PAUL L. BORDEN, JR., 1LT, USA
Paul Borden '39
Date of birth: July 3, 1917
Date of death: February 5, 1945
Paul Lambert Borden, Jr. was admitted to the Naval Academy from Goldsboro, North Carolina on July 9, 1935 at age 18 years 0 months.
He was "Deficient in studies, first term's work. Continued with class pending reexamination. Reexamined and again deficient. Recommended to be dropped. Permitted to resign" on March 15, 1937.
From researcher Kathy Franz:
Paul was a graduate of Goldsboro High School, and he was a member of Boy Scout Troop, No. 1. The troop instituted an award in his honor starting in 1946 for the boy who did the most to advance and benefit the troop.
On June 28, 1939, Paul joined the Air Corps Training Detachment, Dallas Aviation School & Air College at Love Field, Dallas, Texas. He was listed as a flying cadet, Class 40-A, ID #6968966. He was discharged on August 21.
In October 1940, his draft registration card showed that he was a student in the Business College at Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was 5’ 10,” 140 lbs. with hazel eyes and brown hair.
He volunteered for service in the infantry in July 1941 and went overseas in October 1944.
Paul married Dorothy B. Chrisman on March 25, 1944, in Rossville, Georgia. In June she was living in Blackstone, Virginia. She was divorced, and her parents had already died.
Per The Charlotte Observer, March 18, 1945:
Commissioned at Fort Benning, he was for some time an instructor in heavy weapons of the officers’ school and was later stationed in Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia. On October 13, 1944, he went overseas, and on December 16 was in the midst of the hottest spot in Europe, the scene of the German break-through into Belgium. Under Maj. Gen. Edwin C. Parker, his regiment and company, Company M, 309th regiment, fought alternately in France, Belgium, and Germany, hotly contesting for every inch of territory at Bastogne, Malmedy, Kesternich. They crawled through blood and mud, hid behind hedges, spent days in cellars until help came. Even under such conditions, he wrote reassuringly of his narrow escapes and felt confident his luck would continue.
The religious current in his life was strong, and from the battlefield he wrote of attending church and described the earnestness of the men who worshipped under such difficulties. One of his last letters ended, “We know God is on our side. As long as we do our part and stay on His side, we are bound to win.”
From boyhood he was constantly charged with the responsibility of other groups, a tribute to his trustworthiness and a forerunner of the leadership he was to assume in military life. First a student at V. M. I., then a graduate of U. N. C., he was active in all phases of college life and a favorite with his classmates. In March, 1944, he was married to Miss Dorothy Chrisman of Chattanooga. An only brother survives, Richard, who is now in the South Pacific.
The First Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro was given a silver urn in memory of Paul who was killed in Schmidt, Germany, 1945. The church held his memorial service on November 6, 1945.
Paul’s name was inscribed on the VMI World War II Memorial Marker 1. In the VMI 1935 yearbook, he was a private in the 2nd Battalion, Company D.
In Charleston on February 15, 1946, Paul’s mother christened USS Bluebird (ASR 19), a submarine rescue ship, in memory of Paul. Later that month, she presented a memorial plaque in honor of Paul to be placed in the Valley Forge Memorial Tower by a member of the DAR David Williams chapter. It is now known as the National Patriots Tower. The Bell Tower and Carillon — Washington Memorial Chapel.
The Borden home during WWII was a recreation club for the armed forces stationed at Goldsboro. More than 500 servicemen ranging from privates to generals signed their guest book. Paul’s mother received distinguished service awards from Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Gov. Dan K. Moore for her public service.
Paul’s father was secretary and treasurer of Borden Brick & Tile Company. Paul’s mother Martha was state president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy when she received word that Paul had been killed. She was to address the Guilford chapter, but instead her radio script for a local broadcast was read at the meeting. She later became a member emeritus of the Tryon Palace Commission and former vice chairman of the Charles D. Aycock Restoration Commission.
Paul’s brother Richard, a Navy pharmacist mate second class, served in the Pacific and then on D-day landed on the Normandy beachhead. He was awarded a Bronze Star. He later became a physician in Goldsboro.
After Paul’s death, his widow Dorothy married Charles W. Bunch, U. S. Navy, in Highland Park, Michigan, in October 1945. Three months earlier, he was a downed flyer who spent 11 days on a raft in the Pacific. After the war, they lived in West Palm Beach, Florida. He died in 1949; she died in 2002.
His unit, the 309th Infantry Regiment, had arrived (as a part of the 78th Infantry Division) in England in October 1944 and then France on November 22, 1944.
Memorial Hall Error
Paul is not listed with his classmates nor on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall. This omission was discovered by reviewing the Class of 1939's Golden Anniversary yearbook.
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