Biography: Leon Narvaiz was born on April 11, 1917, in San Marcos, Texas. He was the son of Francisco Narvaiz and Francisca Hernandez and worked as a farmer prior to his military service.
Service Time: Leon entered the service and, after his basic training, was assigned to Headquarters Company of the 774th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The unit converted to a towed battalion, using 3″ guns, prior to shipping out from the New York port on June 3, 1944. They arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on June 12th.
After two months of additional training and preparations for landing in France, they debarked at Utah Beach, on August 7th and joined fighting around Argentan. They moved eastward across France to Lorraine as part of a cavalry screen with the 7th Armored Division and participated in fighting around Metz, starting in September.
The 774th then fought along the Saar River in December and joined the rush north to the Ardennes. They converted to the self-propelled M36 tank destroyer in late February, 1945, and drove to the Rhine River in March. They held the Rhine River west of the Ruhr Pocket in April and then took on military government duties.
Leon received the Purple Heart and was awarded the EAME Medal, with credit for each of the unit’s campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. He also received the WWII Victory and Good Conduct Medals. He left the service at the rank of Private.
Leon returned to San Marcos and worked for the Texas State University as a custodian. He later worked for Randolph Air Force Base in the same capacity. On June 20, 1948, he married the former Florencia Aguilera who was born in Glenham, Texas, and was the daughter of Celso Aguilera and Juanita Martinez. The couple had nine children, Dora, Josie, Amado, Rosalinda, Eloy, Florinda, Edward, Ora and Annette.
Leon passed away on February 11, 1997, and was buried in the San Marcos City Cemetery, in San Marcos, Texas. I want to thank Leon’s great-granddaughter for providing the information and photos for this tribute.