THE RARE BREED
Recognizing Area Veterans Of World War II
Jimmie Flores, Jr. Saw Duty
In Philippines Liberation
Jimmie Flores in 1943-44
Jimmie Flores, Jr., doesn't exactly remember what he was doing when he heard the news of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, but he was 17 and living in Palacios, where he had been born on Feb. 10, 1924.
The son of Jimmie and Otila Solis Flores, Sr. was inducted into the Army on Feb. 22, 1943 in Houston and reported for duty on March 1 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Here is a report on Jimmie's civilian-soldier service to his country, in his own words:
"After basic training at Miami Beach, Fla., I was sent to Abilene, Texas with the Army Air Force. While there I was sent to Palacios with a refueling unit. We had 12 P47 Thunderbolts on gun retraining.
"Then, I was sent to Hamilton Field, Calif., with the Air Transport Command. After being there a short while, the Army needed people with previous infantry training, so I was sent to Camp Maxi at Paris, Texas for a six-week refresher course.
"While there I was an acting Sergeant and was offered a job as drill instructor. They were using my squad to teach jungle fighting, village fighting and close combat. I turned it down in order to be shipped overseas.
"I left for overseas on May 17, 1945. First, I was on the island of Leyte in The Philippines then was transferred to Mindanao Island with the 31st Infantry Division.
"The 31st was on rest camp when I arrived, but we still had a few skirmishes as went out on patrol looking for Japanese soldiers.
"The good Lord was with me, because we did come into contact with the enemy, but we made it all right..
"Again, I was lucky, because my combat duty was short. We were on the way to relieve a regiment that was in combat, but some officers came by and told us to get out of the trucks. The war was over, the atomic bomb had been dropped. I was lucky the good Lord was with me once again, because we were supposed to be one of the first divisions to invade Japan.
"Little did we know at the time, but there were a few thousand Japanese troops still on Mindanao. When they surrendered it looked like they still wanted to fight, but I guess all the fight was out of them.
"My division came home, but I did not because I didn't have enough points to qualify to go. So, I was transferred to an ordnance company, where I was an automotive parts clerk.
"I departed from overseas on Feb. 27, 1946 and arrived in the States on March 31, 1946. After three years, three months and 15 days, I was discharged on April 6, 1946 at Fort Sam Houston with the rank of Corporal T5.
"After being home a short while, I opened a business in El Campo, where I met my lovely wife, Amparo (Pie) Moreno. We were married on June 24, 1947. We were blessed with two lovely boys, Jimmie and Johnnie, and a daughter, Ernestine Silvas . We have had six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren."
For his service in the South Pacific Campaign and southern Philippines Liberation, Jimmie was awarded the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Campaign Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon and the Victory Ribbon.
Mr. Flores died in June 2003 at the age of 79.
Jimmie Flores, 2002
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