|Birth: ||Jun. 26, 1949|
North Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Apr. 29, 1969, Vietnam|
PFC Lester Earl Downing, Vietnam Veteran, Native of Roper, NC.
Private First Class Lester Earl Downing was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army, PFC Downing served our country until April 29th, 1969 in Dinh Tuong, South Vietnam. He was 19 years old and was not married. It was reported that Lester died from small arms fire or grenade. His body was recovered. PFC Downing is on panel 26W, line 077 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He served our country for less than a year.
PFC Lester Earl Downing was Posthumously awarded the Distinguised Service Cross, and the Purple Heart Meda. He was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. The Proud Young Valor that rose above the Mortal, Above the Mortal, and then, at last, was mortal after all, you are not forgotten, nor shall you ever be. Clay Marston.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Private First Class Lester Earl Downing, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Private First Class Downing distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 29 April 1969 while serving as a rifleman on a reconnaissance-in-force mission near Ap Than Hue in Long An Province. When his platoon came under ambush, he immediately alerted the rest of the unit and proceeded to lay down suppressive fire on the enemy entrenchments. Spotting a wounded comrade, Private Downing ran across a bullet-swept rice paddy to give medical treatment, disregarding the grenades that exploded nearby. Although his rifle had been struck by an enemy bullet and rendered inoperable, he took the wounded man's weapon and charged the hostile fortification, killing two of its occupants. He plunged into the bunker and attacked a third communist in hand-to-hand combat. During the ensuing struggle he was shot, but managed to overcome his enemy before succumbing to his wounds. Private First Class Downing's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2524 (July 12, 1969)
He was the Son of Sylvester Downing & Mr and Mrs John A Webb, Route #1, Box 34, Roper, NC. He was the 6th child of twelve children. Not a day goes by that we don't think of him with tears in our eyes because he left us so soon. Pee-Dee was very out going, never missed Sunday school, he was benevolent to others and he left an indelible mark on everyone he met. He loved mystery movies and westerns. He played and loved baseball, ran track, drove the school bus and was drafted a year after his graduation from Washington County Union School(Roper)6/7/1967.
Although he never married, he has a son who will retire from the USAF in April 2010 at Langley AFB in Hampton Virginia. We so wish Lester could be a physical part of his sons grauation. There are several signs on the Bayonet Assault Range at Ft Jackson, SC which honors him. All the recruits that train there have the oppurtunity to read of his bravery. Sylvester Downing-brother
He served with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, "Old Reliables", USARV.
He was awarded The Combat Infantryman's Badge)CIB), The Distinguised Service Cross, The Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
Chesson Farm Road
North Carolina, USA
Created by: Tom Reece
Record added: Jan 20, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17603908