John Andrew LestellePrivate First Class
3RD PLT, H CO, 2ND BN, 26TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
11 August 1950 - 17 March 1969
Panel 29W Line 062
The database page for John Andrew Lestelle
Dear Johnny (Beanie)-
Today it had been 35 years since you were killed. I am so sorry that I never met you, but I want you to know that every year, on March 17th, I think of you. Thank you for guiding me through boot camp, I know you did, I felt it. I sent a little prayer up to you every time I needed help or reassurance and I always got it. I know Uncle Johnny was so proud of me for going, but your mom was not so happy. Neither was mine. She still has the last letter that she got from you, a couple days after you died.
I hope you know that you won't be forgotten because I will make sure to tell my kids who you were, and what you did, and all of the things that you didn't ever get to do, and how grateful they should be for every moment. We will remember you always-
Your cousin- Jamie
If anyone knew Johnny, I would love to hear from you. He was only in-country for about two months, but maybe that was enough time for someone to miss him, and tell me about him.
It was an honor to serve with John Lestelle. I was a rifleman, PFC, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Hotel Company, 2/26 USMC in 1969. We fought the same firefights and battles together. We faced every obstacle together. John was one of the bravest Marines I knew. He was also one of the best liked in our unit.
John�s death is a tragedy I have lived with all my life. I have always thought of his parents, especially his Mother, and how their loss must have hurt. When the Traveling Wall came to Orange County, California, many years ago, I searched out his name. I can only wish there would be something useful I could do. I will always remember John and think of his family.
From a fellow Marine who served with John Lestelle,
John was a courageous Marine, well-liked by his squad members. He was a 'newbie' when he died in 1969. In his two short months in country, John made an impact on his squad. I was with John when he died. For 35 years now, his death has lingered at the edges of my memories of Vietnam. I have often wondered why John and not me. I wonder if that day could have or should have turned out differently. I have often wondered if I could have or should have done something different. Would I or could I have spared his life?
I salute John and the fact that the circumstances of his death probably meant I survived. To his family, I extend my respect. John was a young man who served with honor. He was a young man that you can be proud of. God bless John Lestelle! God bless his family!
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009