Gone but not Forgotten!

This page is to honor members who have passed on.


Don Shelton

May 22, 1921 - October 31, 2021

It is great sadness that I report that our dear family friend and mentor RADM Don Shelton has passed

away on October 31, 2021. He was 100 years and 5 months old. I will truly miss attending Tailhook here

in Reno with him every year. I am so grateful that my wife Mabel and I were able to see him this year

when he flew in for Tailhook. We picked up him, Capt. Royce Williams and Don’s caretaker Tammy at the

airport and had lunch together. Unfortunately, I was unable to go tailhook this year, but Mabel spent time

there with Don and friends as usual. Mabel’s Father retired from the Taiwanese Navy as a commander

and is very versed in the Navy. She represents this old Soldier well. J.Gillich

Rear Admiral Doniphan Brown “Don” Shelton, U.S. Navy (Retired), was alive and well and was 100 on 22 May 2021. Don enlisted

in the U.S. Navy in 1939, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1944, and served as a naval aviator until his retirement

in October 1979 from the position of director of plans and policy (J-5) for Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (CINCPAC).

His commands included Fighter Squadron 92 (VF-92), Attack Carrier Air Wing 19 (CVW-19), Paricutin (AE-18), Tripol (LPH-10), and

Naval Base Subic Bay. Don served on Pacific Fleet battleships just before World War II, served on light cruiser St. Louis (CL-49)

when she was hit by multiple kamikazes off Leyte, witnessed the last successful Japanese torpedo plane attack of the war,

served as a night carrier pilot flying interdiction missions over North Korea from the Sea of Japan in the winter,

served as a test pilot for the most dangerous swept-wing plane to fly off U.S. aircraft carriers (the F7U-3 Cutlass),

and commanded a squadron of the equally dangerous F3H Demon all-weather fighters. Don also commanded an attack carrier

air wing during the Gulf of Tonkin crisis, an ammunition ship supporting maximum effort carrier air strikes into North Vietnam,

and Tripoli during multiple amphibious assaults into Vietnam. During the fall of Saigon, Don commanded the Subic Bay Naval Base,

humanely handling over 43,000 South Vietnamese refugees. He was also a leading advocate for naval aviation’s all-weather, day/night capability.

Terry O'Connor

08 July, 2021

Sad news of the passing… Terry’s battle with brain cancer has taken him too early in life. I'll give more information as I hear from his family regarding services.

Terry was a great jeep restoration provider. Gave help with his knowledge and all-around info with his business classic military automotive.

Long time side kick to Mike Stopforth in the jeep restoration and parts business.

Harlan Neal Hatfield

April 18, 1940 - January 3, 2021

Harlan graduated from Byers High School, Byers, Colorado in May 1958.

After promising his father-in-law that he would always take care of her, a promise that this warm, loving, and caring man would keep and fulfill to his last breath, Harlan married his high school sweetheart Carolyn Mitchell on July 23, 1959 in Bennett, Colorado. On August 19, 1959 Harlan joined the United States Air Force in Denver, Colorado where he proudly served 20 years including his tour in Vietnam and retired on September 1, 1979.

Harlan welcomed daughters Cindi and Nadine to complete his family. He was devoted to his daughters, guiding them to become wonderful adults. Family was Harlan’s first love and he enjoyed being a father, grandfather and great-grandfather every day. “Grandpa” Harlan loved having his grandchildren and great-grandchildren over to stay with him while Carolyn was working, and he enjoyed every moment. He enjoyed watching Dylan & Ryan as they became teenagers. Harlan and Carolyn enjoyed events of high school rodeo, gymkhana, baseball, soccer, football, basketball, and band. He was fortunate to attend all of the high school and college graduations of his children and grandchildren. Harlan enjoyed family get-togethers and was very proud of his family and their accomplishments.

Upon Carolyn’s retirement, new travels included visits to friends from his military years and enjoying new experiences throughout the United States. Harlan’s favorite trips included an Alaskan cruise and train trip, and multiple visits to Washington D.C. exploring the nation’s history.

Harlan enjoyed attending the annual reunions of the 500th Bomb Squadron and Tan Son Nhut groups held throughout the country. He was interested in learning about their lives after retirement from their service.

Harlan was self-taught about computers and spent many hours connecting with friends and building web sites for different military groups. Harlan’s interest in military aviation and aircraft led to his membership in the Gray Eagles where he served as Webmaster . Harlan also served as Webmaster the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors and Northern Reconnaissance groups. Harlan was also a member of the Veterans groups at the Club (Del Webb) in Westpark, Roseville. 

Mike Reeves

July 18, 1950 - October 14, 2020

Michael Franklin Reeves peacefully passed away at his home with his family by his side on October 14, 2020. Michael, better known as Mike, was born on July 18, 1950 in Newton, KS. He was the only child to Toby and Helen Reeves. Mike grew up in Newton, KS and spent much of his time with his grandparents where he developed a love of trains and cars. Mike participated in boy scouts, earning his Eagle Scout as a young teen.

Mike joined the United States Navy in 1970 and served four years in the Naval Construction Battalion, better known as the Navy Seabee’s. Mike was extremely proud of his service in the US Military. Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, Mike stayed in Riverside, CA where he was stationed. When his Aunt and Uncle moved to Northern CA to open a business, Mike moved to the area to take a job at a local manufacturing home plant.

Mike met his beloved wife, Brenda Angel in 1978. They married on September 1, 1979. Mike was a wonderful husband to Brenda and a loving father to his two daughters, Michele and Melissa. Mike was very active in the community. He was a charter member of the Americana Corvette club, holding office within the club for the duration of his membership. He served as a board member for the Gleaners of Yuba Sutter Peach Bowl Little League and Sacramento Action American Legion. Mike loved God, his family, serving others, American History, classic cars and Disneyland trips with family. Mike will be laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Dixon.

Farewell “Miss June”

June Idell Foster passed away on April 20, 2016, due to complications of pneumonia. Her spirit lives on aboard the USS Hornet, however. A Bay Area native, Foster grew up in a military family and put her dedicated support behind military and veteran causes This included contributing the funds to restore the Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber aboard the USS Hornet. During the restoration volunteers painted the Avenger with the markings of VT-17, a squadron that fought on the deck of the  Hornet CV-12 during WWII. A true patriot, June had a basement room dedicated exclusively to military memorabilia. June loved animals, especially dogs and cats, and boarded dogs in her home, which she set up to provide optimal care for small dogs. Over the years, June owned many dogs and cats as pets. She was also an avid birdwatcher and kept binoculars at her kitchen window for close observations. June enjoyed gardening, and regularly tended her large back yard, keeping it beautiful with greenery and flowers she planted. An accomplished quilter, June donated many handmade patriotic quilts to sell as fundraisers for veteran’s organizations, and also gave many to very grateful friends. She loved to read and passed on many books to others. June was independent, opinionated, and an inspiration to all who knew her. She was petite, and had astounding energy, and remained physically fit through a daily exercise regimen and long walks on the beach, where she collected shells and rocks. To thank Foster for her generosity, the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation christened the restored aircraft “Miss June.” You can visit Foster’s legacy on the Hornet’s hanger deck. The Hornet is berthed at 707 West Hornet Avenue at Alameda Point. Foster was honored with a memorial service aboard the USS Hornet.
Recently Rory B. found his birth mother, June Foster. Rory and his family grew up not knowing “Miss June,” his mother. What outstanding pride and closure.

Don Darrough

Don retired from the Sutter County Sheriff's Office as a deputy and wanted to use his DUKW for all veterans to enjoy. Don wanted to give as many veterans and family members FREE rides in his DUKW. There were no DUKW rides locally and most rides charged quite a bit for rides all over the world. He wanted to give FREE rides on Ellis Lake in Marysville, California but it was not an easy task. First he had to get permission to operate his DUKW on the city lake. Don attended the Marysville City Council meetings and provided proof of ownership, insurance, registration, two million dollar liability insurance (J.C. Taylor NRG Insurance), and answered many questions about not charging for the FREE rides. Still the City of Marysville could not find a reason not to approve the FREE rides so Don and his FREE rides in "Donald's Duck" were established. Many veterans and local residents were given FREE rides in his DUKW. One particular veteran, Mr. Thompson (WWII veteran) really appreciated what Don did for him. Mr. Thompson had never been recognized or appreciated for his service in Germany during WWII until Don gave him a FREE ride. Mr. Thompson was in a wheelchair and needed assistance up into the DUKW and about four men got him in and then got him back to his wheelchair after a trip around the lake. As Mr. Thompson was being helped down to his wheelchair everyone did not make a sound. As he sat back in his wheelchair everyone began to clap. This was an overwhelming and very emotional event for Mr. Thompson which then proceeded to talk about his contact with Russian troops and many more memories thanks to Don. Don established these FREE rides on Ellis Lake and the Northern Recon Group still have to get the FREE rides approved each year. Each year on Veterans Day Weekend the Northern Recon Group looks forward to providing FREE rides in memory of Don Darrough. Don you will not be forgotten. 


Ted Van Doorn


Take a moment to think, what would you do if you heard the words, "you have 2 to 5 weeks left to Live". The reality is Ted and Heather Van Doorn just heard those words on December 14, 2015. Ted has been courageously fighting a very aggressive case of bladder cancer but doctors are telling him that the cancer has taken over his body.
Within two days on hearing those words, Ted Van Doorn lost his courageous battle with cancer on December 15, 2015. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine how it felt to go home and tell their three children, ages 13, 11 and 8 the devastating news.
Now imagine being a child of a parent who lost their battle with cancer. Imagine hearing that your father, who has always been there for you, will not be able to see your first boyfriend or girlfriend, see you off to college, be able to see you grow into a successful young adult, be able to walk you down the aisle and will not be able to be there just to support, listen, laugh and cry with you.
This is Max, Fiona and Phoebe's reality. This is something no child should ever have to experience.
Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:20 PM EST


…Donning clothes from another era sometimes means discomfort.

Matt Ferdock, 56, felt it with the darn reproduction war boots he's lumbered with for another two weeks during his travels along battle routes in France and Belgium.

"Quite frankly, they're terrible," he said, coming back from an unsuccessful shopping mission to find comfier insoles in La Cambe, a Normandy village where thousands of Germans are buried and where he attended a ceremony on Wednesday.

After pondering the purpose of his appearance for a moment, Ferdock said that looking the part "just feels like I may get a better sense of who these people were. I don't know what it felt like to walk in these boots. "He knows now.

Just across the village square, named after the 29th U.S. Infantry Division that liberated La Cambe on June 8, 1944, stood Heather Van Doorn.

When her late husband Ted was in Normandy for the 60th D-Day anniversary, he "didn't have the jeep, didn't have the dress and felt like he was not a participant."

"He vowed to come back, bring his children, and try and teach them."

Following his death 3 years ago, 49-year-old Heather has taken it upon herself and is hanging out in their restored jeeps with her children Phoebe, Fiona and Max, all dressed as though wartime heartbreak, sacrifice, suffering and rationing were still present.

Heather's drab maintenance coverall more than served its purpose. "You just blend better," she said. "You are part of it." Adding to the motivation was that her dad was for a quarter-century in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. She said her great-grandfather was a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot flying out of England.

"There's always a connection," said Gary Hurwitz, traveling in the same party as Van Doorn. "We're all family." Yet, they are looking for different things.

Van Doorn, who lives in Eugene, Oregon, is convinced something wholesome was lost over time, something she feels is in the story of the soldiers storming beaches against the odds in a foreign land. "This generation was amazing," she said. "Where are these people now? Where did it go?" "It seems people thought more about others. Now we are all wrapped up in our own lives. "Asked what was lost, she said "the sacrifice."…

Ted will always be in our mind, heart and soul.

WWII pilot, Sebastopol resident Darrel Shumard dies at 97

Darrel Shumard of Sebastopol flew P47's during WWII and relived some flying memories as he took a ride on a B-17 Flying Fortress that flew from Reno to the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport, Wednesday June 5, 2013 as part of the Wings of Freedom Tour. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Fully 74 years after his fighter-bomber tumbled from the sky over war-plagued Europe and he was seized by German soldiers, Darrel Shumard just four weeks ago took off from Sonoma County’s airport in a Cessna with a pilot a generation younger beside him.

At age 97, the taciturn and modest Shumard, long one of the region’s most revered veterans of World War II, took the controls of the sporty, six-seat plane and headed off for Amador County.

“He flew the thing all the way over and all the way back,” marveled his pal, Lynn Hunt, a pilot and restorer of the sorts of warplanes that Shumard flew as a young U.S. Army Corps captain.

Hunt added about Shumard, “He never lost his touch.”

A Sebastopol resident who for decades was regarded as a living treasure by fellow members of the Santa Rosa-based Pacific Coast Air Museum, Shumard died at home Sunday evening. He’d gotten along as a widower since the death of his wife of 56 years, Madeline Hood Shumard, in 2010.

Darrel Shumard was a quiet celebrity among the region’s military veterans. For decades, he delighted in driving his vintage Army jeep in parades and he was sought out at gatherings of vets and members of the air museum, located at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

“He was kind of a rock star to us, though he never would have used those words,” said Hunt, a leader of the museum. “He might be the humblest person I’ve ever known.”

Hunt added, “You didn’t dare call him a hero.” He said Shumard was adamant that the true war heroes were all those who didn’t make it home.

Shumard was born Dec. 2, 1921, in Galesburg, Illinois. He wasn’t yet school-aged when hard times pushed his parents to California in search of work.

When he was 10 and 11 years old and the Great Depression was on, Shumard and his folks became “fruit tramps,” granddaughter Michelle Grady of Rohnert Park recalls. They moved from orchard to orchard in the Monterey-Salinas area, picking produce.

Shumard graduated from high school in Turlock. He had studied at Modesto Junior College for a year and worked briefly at Lockheed Aircraft Co.’s factory in Burbank when, not long after the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, he went to war.

Sargeant Don Rummel, United States Army Air Corps

Sergeant Don Rummel is one of our WWII veterans that was present along with his family at Camp Gridley 16 September 2017. Don was a long-time California resident, from Oroville, California.

Don joined the Army Air Corps in San Francisco, California in 1942. He wanted to fly airplanes for the war effort and passed his first Army flight physical. The second flight physical he did not pass and was transferred to support the Army Air Corps reporting statistics to the commanding general of the 5th Air Forces in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

Don reported to the commanding general at 0400 hours each morning the aircraft losses and crew losses. He used the teletype machine to gain statistics control and reached the rank of sergeant as a clerk typist. His reports were covering all of the aircraft of the 5th Air Force which included the B-24s, A-20s, B-25s, C-47s, and C-54s. He really enjoyed flying in the B-25 to each of his deployed islands. He did say the B-24 had problems with the weak landing gear…

After World War II Don began his civilian life and spent his saved money from the war to start his very own business. He was the very first TV repair business in Northern California. He then went on to work for the Plumas National Forest from 1961 to 1983. For the last couple of years Don had enjoyed meeting our Northern Recon Group members while on a convoy to Lake Oroville at a past Camp Gridley. He also had ridden with our vehicles at the Marysville Veterans Day Parades.

Don also had never been honored like this at Camp Gridley before, so it was a very important day for him. Thank you all for helping us in honoring him. Thank you for taking a moment to say “Thank You For Your Service” as it meant more than you will ever know to him.

Bruce Hrabak

In November 2017, Bruce Hrabak was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic and liver cancer. Unfortunately, Bruce fell gravely ill Tuesday morning, April 10th. He was transported to Kaiser Emergency on Morse and was at death's door. He was given 2 to 24 hours to live on multiple occasions. During this time, his wife Shari had been at his side, sleeping at nights in the hospital bed next to his. She herself has battled cancer.

Bruce was a perfectionist in everything he did. He was truly a professional. Bruce was a long-time member of the numerous military organizations. He supported the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) and recently displayed a large D-Day display at the MVPA Convention in Pleasanton, CA. He even coordinated a real-life landing craft or LCVP to be on display to add to his living history display. Many photos were taken of troops and a jeep or two landing on the “beach” at the convention.

Bruce was also recognized numerous times for his “mobile museum” at Northern Recon Group Camp Gridley’s. His passion for collecting and preserving history rubbed off on others around him. His knowledge of all of his items in his collection could be quickly learned as he would explain the uses and history of each item on his display. Bruce you will be missed!