Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 146
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
Pvt. Leroy Joe Pavlik
February 19, 1923 - May 1, 1945
Leroy Joe Pavlik, who was born February 19, 1923 near Weimar, served in
the 1 st Marine Division, and, on May 1, 1945, became yet another casualty of the fierce
fighting on Okinawa. Little is known of Pavlik or of the circumstances of his death. The
Texas Veterans Commission lists him as a Colorado County man; however, a Leroy J.
Pavlik is included on the Fayette County Veterans Memorial Register. Probably, although
he was buried in St. Michael Cemetery, he ought to be considered a Fayette County
Seaman 1st Class James Boyd Harris, Jr.
January 18, 1927 - May 27, 1945
James Boyd Harris, Jr., was born in Eagle Lake on January 18, 1927, the
son of James Boyd "Jodie" and Alice Woolridge Harris. The elder Harris was a nineteen-
year army veteran who served in Europe during World War II, and his brother, Miller Ray
Westmoreland, served in the air force. Harris had attended school in Eagle Lake and was
a member of Mount Olive Baptist Church. Eager to follow in his father's military
footsteps, Harris lied about his age and managed to get into the navy at the age of fifteen.
According to Harris' sister, Mildred Faye Johnson, "Our parents did not want to let
James go, but he begged them to let him enlist, and they finally gave in." A. J. Williams,
whose wife Marlene was a first cousin to Harris, recalled that, "When the first boys came
back from the service in their snappy uniforms, everyone wanted to sign up."84
Johnson and Williams also related 'a poignant story about Harris' last trip
home. Although he had already been in the service for three years, when Harris was home
on leave for the last time he expressed grave reservations about returning to action.
Williams stated that Harris told them all that he would not be coming back. The family
gave him a party and, after midnight, put the young boy on a train at the Eagle Lake
station. Harris' premonition would be proven right. He would never see Eagle Lake again.
In the summer of 1944, he shipped out on the U. S. S. Braine, which sailed for the
Philippines by way of Pearl Harbor. It supported the landings in the Philippines, then took
part in the Okinawa operation. In June 1945, it was reported that Harris had been killed
in action on duty aboard ship in the South Pacific. The Braine had been struck by two
kamikazes on May 27, 1945 in the fighting off Okinawa. The news came to the family
on a Sunday night, after they got home from church. Just a few months past his
eighteenth birthday, Harris was probably Colorado County's youngest man to die in the
war, though, having entered the service at the age of fifteen, he was a three-year veteran
at the time of his death.
84 Eagle Lake Headlight, June 18, 1945.
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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/m1/38/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.