Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 133
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Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War /I Dead
two Japanese aircraft just past midnight on May 29, 1944. The first plane was shot
down and destroyed. The second was set afire, but its pilot was still able to crash it into
the ship. The plane exploded on impact, totally destroying Pawelek's battery. No trace
of Pawelek's body could be found, though three ships conducted a search. The navy
notified his family that, though they believed Pawelek had been killed, he would be listed
as missing in action for one year, unless, of course, his body was found in the interim.
It was not, and he was eventually reclassified as killed in action. Some time after the war
a monument was erected in his memory at the cemetery in New Bielau. The inscription
indicates that he died on May 29, 1945, a year after he was actually killed."4
S/Sgt. Jesse P. Yanez
Died June 5, 1944
Jesse P. Yanez was the son of Cayetano and Natividad Yanez of Eagle Lake.
He served in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 "Flying Fortress" tail gunner. Based in
southern Italy, Yanez' unit was on a bombing mission over Pioppi when, quite near the
target, his plane experienced such extensive damage from anti-aircraft fire that it crashed
on the return trip. As the plane descended, five men were seen to parachute out. Yanez
was consequently reported as missing on June 5, 1944. If any of the crew survived,
Yanez apparently was not among them. His body was never recovered. His parents
received a posthumous Purple Heart. Yanez was the only Hispanic man from Colorado
County to die during the war, and was survived by several brothers and sisters, all of
whom were younger than he. One of his brothers, Tiodoro Yanez, was serving with the
army in the Philippines at the time of his brother's death. He would name a son after his
late brother. This Jesse Yanez still lives in Eagle Lake.55
Lt. Weldon Davis Cauthan
February 19, 1917 - July 17, 1944
Little is known about Weldon Davis Cauthan. He was born February 19,
1917. On July 28, 1944, the Eagle Lake newspaper reported that Cauthan had been
missing since July 17. Though no specifics were provided, it was later confirmed that
he had been killed in action. Family sources relate that he was a navy pilot who was shot
down in action in the Pacific. He was survived by his wife, Gloria, grandmother, Mary
Davis, and aunt, A. F. Harbert. His mother, Christine D. Cauthan, had died in 1940, and
is buried in the same plot in the Eagle Lake Masonic Cemetery where a memorial marker
for her son stands.56
54 Weimar Mercury, July 20, 1945. Doris Albright, who provided additional information on Pawelek,
related how he had served in the African/Italian theaters, and had come home on furlough prior to going into
the Pacific. Albright believes that she was the last person in the county to talk to Pawelek before he went to
the Pacific, shortly before his death. She remembers that he was suffering from fatigue or shell-shock, and
stated that he probably should not have been sent into combat again.
55 Eagle Lake Headlight, July 27, 1945. Additional information was supplied by Angelita Yanez, the
wife of Tiodoro Yanez.
56 Eagle Lake Headlight, July 28, 1944, with additional information provided by Robert Samuel
Martin and Virginia Snelling.
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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/m1/25/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.