by David L. Minton, Lea County Historian
(Used with permission)
Good Morning Fellow Lea Countians far and near. Today I would like to remember and honor a Lea County man who lost his life in defense of our country. James Edward Teas who preferred to be called Edward was born January 29th, 1922 in Lea County to Harvey and Minnie Teas. Edward grew up in Lovington and graduated with the class of 1941 from the Lovington High School.
After high school he found his way to Roswell where he was employed by the Yucca Theater. His military career began when he enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve on May 10th, 1943. Edward was a Seaman 2nd Class serving his nation aboard the U.S.S. Liscome Bay which was a brand-new escort carrier, launched in April 1943 and commissioned August 7, 1943.
During the invasion of the Gilbert Islands and the battle at Makin Island on November 24, 1943 while the U.S.S. Liscome Bay was making a turn it was hit behind an engine room by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine. The torpedo hit the ship’s bomb magazine which caused a tremendous explosion. Debris from the U.S.S. Liscome Bay fell on the battleship New Mexico which was approximately 1500 yards away. Seaman 2nd Class Edward Teas along with 590 other enlisted men and 53 officers were all lost, it took the U.S.S. Liscome Bay only 23 minutes to sink. There were 272 survivors.
Seaman 2c James Edward Teas was lost at sea, his body was not recovered. In addition to his name being engraved on a monument in Hawaii along with other WWII losses, his parents Harvey E. and Minnie A. Teas memorialized Edward in the Lovington Cemetery with a V.A. stone. We Salute you James Edward Teas.