Tag Archives: United States Naval Reserve

HA1c. Fred Faulkner Lester, USNR (June 8, 1945)

LesterFredFFred Faulkner Lester was born in Downers Grove, Illinois on April 29, 1926. He joined the United States Naval Reserve on November 1, 1943 when he was just 17 years old. He was placed on active service with the United States Navy, trained as a medical corpsman, and assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Marine Regiment, 6th Marine Division.

Seventy years ago today during the Battle of Okinawa, then 19-year-old Lester, now a Hospitalman Apprentice 1st Class, rescued one wounded Marine from under heavy enemy fire, ignored his own grievous wounds, and instructed his comrades in care for the injured until he perished.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (A-F):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon (background)

*LESTER, FRED FAULKNER

Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Navy

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 1st Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 8 June 1945. Quick to spot a wounded marine Iying 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.

As is usual for members of the Naval Service awarded the Medal of Honor, a warship carried the young hero’s name. The USS Lester (DE-1022), a Dealey-class destroyer escort, served with our Navy from June 14, 1957 through December 14, 1973. The vessel was scrapped in 1974.

Lester today rests in peace in the Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Illinois.

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LTJG Rufus G. Herring, USNR (February 17, 1945)

Rufus Geddie Herring was born in Roseboro, North Carolina on June 11, 1921. After graduating from Davidson College in the spring of 1942, he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve, was sent to the Midshipman’s School in New York, and commissioned as an Ensign in December, 1942.

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WT1 Elmer C. Bigelow, USNR (February 14, 1945)

Elmer Charles Bigelow was born on July 12, 1920 in Hebron, Illinois. He volunteered and enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve during September 1942 and, after training, was posted as an active member of the United States Navy in the Pacific Fleet.

Continue reading WT1 Elmer C. Bigelow, USNR (February 14, 1945)

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Lieutenant Arthur M. Preston, USNR (September 16, 1944)

Arthur Murray Preston was born in Washington, District of Columbia on November 1, 1913. He was a graduate of both Yale University and the University of Virginia, and was an attorney in Washington, DC when he volunteered to enlist in the United States Navy in September of 1940.

Preston was sent to the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School at Northwestern University and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve during March of 1941. He became an officer in motor torpedo (PT) boats and was present at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941.

Continue reading Lieutenant Arthur M. Preston, USNR (September 16, 1944)

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