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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Famous People from Bailey County Texas
Roy H Elrod
Lt. Col. Roy Holland ElrodBorn June 23, 1919, north of Muleshoe, Texas, Roy was the first child of a pioneer Bailey County farming and ranching couple. His father died when he was 4 years old and Roy was forced to grow up fast, learning how to work hard at a very young age.

While attending Muleshoe High School, Roy first met and fell in love with Malda Chandler. After graduating from high school, Roy attended Texas A&M for 2 years. In 1940 he enlisted in the Marines.

A few years later his unit, the 8th Marine Regiment, went into the fight at Guadalcanal, where he commanded a platoon of 37 mm gunners. They endured Japanese attacks, malarial tropical weather, and starvation rations. His combat leadership earned him a Silver Star and a battlefield promotion.

On D-Day at Tarawa his platoon waded their 37 mm cannons ashore, each weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, through half a mile of bullet-laced surf to get to an island where the killing never stopped. His was the only platoon to get its guns ashore and into action that first day. At Saipan, Elrod commanded a platoon of 75 mm halftracks, but he was riddled with shrapnel from an enemy artillery shell that took him out of the war.

Lt Col Roy H Elrod in uniformAfter that, he led a battalion of anti-tank guns ashore through withering fire onto the beaches of Tarawa. All four of his guns made it into action and played a pivotal roll in knocking out the command headquarters.

His last, and final, combat was at Saipan, where he was severely wounded by Japanese artillery fire. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his action at Saipan, and on the 70th anniversary of the battle, returned to the island, along with other Marines, to a hero’s welcome.

After recovering from his wounds, Roy made his way as quickly as he could to Galveston, Texas, where Malda was working at the time. They were married on December 21, 1944 and enjoyed 64 years of marriage, making 3 trips around the world, before Malda passed away in 2008.

After the war, Roy went on to complete a storied career in the Marines, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.

After his military service, Roy enjoyed a very successful construction career, building numerous hospitals, schools and developments throughout the D.C. area.

Lt. Col. Roy Holland Elrod, USMC (Ret.), 97 passed away peacefully on December 17, 2016 at his home in Fredericksburg Texas.

Lt. Col. Elrod's account of his time with the marines at Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Saipan is on our list of "Books about Bailey County People and Places"

Resources:

We Were Going to Win, Or Die There by Roy h. Elrod (Amazon)

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