Sergeant Cecil Leonard Lee
U. S. Marine Corps

Ser. # 340734

October 5, 1921 - July 27, 1944
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
Honolulu, Hawaii

Gold Star Mother
Vera B. Thomas Lee

 

 


Sergeant Cecil Leonard Lee, United States Marine Corps, [October 5, 1921 – July 27, 1944] was born to Gus Lee [October 26, 1897 – July 13, 1976] and Vera B. (Thomas) Lee [August 30, 1904 – June 15, 1995] at Louise, Wharton County, Texas. Sometime after 1930 the family moved to the Blessing, Matagorda County area, where he graduated from Blessing High School with the Class of 1938. Answering the call of his country for military volunteers following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps shortly after the attack.  He first went to Camp Elliot, San Diego, California for his basic training, then was assigned to the 9th Marine Regiment (Striking 9th), 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. The division echeloned into Auckland, New Zealand between January and March 1943.  In June of that year they moved on to Guadalcanal for additional training.  September 27, 1943 saw the division land as part of the Battle of Bougainville and fight on the island until their last unit to arrive, the 21st Marine Regiment, embarked on January 9, 1944.  During the course of the battle the division had approximately 400 Marines killed.  They returned to Guadalcanal in January 1944 to rest, refit and train.  The next operation the division took part in was the Battle of Guam. From July 21, 1944 until the last day of organized fighting on August 10, the division fought through the jungles on the island of Guam.  During these 21 days of fighting, the division captured over 60 square miles of territory, and killed over 5,000 enemy soldiers.  The next two months saw continuous mopping up operations in which the Marines continued to engage left over Japanese forces.  At the end of the battle the division had sustained 677 Marines killed, 3,626 wounded and 9 missing.  Proud Marines would later call it “one hell of a fight.”  During this operation, just after the Battle of Fonte Plateau, July 25 – 26th, (the plateau was defended by a full battalion of Japanese troops), Cecil was Killed in Action on July 27th during a Japanese counter attack, which failed.  He was first buried at Guam Cemetery #3, Agana, Guam.  After his parents declined to have his remains repatriated to the United States he was transferred to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii where he was interred in Plot E, Grave 76.  His family was living in Blessing, Texas when he was killed, and he was survived by his parents, Gus and Vera and one brother, Melvin.  On April 24, 1948 a new American Legion post was instituted at Blessing and was named in Cecil’s honor – the Cecil Lee American Legion Post 649, which is still very active today.
 


KILLED IN ACTION


Sgt. Cecil Lee of Blessing, has been reported killed in action, according to a telegram received by the youth's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gus Lee of Blessing.

The telegram gave no details and it stated--"in order to keep the enemy uninformed as to the happenings the name of the ship on which their son was stationed could not be revealed, and also that the body had been given temporary burial." The family expects to receive further information in a promised letter that was to follow the telegram.

Cecil Lee entered the service of his country in December, 1941, shortly after Pearl Harbor. He received his training in Camp Elliott, Calif., and had been serving overseas for 18 months, He had engaged in several operations and had recently written his younger brother, Melvin, that he was getting ready to shove off on another campaign. That is supposedly the one in which he lost his life.

Cecil graduated from Blessing high school in 1938. He was very popular with his classmates, faculty and community.

He is survived by his parents, one brother, Melvin, and a number of aunts and uncles of El Campo and Louise

Matagorda County Tribune, September 14, 1944



Pictures and article courtesy of Evelyn Glaze.


 

Temporary burial at Guam Cemetery #3, Agana, Mariana Islands

 



THE SOLEMN PRIDE
THAT MUST BE YOURS
TO HAVE LAID
SO COSTLY A SACRIFICE
UPON THE ALTAR
OF FREEDOM

Pictures from the
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
courtesy of Daniel Davila
Acres of Honor

 


BLESSING COLUMN

GOLD STAR MOTHER, MRS. GUS LEE, IS HONORED AT LEGION AUX. OPEN HOUSE

By Miss Theoplis O'Neal

The auxiliary to Cecil Lee Post 649 held open house at the Legion Hall Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to honor their Gold Star Mother, Mrs. Gus Lee.

Spring flowers decorated the hall, and the refreshment table was laid with a linen cloth centered with an arrangement of spring flowers. A cake beautifully decorated with large gold stars and yellow roses and crystal bowl for punch completed the table arrangement. Several games were played. The prizes were sent to V.A. Hospital, Houston for the Gift Shop. Fifty-eight people were present.

Mrs. F. J. Hurta, president, welcomed the guests, and served the cake, Mrs. A. M. Logan served punch. Mrs. L. M. Pierce, Mrs. Melvin Lee and Mrs. A. R. Matthes were the hostess committee.

Transcribed by MaryFrances Flournoy from the Palacois Beacon (a newspaper published in Matagorda County, Texas) Page 8, dated Thursday, the 15th of May of 1958
 


Vera Lee


Vera B. Lee, 90, of Blessing died Thursday, June 15, 1995.

 

She was born Aug. 30, 1904, in Wharton County to Thomas and Emma F. Brown Thomas. She was a homemaker and a member of the American Legion.

 

Mrs. Lee is survived by three step-grandchildren; eight step-great-grandchildren and two step-great-great-grandchildren.

 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Gus Lee; parents; sons, Cecil and Melvin Lee; four sisters and five brothers.

 

Services will be four p. m. today at Wheeler Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Ron Lynn officiating.

 

Burial will follow at Garden of Memories Cemetery with Wheeler Funeral Home of El Campo handling arrangements.

 

El Campo Leader-News, June 17, 1995

 


LEE

Gus Lee, 78, a farmer and rancher in the Blessing area died Tuesday July 13, 1976 at Nightingale Hospital in El Campo. He was born near Weimar October 28, 1897. He is survived by his widow Vera, and one son, Melvin, both of Blessing. Services were held Thursday July 15, 1976 at 10 a.m. in the Wheeler Funeral Home Chapel. Pallbearers included Donald Glaze, Joe Johs, Albert Wenglar, Edwin Wenglar, Curtis Wofford, and Jack Thomas. Burial was in the Garden of Memories Cemetery, El Campo with Reverend Clifford Weise officiating.

The Daily Tribune, July 19, 1976

 

 

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National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Pictures © Daniel Davila

This page was created
Jan. 24, 2006
This page was updated
Feb. 16, 2009
   

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