UPDATE: REPLAY ADDED!! Their Finest Hour returns LIVE to Vigilant Liberty Radio tonight at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. Hopefully you can take a break from your last minute tax filing scrambles and join me in VLR’s chatroom for the broadcast! Or you can listen using the other players you’ll find around the site, direct on Spreaker, or using a Spreaker mobile app! You can also interact with the program using the #TFH hashtag on Twitter, and be sure to be following me (@allanbourdius) on Twitter as well as the feeds for the blog & show (@TFHBlogAndShow) and VLR (@VigilantLiberty)! Continue reading #TFH on #VLR 4/16 – #Afghanistan #USMC veteran & author @valorofamarine!
Fred 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.
*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.
Douglas Thomas Jacobson was born in Rochester, New York on November 25, 1925. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve at age 17 on January 28, 1943. After his recruit training he was placed on active service with the United States Marine Corps in the 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment of the 4th Marine Division.
Tony Stein was born on September 30, 1921 in Dayton, Ohio. He was working as a machinist after graduating from high school and volunteered to enlist in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on September 22, 1942. Stein served with the elite Paramarines in the 3rd Marine Division during the Vella Lavella and Bougainville campaigns on active wartime duty with the United States Marine Corps.
Darrell Samuel Cole was born on July 20, 1920 in Esther, Missouri, today part of Park Hills. He graduated from high school in 1938 and was both an athlete and a musician. Cole joined the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps, spending a year with them before leaving for a job in industry. That didn’t work out either in the long run, and Cole joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve on August 25, 1941.
Their Finest Hour returns to Vigilant Liberty Radio tonight with a very special program. I’m a big believer in the power of social media, and have made some amazing connections with people via Twitter and Facebook, many of whom I truly count as friends.
Sarah Ohler (@SohlerSarah) and I first interacted over Twitter (best as we can tell) on May 1, 2014. It was just two weeks later that something really special happened.
George Benton Turner was born on June 27, 1899 in Longview, Texas. He first answered America’s call to service in 1918, when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps while a student at the Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri. Turner joined too late to see service overseas during World War I. After being released from the Marines, he settled in California.
As regular readers know, I’ve been blogging every World War II Medal of Honor recipient on their 70th anniversaries, and I have to offer my apologies because it appears I missed one!
Richard Edward Kraus was born on November 24, 1925 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was on his 18th birthday in 1943 that he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve. His first combat action was during the Marine Corps‘ assault on Peleliu in the fall of 1944 as part of a unit attached to the 1st Marine Division.
Wesley Phelps was born on June 12, 1923 in Neafus, Kentucky. After graduating from high school in 1942, he began studying the trade of radio equipment repair. That career wasn’t to be as he was called by his nation for World War II service and inducted into the United States Marine Corps Reserve on April 9, 1943.
John Dury New was born on August 12, 1924 in Mobile, Alabama. He was just 17 years old on Sunday, December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The following day, he was the very first man from Mobile to volunteer and enlist in the United States Marine Corps to go fight our Japanese enemy.