The Friends of Netarts Bay, Watershed, Estuary, Beach and Sea (WEBS), the non-profit environmental education organization based in Netarts, has a website www.netartsbaytoday.org that describes the natural and human history of the Netarts area. Within our website is a “Contact Us” page where we receive comments and emails. Recently, we got an intriguing message from a Peter Bauss in Germany about an old Zippo lighter and a former resident of Netarts who apparently served in the Navy aboard the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard during or just after WWII. Here is his letter with a few minor edits because English is not his native language:
My name is Peter Bauss and I live in Germany in the Odenwald not far from Heidelberg. I have an old Zippo lighter I bought on a motorcycle trip in the states back in 1993 in an antique shop. For 26 years it was forgotten in a closet. Now it popped up again, and I gave this lighter to my son who is thirteen. He found out there is some worn out inscription on it which I didn’t notice. So, we did Google a bit and did some detective work. The original owner was from Netarts, Oregon and must have been crew member of USS Bon Homme Richard cv-31 Aircraft Carrier. He must have been in the Japan mission (ca. 1945-1946) because there is a picture from Japan on the front side. We cannot find a name because the inscription is too worn out. As Netarts is a small community, maybe one of the elder people knows who it could have been. There should not be too many candidates for that. Or perhaps you can forward the mail to the right person. Maybe there is still family living in Netarts who are interested in the lighter as a souvenir of their grandpa. Would be interesting to find out more. My son Oliver is very excited.
Thank you. Best regards from Germany
The letter sparked considerable interest among members of our group, and we agreed to help with his search. If anyone has any information regarding the ownership of the Zippo lighter or knows of a family member or friend who served aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard during the late 1940s, please email us at Webspresident@aol.com, or leave a message in our message box. You can also call Jim Young at 503-801-7335.