Post 649 Blessing, Texas

Post 649

Blessing, Texas

Post 649 Blessing, Texas

About This Post

Post Namesake
The Cecil Lee American Legion Post 649, Blessing, Texas was chartered on April 24, 1948 and named in honor of Sgt. Cecil L. Lee, USMC who was killed in action during the invasion of Guam on July 27, 1944. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii. The post is still active in the community. 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 fro 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 ofFonte 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, Agama, 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
Notable Members
The Post was chartered by the National Organization on April 12, 1948, and by the State Organization on April 24, 1948. There were 51 Charter Members of the Post, R. W. Ackerman, E. R. Adams JR, Fredrick W. Bauman, Joseph P. Bearrich, Oscar Bennett, Joseph W. Bauman, Leslie L. Chiles, W.D. Dannels, Steve J. Dornek, Joseph Dedak, William B. Duffy, Charles E. Ebert, Elroy J. Hahn, Oscar F. Havlik, Johnnie M. Hornisher, Louis A. Hurta, William A, James, William G. King. George F. Knebel, Ernest L. Koch, Robert W. Koch, Melvin Lee, Aldebert M. Logan, Frank E, Matthes, Russel A Matthes, Frank A. McBride, Rene FaFayette Mood, Homer Morris, Tony Ondracek, William H. Parrish, Frank J. Phillipe, Lee M Pierce, Clyde S. Quinn, Wallace L. Rickaway, Thomas W. Roberts, Victor W. Roberts, Wyatt O. Selkirk, Albert A. Siegfried, John A. Sliva, Myron A. Spree, Edward E. Swinkey, Cyril G. Tobola, Jim F. Tobola, Victor J. Tobola, Willie R. Tupa, Abner M. Ussery, Franklin J. Vavra, Alvert A. Watzlavik, Steve J. Watzlavik, Everett R. Wharton & Roy E. Williams. All of the above men were veterans of World War 11 except for Col. Wyatt O. Selkirk, who served on General Pershing’s Staff during World War 1.
What Makes this Post Unique
Actually we are the second American Legion Post to be formed in Blessing. Some veterans of World War 1, headed by Col. Wyatt O. Selkirk formed American Legion Post #209 in 1933 with only 15 members and this post soon died from lack of participation