HOSPITAL APPRENTICE FIRST CLASS
FRED FAULKNER LESTER, USNR (DECEASED)
Fred Faulkner Lester was born in Downers Grove, Illinois, on 29 April 1926 and enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as apprentice seaman in Chicago, Illinois, on 1 November 1943. He completed his basic training at the Naval Training Station, Farragut, Idaho. In January 1944, he advanced to seaman second class. He then enrolled as a student at Naval Hospital Corps School, San Diego, California.
On 3 March 1944, he advanced to hospital apprentice second class. Later that month, HA2c Lester reported to the Fleet Marine Force at Camp Elliot, California, and was advanced to hospital apprentice first class during the following year. He served with 1st Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, as a hospital corpsman during the Okinawa Campaign.
During a fierce battle on 8 June 1945 for a strategic Japanese-held hill, HA1c Lester moved beyond the front lines to aid a wounded Marine. As he crawled toward the casualty, HA1c Lester was struck by enemy fire but continued on. Despite heavy fire and painful wounds, he pulled the wounded Marine toward safety but was again struck by the incoming fire before reaching cover. Refusing to succumb to his wounds, HA1c finally managed to pull the man to safety. Too seriously wounded to administer aid, he instructed two Marines in the proper treatment of the wounded man. Then, realizing his own injuries were fatal, HA1c Lester refused medical aid and instead gathered his remaining strength to give instructions on the treatment of two more wounded Marines. For his selfless devotion to duty, HA1c Lester was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Hospital Apprentice First Class Lester was laid to rest in Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Illinois.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, his awards included the Purple Heart Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. The destroyer escort USS Lester (DE-1022) 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.
Navy Medal of Honor recipients serving with Marine units at the time of award