Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 123
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Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War II Dead
1943, after six months of fighting, Patch radioed Halsey, "Total and complete defeat of
Japanese forces on Guadalcanal effected today." The Japanese had finally withdrawn.28
PFC Paul Perry Hastedt
June 5, 1912 - January 29, 1943
Virtually at the end of the battle for Guadalcanal, Paul Perry Hastedt of
Columbus was killed in action. Hastedt became Columbus' first death of any sort in the
war, and he died a hero's death on foreign soil. Hastedt was the son of Henry A. and
Mamie Josephine Hahn Hastedt. He had entered the service on February 2, 1942, and
was killed on Guadalcanal just under a year later, on January 29, 1943. The first reports
of his death in the Colorado County Citizen stated that Hastedt was "likely killed in
fighting in the Solomon Islands." The facts later emerged. The marines on Guadalcanal,
being relieved by army units, were packing their gear to leave when the Japanese
launched a counterattack. The marines were canvassed for volunteers to reenter the
battle. Hastedt volunteered and was killed by a sniper.29
A memorial service was held at First Baptist Church in Columbus. The service
opened with singing of "America," the last verse being sung with bowed heads. Rev.
L. M. Chapman read a eulogy. The sermon was preached on the scripture "Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." In addition to his Purple
Heart and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal, Hastedt's mother received many letters of
condolence. Hastedt's chaplain wrote "You have reason to be proud of your son, Mrs.
Hastedt. He was honored by his officers and fellow Marines."30
It was not until 1948 that Hastedt's body was returned for burial in
Columbus. Appropriately, since he was the first Columbus man killed in the war, his body
was also the first of the overseas casualties to return to Columbus for burial. On March
18, 1948, the Colorado County Citizen announced "Guadalcanal Hero's Body Returns
Today" and reported that Mayor Enoch Edward Irwin had asked all Columbus businesses
to close so that all of the townspeople could pay their last respects to a man who gave
his life for his country. He was placed at rest at Columbus Odd Fellows Cemetery next
to his late father. The local Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 6113, which had already been
named in his honor, gave him a burial with full military honors.31
Tech. Sgt. Maurice Walter Parker
November 13, 1903 - February 12, 1943
Within weeks of the deaths of Krejci and Westmoreland, another Colorado
County man suffered an accidental death. This one, however, was just off the American
mainland, far from the theater of war. Maurice Parker was born November 13, 1903,
the son of G. W. Parker. Parker graduated from Eagle Lake High School in 1923 and
28 Richard Tregaski, Guadalcanal Diary (New York: Random House, 1943), p. 184.
29 Colorado County Citizen, February 11, 1943, December 21, 1943.
30 Colorado County Citizen, August 5, 1943, March 18, 1948.
31 Colorado County Citizen, March 18, 1948.
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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/m1/15/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.