Bio: Smiley Lester (Receives Honor – 1965)


Surnames: Kearns, Bulgrin, Smiley

---------Source: OWEN ENTERPRISE (Owen, Clark County, Wis.) 06 May 1965

Mrs. Duane Bulgrin recently received a copy of the address given by Lt. Col. Kearns at the dedication of Smiley Field, Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. The field was named after her brother, the late Lester W. Smiley, who lost his life in combat with the 53rd Signal Battalion during World War II.

(Dedication Address)

We are assembled here for a brief and simple ceremony to dedicate this athletic field in honor of Technician Fourth Class Lester W. Smiley, a member of the 53rd Signal Battalion who was killed in action during World War II and posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.

Lester Smiley was born on 5 February 1912 at Lincoln, Iowa, and he entered military service from Curtiss (Clark Co.), Wisconsin on 17 March 1942.

He participated in four campaigns in Europe and North Africa: the Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia and Rome-Arno Campaigns. It was during the Rome-Arno Campaigns that Lester Smiley was killed in action while maintaining essential communications for the II U.S. Corps and its divisions.

This athletic field is not an impressive memorial but we believe it is appropriate and hope that it will be a lasting one to the memory of Lester Smiley. I hope that as we use this field wee will all be reminded of the high standards set for us by Lester Smiley and that we will always uphold the honor and tradisiton of the 53rd Signal Battalion as he did.

To those of you who would like to know more about Lester Smiley, there will be a special section in the Battalion Historical File devoted to all the details of his life that we could accumulate. It will be available in the Battalion Trophy Room and I command it to you as an inspiring record of an American soldier.

(Plaque's Inscription Reads)

Smiley Field

Named in memory of Technician Fourt Class Lester W. Smiley, 53rd Signal Battalion, United States Army, who was killed in action 14 May 1944 in the Italian Theatre, World War II, and posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal for exemplary conduct under fire as a member of a wire team, near Minturno, Italy. His valor had previously won him the Bronze Star Medal.




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