Hawkins Elementary was once called San Juan Elementary because it is
located in the San Juan neighborhood just south of I-10 between Paisano
and Trowbridge streets. It was renamed for William Deane Hawkins, a
Congressional Medal of Honor hero and a First Lieutenant in the United
States Marine Corps. Lt. Hawkins lost his life in the line of duty at
the Battle of Tarawa in World War II in 1943. He was honored in the
naming of the USS Hawkins in 1944.
Lt. Hawkins was born on April 19, 1914, son of Mrs. C. Jane Hawkins.
He was a graduate of El Paso High, Class of 1931, and later attended
Texas College of Mines (now the University of Texas at El Paso). On
January 5, 1942, he joined the Marine Corps and was assigned to 2nd
Marine Division, Scout-Sniper, Amphibious Forces Raiders. He trained at
San Diego, serving at Tulagi, Tanambogo, Florida Islands, Guadalcanal,
and Tarawa. Lt. Hawkins made scouting trips to other islands in the
Pacific. As a Private First Class, he was made an instructor in "Scout
Sniper" School. He was awarded the citation as "outstanding man of his
platoon" in Boot Camp. He received a Letter of Commendation in
Guadalcanal and two Presidential Unit Citations. The airfield in Beito,
Tarawa, is named in his honor.
Source: The Fighting Men of Texas