seen, only remembering that the heavy bomber had what looked like a “big torpedo” slung underneath. Another clue that made sense later was chatter on the radio at the time telling people to expect some weird weather.

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.