Walter McPherson, Anton & Helen Nizich, Michael & Maxine Rainbolt, James & Rose Rainbolt ROTC Schola
Walter J. McPherson was born on June 3, 1917, in Crosby, North Dakota, to George McPherson and Agnes Tracy McPherson. He was one of five children. During the Depression, Walt served in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 to 1937. In 1937 he enlisted in the Army, where he served until 1940. The outbreak of World War II took Walt back into military service. He joined the Navy in 1943, serving as a turret gunner on PT Boat 254. The PT Boat was a small, wooden craft that carried enough firepower to sink a battleship, was faster than anything on the water, and could sneak right up to shore to perform reconnaissance or drop off troops. The crew consisted of about 14 men, one or two of whom were officers. What made the all-volunteer crew different was the breadth of their training. The crew members on a typical ship were trained in a specialty, and there were several crew members trained in the same job. Without the luxury of replacements, the crew of a PT Boat was trained to do every job on the boat, with one or two being their specialty. His boat patrolled the northern Pacific waters off the coast of Alaska. During his service in the Navy, he met Irene Renner, and they were married on June 21, 1944, in Seattle, Washington. Walt worked at several jobs following his service in the military. He started working for the Lucky Lager Brewing Company in Vancouver, Washington in 1955 and retired in 1979 from his position as Quality Control Engineer. Walt died on August 26, 1997. He loved to read and travel, and enjoyed boating, fishing, and spending time with his family. He and his wife, Irene, raised three daughters: Maxine, Marlene, and Maureen. Walt is survived by many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His service in the military stayed with him throughout his life. He had a great love for the PT Boats of World War II and later in life became active with helping perpetuate the history of these unique boats. Walt believed in the education of young men and women. Through the generous donations of his family and friends, this memorial scholarship benefits ROTC students of any major at Oregon State University and Western Oregon University.
James Rainbolt was born May 27, 1912 in Butler, Tennessee, the son of Alvin and Lilly Rainbolt. He was one of ten children. He enlisted in the Army in 1934 and served initially at Fort Monroe, Virginia. For most of his military career he served in antiaircraft units. No radar existed in the early part of his career, so aircraft had to be spotted visually. Master Sergeant Rainbolt had excellent vision, which served him well in all his antiaircraft assignments. Later in life, his vision allowed him to spot “ducks and pheasants from miles away.” On August 6, 1942, while stationed at Fort Totten, New York, he married Rose Miranda. In 1946 he served an assignment with the Military Police at Fort Bliss, Texas. Other training and antiaircraft assignments included Fort Sheridan, Illinois; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and Camp Maxey, Texas, where he was stationed at the end of World War II. From 1949 to 1951 he was stationed on Okinawa, where he served during the Korean Conflict. James retired from the Army in 1956 as a master sergeant after serving his last tour at Camp Hanford, Washington. His unit at Camp Hanford near Richland, Washington, was responsible for the security at the Hanford Atomic Works. Following retirement, he moved to Pasco, Washington, where he worked for the U.S. Army Reserve Center. Master Sergeant Rainbolt loved the outdoors of the Northwest and enjoyed hunting pheasant and ducks and fishing for bass and perch in Eastern Washington. Having been raised in the backwoods of Tennessee, he brought a unique skill to his son’s Boy Scout troop. He assisted in teaching scouts outdoor cooking, camping, marksmanship, and survival skills in the woods. One of his favorite places was the Boy Scout Camp at Lake Wallowa in Eastern Oregon. He was in his own element in the woods with a shotgun or on a lake with a fishing pole. He and his wife, Rose, moved from Pasco to the Seattle area in June 1976 to be close to their son, Alvin, and his family. There he became an avid sports fan and enjoyed watching the University of Washington Huskies, Seattle Mariners, and the Seattle Seahawks. He died at Stevens Memorial Hospital in Edmonds, Washington on February 16, 1996, at the age of 83. He was survived by his wife of fifty-three years, Rose, and his sons Michael and Alvin.