RM3 Roy Lee AYERS, USN, MIA 02/01/1942, S/N 3562902
other crew members:
Maher, Frances Xavier, Jr. Lt. 0-075014 USN A35
Chitwood, Joe Capers. 2680067 USN AMMI
click here for Roy Lee AYERS Tribute in WWRM Forums
Service: USN, USS Yorktown, VT-5
Service #: 3562902
Date of Death: 02/01/1942 during the raid on Jaluit in the Marshall Gilbert Raids Aboard TDB-1 #1507
Hometown: Cisco, Texas
Awards: Purple Heart
He grew up in a tiny community and fallen in love and planned on coming home and marrying her. He lived inside city limits but he was mostly a country boy who was a great swimmer, knew how to hunt, fish, and very resourceful.
There will be a memorial service at Oakwood Cemetery in Cisco for Roy Lee Ayers, USN who was lost at sea in WWII.
There will be a Dedication of a Veterans Marker honoring Ayers, who is said to be the first person from Cisco to die in that War.
He was lost on Feb 1, 1942, in the Marshall Islands with an aircraft from the USS Yorktown. The official declaration death was made in 1946. Roy Lee Ayers’ marker will be erected between the graves of his father and mother. Earl and May Ayers. County Judge Scott Bailey will speak at the Ceremony with the Cisco Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in charge.
For Roy Lee’s sisters, Pearl Carson and Lloyd, the pain of loss will be combined with many fond memories. Along with the marker, they will see a bright, happy little brother.
Born Dec 13, 1921, Roy Lee was 14 years younger than Pearl. As the only son in the Ayers Family, he had a special place in their lives. The Ayers lived on East 10th Street and Roy Lee began school at East Ward.
When Pearl was in High School she drove a Model T and would drop him off at his school. She remembers that he was so quick to learn that he made the whole fourth grade in half of the year.
“And Roy Lee always had a lot of friends”, she says, “he liked people.”
She says that by the time Roy Lee was 10years old he became a paper carrier for the Cisco Daily News (forerunner of The Cisco Press) which was published at a building across from the Hilton Hotel.
In Junior High Roy Lee played on the Football Team, and enjoyed it a lot. “But, by the time he got into High School he felt he should go to work instead of spend his time on athletics,” Pearl Carson says, “times were hard. He thought he should help make his own way.”
While keeping up his grades at High School, Roy Lee Ayers took on more jobs. He worked for newspaperman O.H. Dick, continuing to make intown deliveries of newspapers, and also mailing out-of-town subscriptions at night. Besides that, he worked as a bell hop at the Laguna Hotel.
Mrs. Carson recalls that Roy Lee took all his jobs seriously, and became very upset over an incident involving the Cisco Daily News. One night, he labeled two or three papers for the mail-out. So he looked at the big presses and saw several papers still in the machine. He turned it on, thinking the papers would roll right out. Instead, the presses broke down – he had failed to turn on all the right switches. Roy Lee was crushed. He went to the little park just north of the post office and stayed there until about 4 a.m. About that time, his parents woke up and became very worried. But before his
father went out to find him, Roy Lee showed up, visibly shaken. “I don’t know whether I ever want to go back to work, or to school either!” he declared. But Roy Lee did go back, and told Mr. Dick what he had done.
Naturally, the newspaperman was a bit upset, especially when the “Daily News” had to shut down for two whole days. Parts had to be brought into town to repair the presses, but Roy Lee kept his job.
He graduated from Cisco High School, and enlisted in the Navy on June 7, 1940, leaving his home and a town he really cared for. Mrs. Carson says that Roy Lee’s hope in joining the Navy was to “learn things and better himself to get to go to school.”
He trained at San Diego, California, then was stationed on the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown. His first assignment was in the Atlantic, and he served as a radio operator.
On Dec 7, 1941, came the deadly attack on Pearl Harbor, America was not at war with Japan and Germany. Aircraft carriers, including the Yorktown, went through the Panama Canal into the Pacific. There they re-grouped for thrusts against Japan. Battles were fought in the open seas and around far-flung Islands.
Roy Lee was only 20 years old when he was lost in aircraft from the Yorktown.
“Losing him changed us all, but it was especially hard on our parents,” says Pearl Carson.
She explains that the family moved away during the War, and worked elsewhere for several years. They were all glad to get back, she adds.
For some time now the family has felt that Memorial Tribute should be made to Roy Lee – on of Cisco’s best and brightest. Instead of dimming his sacrifice, time only points out the magnitude of it. He went away with the highest of hopes, and never came back.
But memories of Roy Lee Ayers will return in a special way, Saturday afternoon in Oakwood Cemetery.