Aubrey Lee Benson

NO. 17971  •  13 December 1927 - 1 August 1950

Died August 1, 1950, at Colorado City, Texas aged 22 years


AUBREY LEE BENSON was born December 13, 1927 in Colorado City,Texas. He was the elder son of Mr. and Mrs. Aubrey C. Benson.

His life followed the usual pattern of a small‑town boy, except that he was unusually serious of purpose and deeply interested in learning. He was one of the honor students when graduated from grammar school, and also when graduated from Colorado City High School in May 1945. Immediately following graduation, he enrolled in the University of Texas and remained there until June 1946.

During his school years he gave much time and attention to Scouting and earned numerous merit badges. He was enthusiastic about all phases of school activities, and was popular with students and teachers because of his dependability, efficiency, and good fellowship. He loved athletic sports so much that he gave them the time they required; then put out of his mind all else and became completely absorbed in his studies as he had been in football, basketball, or tennis. One of his most admirable characteristics was his ability to do whatever task was his in the best possible manner, never being satisfied with anything half done, whether it be study, a game, or wrapping a Christmas package.

Through Congressman George Mahon of the Nineteenth District, Texas, Aubrey Lee was granted the privilege of taking the entrance examinations for West Point and entered the Academy in July 1946. He received the appointment with great humility and wrote his parents saying, "The credit is yours for my having this chance to realize an earnest desire and ambition to attend West Point. I am grateful for the  training I have had through the years. The thought of the responsibility that is mine almost frightens me. I shall give the best that is in me to be worthy of this honor".

Aubrey Lee was serious and conscientious, and adjusted himself to the discipline maintained at the Academy because he knew that every part of it would be helpful in the years ahead. He knew that being a good soldier meant more than drilling, and marching and fighting. It meant living in a man's world as men should live.

Upon graduation on June 6, 1950, Lee was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell. Ky., and was to have reported August 5, 1950 to Ft. Benning, Ga., for parachute jump training, after a sixty day leave with his family in Texas.

During his vacation at home, much of Lee's time was spent with the young men who had been his friends since his first grade in school. They laughed and talked of the fun they had had through the years and speculated on the future. Often their conversation was about the world situation, Army life, and life in general.

It was July 26, 1950 when the fatal automobile accident occurred that took Aubrey Lee from us. His mother and father were with him at the time. They and Don, his brother, were constantly at his bedside in the hospital until his death on the morning of August 1st. The very best medical and nursing care were given him. Captain Pheil, neuro‑surgeon of the General Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, came by plane and operated within a few hours after the accident, but the injury was so serious that it could not be overcome.

Lee's funeral was in Colorado City, Texas, in the First Baptist Church of which he had been a member since he was fifteen. Rev. R.Y. Bradford officiated. The church was filled with flowers and with the friends he loved so much. Honorary pall‑bearers were the boys from his high school graduating class. With military honors he was laid to rest in the Colorado City Cemetery. His grave is on a little knoll which overlooks the town and from which can be seen the tall poplar trees that grow near his home.

We can hardly believe that Lee is not still with us. We all feel a deep personal loss. His slow smile, his good humor, his kindness, and his seriousness of purpose endeared him to those with whom he came in contact. He was devoted to his family and their happiness was uppermost in his mind. His love for his mother was often expressed in little notes of appreciation which he would write at night after he finished studying. She would read them the next morning as she went about her work. The deep affection Lee and Don had for each other was unusual and beautiful. Lee was vitally interested in Don's every activity, and Don idolized "Buddy". The relationship between Lee and his Dad was more than that of a father and son. They were comrades and friends.

Aubrey Lee's life cannot be measured by the number of years that were allotted to him but by the things which were accomplished in that brief span. As we watched him unfold the pattern of his life, we were never disappointed, because he achieved at every turn what he set out to do.

One of his close friends who is now in the Army wrote this to his mother and dad, "I think about Lee quite a lot. When the going gets rough, I try to think as he did about it. No doubt there were times when he, too, was discouraged, but I know he decided to give it his very best, as he did everything. I would like to be the kind of soldier he was. Maybe he knows how hard I'm trying. I can't hope to do as well as he did. I am probably just an average G.I, but I'm trying..."

Aubrey Lee as a soldier felt that he personally was a guardian of American Freedom and could have sincerely said the words of Frederick S. Wilson: "Let each and everyone of us remember that Liberty is a gift not lightly given: that we within ourselves, must preserve for generations yet unborn, a vision of brotherhood among men, until one day all the world shall be ready to share it."

- Written by N. H. White, Jr. and Lena V. White