Dominik Naplava was born in Czechoslovakia. At 22 years old, he emigrated from Europe and arrived in Texas in 1914. Naplava twice attempted to join the US Army - but was rejected because he wasn’t yet an American citizen. He was so determined to fight that he traveled to Canada and enlisted in the 107th Canadian Pioneer Battalion.
Back in Houston, his brother, John Naplava, received a message from the Canadian government. On November 12, 1917, Dominic had been digging ditches when a German plane flew over and dropped three bombs. He was killed instantly. Dominik Naplava was the first Texan killed in World War I. He is buried in Belgium - but his name is proudly engraved on the Gold Star Honor Roll at Houston City Hall.
You can learn more about Dominik Naplava - and other Texans of Czech heritage - at the Czech Heritage Museum.
Czech Heritage Museum