Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 121
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Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War II Dead
Nimitz launched the Central Pacific offensive, which greatly increased the chances of
both marines and sailors being killed. It should not be overlooked that such increased
activity also contributed to a rise in non-combat deaths. The large-scale induction and
training of American troops created a situation where training itself became a hazardous
duty. In fact, at least three Colorado County men were killed in training accidents in
1943. In 1942, only seven men associated with Colorado County are known to have died
from any cause. In 1943, the number would be sixteen.
Flight Officer Frank J. Krejci, Jr.
October 6, 1919 - January 15, 1943
The first fatal training accident involving a Colorado County man killed Frank
J. Krejci, Jr., of Weimar. Krejci, born October 6, 1919 to Frank J. and Tillie Krejci, was
a 1937 graduate of Weimar High School and had attended the University of Texas for
two years. Krejci enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1939. On January 2, 1943, he married
Lillian Oncken. Two weeks later, on January 15, 1943, he was killed in a plane crash
at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. He had been taking off on a night practice flight in a medium
bomber when it dipped down and turned over. Five members of the crew were killed;
two survived. His sister, Tillie, remembers that several of the same type planes crashed
around the same time, and that they were recalled and improved shortly afterward.23
Krejci was the first reported war casualty from the Weimar area who had died
from something other than natural causes. As such, his death and funeral received
extensive coverage in the Weimar Mercury. Though the war had been going on for over
a year, the death of a local boy in it was still novel, and the citizens of Weimar really turned
out to show their concern and sympathy. Krejci's well-attended funeral service was
followed by his burial in the Weimar Masonic Cemetery. He was survived by his wife of
two weeks, his parents, one brother, Joe Krejci, and four sisters, Tillie Helmcamp, Mrs.
Andrew Braikovich, Mrs. Julius Suler and Viola Krejci. In tribute to Krejci, the Mercury
printed the Edgar Guest poem, "Sacrifice." His tall gravestone contains both a photo of
Krejci in flight gear and the inscription "he was the sunshine of our home."24
Lt. John Blasdel Westmoreland
July 20, 1920 - January 26, 1943
That there was serious danger in training would soon again be demonstrated
to the people of Colorado County. The death of John Blasdel Westmoreland, also during
training, shocked his hometown of Eagle Lake, and, since it followed the similar death
of Krejci so closely, caused a stir throughout the county. Westmoreland was born July
20, 1920 in Eagle Lake, the son of R. Thomas and Lizzie Blasdel Westmoreland. He was
a 1937 graduate of Eagle Lake High School, and had been named the outstanding male
athlete at the school in 1937. He later attended the University of Texas. According to
Fred Hoeninghaus, he and Westmoreland roomed together at the university, and were
23 Weimar Mercury, January 15, 1943, January 22, 1943.
24 Weimar Mercury, January 22, 1943.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995, periodical, September 1995; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151395/m1/13/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.