World War II Ancestors Remembered at Genealogy Club Meeting

Gary Thornton

Members of the Robson Ranch Genealogy Club (RRGC) told stories about their World War II ancestors when the club met on May 18.

As part of his talk about his father’s service in the Pacific, Mike Riewe showed a book about Lawrence Riewe (1921-1980) that was written by Mike’s daughter Gretchen (Riewe) Burch and her husband Jonathan. The book is a detailed history of Riewe’s Army service beginning with his enlistment in Minnesota in 1942 until his discharge in 1945. The book mentions that part of Riewe’s training was at Sheppard Field in Wichita Falls, Texas, before going to the Pacific where he served in New Guinea and the Philippines. Mike also showed a display of some of the awards, decorations, and patches that his father received during his Army service.

Terry Babcock, Genealogy Club vice-president, talked about his father Samuel A. Babcock, his father-in-law Russell Hawkins, his uncle John J. Noone, his wife’s grandfather Harry Fouts Hazlett, and his wife’s uncles John Reynolds Hawkins and Robert F. Hazlett. Many of these men were career Army officers including two colonels and two generals.

Gary Thornton, RRGC president, talked about his father Norman Thornton (1920-2006). Norman once told a story to Gary that he and four other men traveled 170 miles from Fresno, Calif., to Sacramento to enlist. Norman failed the physical and returned home on an overnight passenger train and then walked six miles from the train station to his house at 3 a.m.