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Fireman First Class George Melvin Fondon
U. S. Navy
Ser. # 03603400

June 28, 1923 - July 26, 1944
Tablets of the Missing
Manila American Cemetery
Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines

Memorial Marker at
Cedarvale Cemetery
Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

Gold Star Mother Audry Inez Stanley Fondon

Fireman First Class George Melvin Fondo, U.S. Navy Submarine Service [June 28, 1923 - July 26, 1944} was born to Aaron A. Fondon [May 10, 1881 - January 28, 1939] and Audry Inez (Standley) Fondon [May 24, 1893 - September 23, 1968] at Sexton Community, Matagorda County, Texas.  George attended school at the Sexton School as well as Bay City schools.  Following his graduation he joined the U.S. Navy.  After completing submarine training at the U.S. Navy Submarine School, New London, CT and receiving his dolphins he was assigned to the USS Robalo (SS-273).  Roballo under Commander M.M. Kimmel, departed Fremantle on June 22, 1944 to conduct her third war patrol in the South China Sea in the vicinity of the Natuna Islands.  After traversing Makassar and Balabac Straights, she was to arrive on station about July 6th and stay there until dark on August 2, 1944.  On July 2nd, a contact report stated Robalo had sighted a Fuso-class battle ship with air cover and two destroyers for escort, just east of Borneao.  No other messages were received from Robalo and when she did not return from patrol, she was reported as presumed lost.  The following information was received via the Philippine guerrillas and a U.S. Navy enlisted man who was a prisoner of war at Puerto Princessa Prison Camp, Palawan, P.I.  On August 2, 1944, a note dropped from the window of the prison cell in which survivors from  Robalo were held was picked up by an American soldier in a work detail and given to H.D. Hough, Y2c, USN, another prisoner.  On August 4, Hough contacted Mrs. Trinidad Mendosa, wife of guerrilla leader Dr. Mendosa, who furnished further information on the survivors.  From these sources he put together the following facts:  Robalo was sunk July 26, 1944, two miles off the western coast of Palawan Island as a result of an explosion in her after battery.  Four men swam ashore, an officer and three enlisted men: Samuel L. Tucker, Ens.; Floyd G. Laughlin, Qm1c; Wallace K. Martin, SM3c; and Mason C. Poston, EM2c.  They made their way through the jungles to a small barrio northwest of the Puerto Princesa camp.  They were captured there by Japanese Military Police, and confined in the jail.  They were held for guerrilla activities rather than as prisoners of war, it is said.  On August 15, 1944, a Japanese destroyer evacuated them, and nothing further is known of their destination or whereabouts.  The Japanese may have executed them or the destroyer may have been sunk.  At any rate, they were never recovered , and their note stated there were no other survivors.  It is doubted that a battery explosion could be sufficiently violent to cause the sinking of the ship; more likely Robalo struck an enemy mine. Along with his shipmates, George’s remains were not recovered.  He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.  At the time of his death he was survived by his Mother: Audry; his brother: Earl; and three sisters: Mrs. Beulah Whitley, Mrs. Elsie Sterry and Mrs. Ivy Rouse.  A memorial marker commemorating his service and death was placed at the foot of his parents' graves at Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City, Texas.


FONDON, MRS. AUDRY, 75, resident of Matagorda County since 1914, died Monday at the Oak Manor Rest Home in El Campo. She is survived by one son, Earl Fondon; three daughters, Beulah Whitley, Elsie Sterry and Ivy Rouse. One son, Melvin, was killed in World War II. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Bay City. Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Taylor Bros. Funeral Chapel, with the Rev. Lloyd Nickson, pastor of the first Presbyterian Church of El Campo, and the Rev. Michael Clute, pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church of El Campo, officiating. Interment will be in Cedar Vale Cemetery, under the direction of Taylor Bros. Funeral Home.

The Daily Tribune, September 24, 1968

A. A. Fondon

Mr. A. A. Fondon, age 57 years, passed away at his home southwest of Bay City, Saturday morning at 5:45 a.m.

Mr. Fondon is survived by his wife, three daughters, Mrs. Beulah Watkins, Mrs. Elsie Sterry, Mrs. Ivy Rouse, two sons, Earl and Melvin and other relatives.

Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at Walker-Matchett Funeral Home, Rev. R. E. Connell officiating, burial was in Cedarvale Cemetery.

The Daily Tribune, January 30, 1939


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Jan. 28, 2006
Jan. 18, 2009