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Lester Weber PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 03 January 2011 13:41

Lester William Weber, LCpl. U. S. Marine Corps .. Congressional Medal of Honor

I am so very proud that I had the opportunity of getting to know this young man from Hinsdale, Illinois when he was just a 17 year old boy with a dream of becoming a Marine.

I was a Staff Sergeant and a Marine Corps Recruiter in Downers Grove, Illinois. On the morning of January 1, 1967 I received a phone call from the Sheriff's Office in Wheaton, Illinois; on the phone was Sheriff Lynch, the Sheriff of DuPage County. The sheriff told me that he had a young man and his mother in his office and wanted to know if I would consider testing and enlisting the young man into the Marine Corps. If so, he would drop the charges against him for breaking into a liquor store and taking a bottle of whiskey on New Year's Eve. He explained that this young man was a good boy who happened to be with the wrong crowd and that this was his first time getting into trouble. Sheriff Lynch was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the USMC Reserve and explained that if he did charge Lester with theft, he would not be accepted into the Marines. My reply to the Sheriff was "Yes Sir, with your approval and recommendation I will be at your office within an hour to meet with Lester and his mother." I arrived at the Sheriff's office and met this young slim boy of 17 and his mother. He quickly got out of his chair. shook my hand and stated with excitement, "Sir please give me a chance to be a Marine, it has always been my life's dream, I promise I will make you proud, Sir, and be the best Marine you have ever recruited". His mother, a single mom, had mixed emotions since Lester was small; 5' 7" about 120 Ibs. She was worried he wouldn't make it through boot camp. I gave her some assurance by explaining to her that when I had also enlisted at age 17, I weighed 103 lbs and was 5'2". At age 26, I had grown to 5'7" and 130 Ibs. She smiled and gave her permission for Lester to enlist.

Lester was tested and enlisted the next day, His recruit training was in San Diego, CA. This young man returned to his home upon his graduation from boot camp wearing a dress blue uniform with the stripes of a Private First Class. He was the honor graduate of his platoon. As a benefit of this award, the Marine Corps allowed him to remain at home an extra 30 days after boot camp leave to serve as my Assistant Recruiter. We enlisted several friends of his that month; I continued to be impressed with his love and dedication to the Marine Corps.

 

On February 23, 1969, This 20 year old Marine was killed in action in Vietnam, Quang Nam Province. HIS CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR AWARD READS AS FOLLOWS: "For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidly at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gun squad leader with Company M, in action against the enemy. The 2nd platoon of Company M was

dispatched to the Bo Ban area of Hieu Duc district to assist a squad from another platoon which had become heavily engaged with a well entrenched enemy battalion. While moving through a rice paddy covered with tall grass, LCpl Weber's platoon came under heavy attack from concealed hostile soldiers. He reacted by plunging into the tall grass and successfully attacking one enemy and forcing 11 others to break contact. Upon encountering a second North Vietnamese soldier he overwhelmed him in fierce hand to hand combat. Observing 2 other soldiers firing upon his comrades from behind a dike, LCpl Weber remained in a dangerously exposed position to shout words of encouragement to his emboldened companions. As he moved forward to attack a fifth enemy soldier, he was mortally wounded. LCpl Weber's indomitable courage, aggressive fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U. S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

LESTER WILLIAM WEBER will always be in my heart and on my mind. He was my friend, and he is my hero. His MOS was 0351: Antitank Assault man, he was a member of Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division when he died in action.

I am so proud to have known this courageous Marine who truly kept his word, "I will be the best Marine you will ever recruit".

Henry Frank Walker, 1st Lt. USMC (Retired)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 14:45