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
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
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 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
She was preceded in death by her
husband, Gus Lee; parents; sons, Cecil and Melvin Lee; four sisters
and five brothers.
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
El Campo Leader-News, June
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
The Daily Tribune, July 19, 1976