HINSDALE – In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, Governor Pat Quinn today joined students at his grammar school alma mater, St. Isaac Jogues in Hinsdale, to remember our servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom. Ten years ago this week, then-Lt. Governor Quinn dedicated a plaque at the school to honor a former classmate, Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee Lance Corporal Lester Weber of the United States Marine Corps.
“Memorial Day is a time for everyone to remember and honor our servicemembers who put their lives on the line each day to protect our freedom,” Governor Quinn said. “Lance Corporal Lester William Weber, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, is a true American hero. I encourage everyone in Illinois to take a few moments this weekend to reflect upon our servicemembers, and give thanks for their service and sacrifice.”
Lester William Weber, who attended St. Isaac Jogues Grammar School with Governor Quinn, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in September of 1966 and in the U.S. Marines Corps in January of 1967. He served a tour in Vietnam as an ammunition carrier and squad leader with Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division as a Private First Class, and was promoted to Lance Corporal in 1967.
In January 1969, Lance Corporal Weber extended his tour and assumed duty as a squad leader with the 2nd Platoon, Company M, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. On February 23, 1969, he led a search and clear operation in Vietnam, where his platoon was attacked by a heavily-armed North Vietnamese Army battalion. Weber was mortally wounded while attempting to save the lives of two of his comrades from enemy fire, after having overwhelmed at least eleven enemy troops.
Lance Corporal Weber received the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest honor, in 1969, for his “conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and unwavering devotion to duty.” His decorations also include the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
In 2003, then-Lt. Governor Quinn dedicated a plaque to Lance Corporal Weber for sacrificing his life in Vietnam. The plaque is affixed to a granite boulder outside of St. Isaac Jogues Grammar School and reads:
“Semper Fidelis. Lance Cpl. Lester Weber, USMC. 1948-1969. Congressional Medal of Honor Winner. Lance Cpl. Lester Weber, USMC, a St. Isaac Jogues parishioner and graduate was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in 1969 for his “conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and unwavering devotion to duty.” On February 23, 1969 in South Vietnam, Lance Cpl. Weber saved his platoon before sustaining mortal injuries. Dedicated this 25th day of May, 2003.”
Governor Quinn is a longtime champion of Illinois’ Veterans and servicemembers. As State Treasurer, he launched Operation Homefront to inform National Guard members and reservists of their rights under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act. As Lt. Governor, his Illinois Military Family Relief Act to aid the spouses and children of those called to active duty became a model for other states. As Governor, he has visited Illinois troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Germany, and is committed to the goal of getting 100,000 Veterans hired in Illinois by 2020.
For more information on how to support Illinois’ Veterans and servicemembers and their families, please visit OperationHomefront.org.