Doughboys of World War I fame were pinned down in a “trench” Saturday to provide artist Dale Gordon the opportunity to create a scene he plans on replicating as part of the upcoming World War I mural that will grace the Bedquarters wall in downtown Manteca.
It is the fifth and final mural honoring those who have served in wars since Manteca’s incorporation as a city in 1918. It will be dedicated as part of the city’s 100th anniversary. The Manteca Mural Society has already completed murals for World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror. It is believed to be the biggest mural project in one location in California that honors veterans.
Retired Manteca mailman Ron Cruz will be portrayed as Sergeant Cruz in the mural, leading the soldiers, according to Gordon. Cruz also serves as the project supervisor of the Manteca Mural Society and serves as liaison to the Manteca VFW Post 6311 and the American Legion Post 249.
Teen boys decked out in World War I uniform garb advanced up the side of a trench midway between Cottage Avenue and Highway 99 to allow Gordon to photograph them.
The teens included:
Michael Carroll, great nephew of the late Brock Elliott who was the first of 18 Manteca men to die in Vietnam and who has an elementary school named in his honor.
Diego Juarez, another relative of Brock Elliott.
Levi Huffman, Spencer Bramell, and Lance Dorrett of Manteca Boy Scout Troop 438.
Caleb Peterson and Jeff Wynn of Boy Scout Troop 441.
The picture groupings were taken in two sets due to limited World War I uniforms and weapons that were purchased in San Francisco. The muralists plans to take both set of photos and gang them together for the final charge of the troops into the enemy lines.
The uniforms they wore were authentic, according to Cruz, as were the rifles and bayonet they carried to “meet” advancing Germans.
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