Temple B. Sebastian, Jr.
Biography: Temple Brown Sebastian Jr. was born in Houston, Texas, in August of 1910. He attended Reagan High School in Houston and went on to attend Texas A & M College, in College Station, TX. He graduated in 1933, and would become a teacher. He married the former Gloria Catherine Rougagnac who was also from Houston. The couple would have two sons, James Ward, “Jim”, in 1943 and Henry A., “Hank”, in 1947.
Service Time: We do not have information on Temple’s early military service although arm of the service is listed as Cavalry. The first mention of his name shows up on the 1942 Thanksgiving Menu for the Tank Destroyer School at Camp Hood, Texas. He along with Col. Logan C. Berry and 1st Lt. Allen W. Rodenhaffer were each part of the Tactics Department with Col. Berry serving as the department’s Commanding Officer.
Temple’s name, along with Allen Roeheffer’s, appears on the Officer Roster for the 6th TD Group, dated December 31, 1943. At the time, they were at the Ft. Hamilton staging area in New York City. This would have been a month before the unit shipped to the United Kingdom. At that point, Col. Branner P. Purdue is still listed as the Commander. I am not sure when Col. Berry joined the unit or if there was any connection with him joining two of the men he had served with before.
They were prepared for shipment at Camp Kilmer, NJ, on Jan. 16, 1944, and shipped from the New York Port of Embarkation on Jan. 29, 1944. They arrived in England on February 5th, and were put in charge of marshaling areas in southern England and helped prepare troops for the Normandy landings. The 6th then shipped to France, landing on July 25th, and were assigned to Task Force “A”, VIII Corps of the Third Army, which was to travel up the northern coastal route to Brest and attempt to capture the rail line and bridges intact.
Beginning on September 5th, they supported XIII Corps, of the Ninth Army, as their Anti-Tank section. They moved into Belgium on October 24th and then into Holland on November 6th. They then moved into Germany on Mar. 16, 1945.
The photo shown at left was taken while the men were in England or probably in Europe. A small group photo of the unit’s officers shows him still with the unit while they were in Tongres, Belgium. His name also appears in the form of his signature on the Muster on the Elbe program from April of 1945. The celebrating took place near the Elbe River in Germany. Since Temple was a graduate of Texas A & M, the celebration would have certainly had special meaning to him.
After Action Reports from that time period do not show Temple as still being with the 6th. I believe at that point, he had already transferred out of the unit and was commanding a tank battalion. He is also absent from a group photo of the officers, taken at Binegar Mansion in England. I assume he had left the unit for a short period for other training or maybe an illness.
Temple received the Purple Heart, credit for four campaigns and two Bronze Star Medals for his service.
After the war, Temple would go to work for the Veterans Administration as as Adjudication Officer and was a Class Agent for the A & M Class of 1933. He served in that capacity for over 40 years. In 1993, he was named “Houston’s Outstanding Aggie”.
He enjoyed all types of sports throughout his life and retired as a Colonel in the Army Reserve. Temple passed away in January of 1995 and is buried in his home town of Houston. I would like to thank Temple’s son, Hank, for providing information for this tribute.
The photo of Temple aton left is from the Texas A & M – Association of Former Students, where he is listed as being in the Endowed Century Club.