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World War II Service
13 June 1944 | Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Lee Earl Hefley enlisted in WWII on 13 June 1944 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas at the age of 27. He was married with one son 21 months old and his wife Irene was three months pregnant. Lee enlisted because he "wanted to help save his country." Lee was colorblind but passed anyway. He joined the paratroopers because they made $50 more a month. Lee came home on a surprise leave in December of 1944 and his new daughter was born that night.
Lee went to basic training and was assigned to Co. A, 156 Battalion, 92d, Training Regimont, Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Hood, Texas.
In January 24, 1945 Lee was in paratrooper training at Fort Benning, Georgia in the 2d Prcht Tng Regt.
"As the story goes," Lee's paratrooper group was putting on an exhibition for the president’s wife. The pilot let them off on the wrong side of the mountain. Lee's parachute caught in a tree and the jar made him go blind. He was in the hospital in Georgia where a young Doctor operated on his eyes and he got his sight back. His wife Irene never knew anything about this until he came home. For years he had to wear dark green glasses.
(I haven't been able to verify any information on this, I wrote for Lee's military record and it was destroyed in the fire.)
After that Lee transferred to training for Remote Control Turret Mechanic at Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado. His training was from 16 May 45 - 12 Sept 45.
The family says Lee worked for the rescue crew in the Everglades of Florida. They would go into the swamps and pick up planes and people after a crash. On one run into the swamp, Lee got to the plane and it was a relative. It may have been one of Henry Simpsons sons.
I have a letter written to Lee from his sister dated 15 December 1945 and addressed to Cpl Lee E Hefley 37745943, Sqd C box 198, Tyndell Field, Panama City, Florida.
Lee Hefley separated from the military on 4 June 1946 from Sep Cen CP Shelby Mississippi. He was in the 308th AAFBU. (Army Air Forces Base Unit)
He received ATO med: good cond med; World War II Vic med. He served 1 year 11 months and 22 days with no foreign service. His highest grade was Corporal.
31 January 1980 | Downs, Osborne Co., Kansas
From the Downs News & Times Thursday, January 31, 1980 (Kansas)
Lee Hefley retired January 25 after 25 years as a rural mail carrier in Downs, his last delivery being at the LeaRoy Wolfe home in the west part of Downs. Lee jokingly said he planned to sleep til noon and seriousy added he was so far behind in his work he didn't know where to start. Lee has hobbies of woodworking, wood carving, hunting, fishing, observing wildlife and most outdoor sports.
Lee said, "I'm just going to stay by the fire and watch it snow for awhile then we'll probably take off in the spring for awhile." Lee said he really appreciated his patrons over the years. "They've always helped me when I needed it and I think they always would." he concluded. Henry Mertz has been the substitute for Lee for 20 years. Lee said he has been very faithful, always ready when he needed him and that was worth a lot to him.
21 February 1980 | Downs, Osborne Co., Kansas
From The Downs News & Times Thursday, February 21, 1980 (Kansas)
Members of the Downs Volunteer Fire Department are shown with a brand new fire truck just recently purchased. Members of the department present for this meeting were Dan Montgomery, Dennis Reed, Thaine Streit, Ted Schreiber, Art Tucker, Dennis Muck, Dave Goheen, Lee Hefley, LeRoy Brees, Bill Meyer, Kenny Williams, Curtis Tetlow, Don Albrecht, Clyde Blide and Jim Hart.
This group meets for special drill and informative meetings and answer the fire call promptly, leaving their places of business or homes instantly when the call is received. The truck, a 1979 demonstrator with 2500 miles was received in December.
19 September 1993 | Downs, Osborne Co., Kansas
"Lee Earl Hefley was born May 22, 1917, to John H. and Grace Simpson Hefley. He passed away September 19, 1993 at Parkview Care Center, Osborne, Kansas. Lee was born in the Rose Valley Community and was a life long resident of Downs, Kansas and graduated from Downs High School in 1935. Lee and Thressa Irene Stegman were married August 31, 1940 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Cawker City, Kansas. Two children were born to this union: a son Eddie Lee and a daughter Janie Suzanne. Lee was a veteran of World War II and a retired rural letter carrier of the Downs Post Office. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting and fishing. He was a member of the Picnic ants and U.S. Center Sam's Camping Clubs. He was honored as a master woodcarver by the National Woodcarvers Association of America. Lee's greatest pride was his family. His greatest joy was helping and teaching others. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Irene; a son Ed and wife Linda, Florida; a daughter Jane and husband Elson Kaufman of, Oklahoma; four grandchildren; six great grandchildren; a sister-in-law Jewell Reel; three neices and one nephew. Funeral services were held Wednesday, September 22, 1993, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Downs with Father Loren Werth officiating. Music was provided by organist Karla Neihouse, congregational singing included the songs, "On Eagles Wings," "Be Not Afraid," and "I Have Loved You." Those serving as pallbearers were David Goheen, Randy Dubbert, Doug Brush, Steve Hake, Gary Roe, and Kenneth Watts. Howard Hofer of VFW Post #1366 presented the American flag. Final resting place is the Downs Cemetery, Downs, Kansas. A memorial fund has been established to the Hospice of the Heartland."