The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

James Woodrow Lee, Louis Kendrick


December 6, 2005

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

James Woodrow Lee

Date of birth: Sept. 30, 1916

Dates of service: January 1943 to June 1946

Hometown: Portales

Lives in: Portales

Theater and location of service: Germany

Branch: Army

Rank: Private 1st Class

Unit and specialty: 29th Infantry Division, communication

In his words: Lee was shot in the leg while trying to repair telephone lines in Germany under the cover of dark.

He was working with another soldier at the time, who asked Lee if he could make it back to the unit.

“I told him to run. ... but (I) couldn’t.”

Crawling back to the unit with broken bones in his foot, his friend managed to get help. A lieutenant and another soldier returned for Lee and together they got into the basement of a house. The bones in his leg shattered from the gun shot, Lee struggling to get down the stairs.

Once it was safe, Lee was put into a jeep and taken to the hospital. After receiving treatment in Europe he was sent to California where a bone graft was done to repair his leg.

Healed, Lee attended college using his GI bill and returned to Portales, working as an accountant until retirement.

Louis Kendrick

Date of birth: July 30, 1926

Dates of service: 1943 to 1969

Hometown: Becker, Miss.

Theater and location of service: South Pacific

Branch: Navy, Air Force and Army.

Rank: Captain

Unit and specialty: LSM 480, cook

Lives in: Portales

Veterans organizations: VFW

In his words: He was the last of five brothers to serve.

“From the time my first brother went in, that was the thing I wanted to do. I just wanted to go — I’m not sorry that I went.”

Serving as a cook on a LSM (Landing Ship Medium), Kendrick said “baked beans and cinnamon rolls became a Saturday morning breakfast tradition for the Navy men.

“It was pretty good. You got to looking forward to it.”

Once the invasion of Okinowa was under way, the ship became a transporter, taking the wounded to the larger hospital ships anchored farther out. Pulling up to the beach, cargo and supplies would be unloaded and then wounded soldiers would be brought onboard.

“It was pretty bad. You just do the best you can. It was something that if I’d had a choice, I wouldn’t have wanted to see it.”

Following his service in World War II, Kendrick re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps, staying in the military until retirement.

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail:

[email protected]


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