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Hospital Apprentice First Class Fred Lester

Date of Award: Unknown
Conflict: World War II
Branch: U.S. Navy

Hospital Apprentice First Class Fred Lester portraitOn June 8, 1945, a fierce battle for a Japanese hill position caused many casualties among the Marines of Hospital Apprentice First Class Lester’s unit. The 19-year-old corpsmen spotted a wounded Marine lying in an open field beyond the front lines, and immediately left his concealed position to help him. He crawled toward the wounded man despite a continuous and heavy attack from enemy machine guns and grenades. After being hit and disregarding his own intense pain, he managed to drag the Marine to a covered position. However, before he was able to reach cover himself, Lester was struck again.

With great effort he pulled the Marine to safety, but was too weak to administer first aid himself. He directed two other Marines in the proper treatment of the wounded man and of two other casualties. Lester stubbornly refused medical aid for himself. Not long after, he succumbed to his injuries. In the face of almost certain death, Lester had risked his life to save another.

Citation: “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 two other wounded Marines, succumbing shortly thereafter.”

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