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Veterans reunite 68 years after war

By: Stephanie Breitbart, Auburn Journal
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Tuesday marked the 68th anniversary of the day the 184th Infantry gathered at the Gold Country Fairgrounds prior to World War II and for the past 20 years, the surviving members have reunited in Auburn for a lunch and a good time. On March 3, 1941, 67 members of the 184th Infantry, including Duane Whaley, 84, Anthony Trabakoolas, 85, Allen Bill Butler, 86, and George Voyiatzes, 96 met at the Auburn fairgrounds and headed to a camp in San Luis Obispo where they stayed until the war broke out on Dec. 7, 1941. From San Luis Obispo, members of the Infantry were sent to the Pacific and were stationed in the Aleutian Islands, Kwajalein Islands, Philippine Island, Guadalcanal, New Britain and Okinawa. Out of the original 67 members, 20 were killed in World War II and currently nine remain living. Tuesday’s gathering at Sierra Grill included five World War II veterans, Whaley, Trabakoolas, Butler, Voyiatzes and Richard Hubbard, a member of the firefighting battalion of the Fifth Army. All five veterans attended Placer High School before their deployment. Four of the five veterans still remain in Auburn or nearby communities, while Whaley traveled from Corona to make the annual reunion. The local veterans and friends and family of the group, including Evelyn Hubbard and Ruth Daniels who were present at Tuesday’s lunch, meet the fourth Friday of each month for a lunch social. Eveyln Hubbard says not one of those lunches goes by where they don’t talk about history and the experiences they had during the years they served the country.