FEATURE - "Local author compiles popular 'Survivor Stories'"

BOX ELDER COUNTY - By Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist, December 7, 2021

Tamara Newman - Photo property of BRVNEWS.com

Pictured above: Tamara Newman, Bothwell resident and retired Bear River High School teacher has put together some incredible tales of those who fought for freedom during WWII. Five of those stories have been compiled into a single publication, now available at Feldman's in Tremonton. Photo property of BRVNEWS.com




80 YEARS AGO - December 7, 1941 – The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, causing great loss of lives and weakening a once strong naval presence. That action precipitated the United States’ entry into World War II just two days later. Across the country young men and women were eager to join the fight, many of them from right here in Box Elder County.


Barely old enough to carry a weapon, they were sent to face the enemy on the land, in the air and at sea. They were fired on, shot down and shot up before the lucky ones were able to come back home to those who waited anxiously for their return. Oh, the stories of combat, carnage and courage these survivors could tell.


Bothwell resident Tamara Newman knows those stories all too well. For many years as an English teacher at Bear River High School, she encouraged her students to identify the veterans in their area, interview them about their service and then put their war memories on paper.


“As part of the class they had to do an interview and I wanted it to be meaningful to them,” she said. “I didn’t want them to just do it as an assignment. I told them, you go home and find a veteran. We did it by community but if they had a relative then they could go outside of their community. What I wanted to do was cover them all. I just depended on the kids to do that.”


It was an eye-opening experience for her students.


“A lot of kids got a reality check on World War II,” she said. “They were all eating humble pie. And I just learned a lot about the sacrifices our military men went through. Back in the day it was combat, hand to hand, person to person combat.”


While she had her students do the legwork in finding the stories, Newman was the one who went the extra mile. She spent weeks and months digging for more details from some of those reluctant veterans, encouraging them to recall for her the horrors of war they witnessed or were subjected to so many years ago.

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Bryan Blanthorn - Courtesy photo

Pictured above: Bryan Blanthorn, survivor of the USS Indianapolis. Courtesy photo


Beginning in 2005, Newman published her first story, that of Bryan Blanthorn, a Grouse Creek native who was a Gunner’s Mate on the USS Indianapolis. He was one of 317 of the 1,196-man crew who survived four days at sea in shark infested water after their ship was destroyed.

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Kimiko and Jim Tazoi - Courtesy photo

Pictured above: Kimiko and Jim Tazoi, she was interned during the war while he battled for freedom overseas. Courtesy photo


It was followed by the incredible survival story of a Bear River Valley couple, both overseas and right here at home, that of Jim and Kimiko Yagi Tazoi. Japanese Americans both, he was a radioman with the 3rd Battalion, 442d Regiment and she was interned in a camp in Poston, Arizona.


He was severely wounded several times, coming home to months of recovery while bearing the Distinguished Service Cross. Back in the states, Kim had to endured scorn, suspicion and the loss of the California lifestyle she had come to know.

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Ace Christensen - Courtesy photo

Charlie Goodliffe - Courtesy photo

Pictured above: Charlie Goodliffe and Ace Christensen, above, were both prisoners of war for more than three and a half years. Courtesy photos


Newman added three more stories through the years: The well-known tale, at least locally, of Ace Christensen, who spent nearly four years as a captive POW during the war and that of fellow prisoner, Charlie Goodliffe. Christensen called Elwood home, while Goodliffe hailed from Park Valley.


There is Deweyville’s Darrell Loveland and his story as a member of Carlson’s Raiders, a group of Marines referred to as the Suicide Patrol, a man who often dug the graves of his fellow Marines. Lastly is the tale of Dale W. Young of Perry, an Army Medical Technician, who “went to war without a gun” but who helped treat concentration camp survivors.

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Dale Young - Courtesy photo

Dale Young - Courtesy photo

Pictured above: Dale Young didn't carry a gun but a medical bag, helping save lives, while Marine Daryl Loveland, above, marched with the Suicide Patrol, often digging graves for those who lost theirs. Courtesy photos