Fred Faulkner Lester

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Fred Faulkner Lester
Born (1926-04-29)April 29, 1926
Downers Grove, Illinois
Died June 8, 1945(1945-06-08) (aged 19)
Okinawa Shima, Ryukyu Islands
Place of burial Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Illinois
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1943 - 1945
Rank Hospital Apprentice First Class
Unit 1st Battalion, 22d Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation

Fred Faulkner Lester (April 29, 1926 – June 8, 1945) was a United States Navy hospital corpsman who was killed in action while assigned to the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was awarded the nation's highest military award for valor, the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his heroic actions during the Battle of Okinawa.

Lester was buried at Clarendon Hills Cemetery in Darien, Illinois. The destroyer escort USS Lester (DE-1022) was named in his honor, as was Camp Lester, a Marine Corps installation, at Chatan, Okinawa, Japan, the former site of U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa.

World War II[edit]

United States Navy

Lester enlisted in the United States Navy Reserve on November 1, 1943. He was promoted to seaman second class in January 1944. He attended the Naval Hospital Corps School in San Diego and after graduating, his rating was changed to hospital apprentice second class on March 3, 1944. He was assigned to the Fleet Marine Force and became a member of a rifle company platoon of the 1st Battalion, 22nd Marine Regiment. A hospital apprentice first class, he was killed in action on Okinawa and awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.[1]

Medal of Honor citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman with an Assault Rifle Platoon, attached to the First Battalion, Twenty-second Marines, SIXTH Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 8 June 1945. Quick to spot a wounded marine lying in an open field beyond the front lines following the relentless assault against a strategic Japanese hill position, LESTER unhesitatingly crawled toward the casualty under a concentrated barrage from hostile machineguns, rifles, and grenades. Torn by enemy rifle bullets as he inched forward, he stoically disregarded the mounting fury of Japanese fire and his own pain to pull the wounded man toward a covered position. Struck by enemy fire a second time before he reached cover, he exerted tremendous effort and succeeded in pulling his comrade to safety where, too seriously wounded himself to administer aid, he instructed 2 of his squad in proper medical treatment of the rescued marine. Realizing that his own wounds were fatal, he staunchly refused medical attention for himself and, gathering his fast-waning strength with calm determination, coolly and expertly directed his men in the treatment of 2 other wounded marines, succumbing shortly thereafter. Completely selfless in his concern for the welfare of his fighting comrades, Lester, by his indomitable spirit, outstanding valor, and competent direction of others, had saved the life of 1 who otherwise must have perished and had contributed to the safety of countless others. LESTER's fortitude in the face of certain death sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Military decorations & awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Naval History & Heritage "Hospital Apprentice First Class Fred F. Lester USNR (1926-1945)" [1]
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.