Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 5, Number 3, September, 1995 Page: 151
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Supreme Sacrifice: Colorado County's World War /I Dead
campaign being waged from the Marianas, the U. S. Navy began carrier-based bombing
raids against the main islands. Beginning July 10, 1945, Admiral Halsey sailed the Third
Fleet close enough to shell Japanese targets from his battleships. Shangri La was
engaged in these hit-and-run carrier raids from February to August 1945. On August 13,
Shirley's plane made a bombing run on Japan. On the return trip to the carrier, the plane
experienced engine trouble. As Shirley and the turret gunner, Harry M. Galloway,
huddled in the bilge, securing their parachutes and awaiting the order to bail out, the
captain, Richard Warren Paland, decided to try to set the plane down in the ocean.
Galloway clambered back up to his turret, and Paland set the plane down cleanly on very
rough water. Paland and Galloway soon scrambled onto a wing, where Paland began
inflating the life raft. Galloway spotted Shirley swimming beside the plane, and then
clinging to the tail, where he shouted for a life jacket. His own had failed to inflate, and
he was further hampered because he had not been able to remove his parachute harness.
Before Galloway could respond, the plane nosed into the ocean, and the rising tail struck
him in the head. He managed to regain the surface and get into the raft, but Shirley was
nowhere to be found. In a sad irony, the flight was the last mission that the crew was
destined to complete. The next day, August 14, 1945, Shangri La dispatched more
planes to bomb Japan, but recalled them with the news that Japan had accepted
America's surrender demands. Shirley was probably Colorado County's last casualty in
action during the war, and one of the last from anywhere.94
March 2, 1926 - March 23, 1946
Arthur Muehr, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Muehr, was born March 2,
1926, and was a member of the Catholic church. He entered the service at age 18, and
saw action overseas. When the war ended, he was in a hospital, confined with shell
shock. He died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Waco, Texas on March 23,
1946, several months after the cessation of hostilities. After a funeral service conducted
by Msgr. Joseph Szymanski at St. Michael Catholic Church in Weimar, Muehr was buried
in the church cemetery. He was survived by five sisters: Viola Muehr, Mrs. William Shaw,
Beatrice Muehr, Mrs. Henry Lee Grabow, and Mrs. Arthur Brune; and four brothers,
Richard, Leo, Lawrence, and Walter Muehr.95
Obviously, Muehr's name was not included on the War Department's list of
war dead, which had been issued in January 1946, two months before his death.
However, his was among the names on the original plaque at the courthouse. For many
purposes, including membership in the American Legion, December 7, 1941 is regarded
as the beginning of World War II and December 31, 1946 as the end; therefore, Muehr
is considered to have died during the war. His situation is identical to that of J. Dick
Woolridge, though Muehr ended up on the courthouse plaque and Woolridge did not.
94 Eagle Lake Headlight, September 14, 1945, October 5, 1945. Additional information was
supplied by Mrs. Orville Powers, the sister of Gerald Shirley.
95 Weimar Mercury, March 29, 1946.
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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/m1/43/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.