Medal of Honor Recipients
Hospital Apprentice First Class
Fred F. Lester
1st Battlion, 22d Marines
8 June 1945
HA1c Fred Lester was a Medical Corpsman with an Assault Rifle Platoon, attached to the 1st Battalion, 22d Marines. On Okinawa on 8 June 1945, he spotted a wounded Marine lying in an open field beyond the front lines. HA1c Lester immediately crawled toward the Marine under fire from hostile machine guns, rifles and grenades. Torn by enemy rifle bullets as he inched forward, he disregarded the fire and his own pain to pull the wounded man toward a covered position.
Struck by enemy fire a second time, he finally succeeded in pulling the Marine to safety. Although too seriously wounded to administer aid, he instructed two Marines in the proper medical treatment of the rescued Marine. By this time, he realized his own wounds were fatal. Refusing treatment, he gathered what little strength he had left to provide instructions on the treatment of two additional wounded Marines. He succumbed to his wounds shortly thereafter.
For his selfless devotion to duty, HA1c Lester was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Fred Lester was born in Downers Grove, Illinois, on 29 April 1926. He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as an apprentice seaman in Chicago, Illinois, in November 1943 and completed his basic training at the Naval Training Station, Farragut, Idaho. In January 1944, he advanced to seaman second class and then enrolled in the Naval Hospital Corps School in San Diego. By the following year he had advanced to Hospital Apprentice First Class and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22d Marines as a hospital corpsman during the Okinawa Campaign.
HA1c Lester was laid to rest in Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Illinois.
The destroyer escort USS Lester (DE-1022), named in his honor, was launched in Bay City, Michigan, on 5 January 1956. Camp Lester Marine Corps Base and Lester Family Medical Clinic at the U.S. Naval Hospital, both on Okinawa, were also named in his honor.
☆ Next: Pvt Robert A. McTureous
USS Lester, named in honor of HA1c Fred F. Lester