16 July 2012

Military Monday: IMO William LeMon

My brother-in-law, William LeMon, passed away Saturday morning (14 July 2012) loosing his long battle with cancer. Cancer was only one of his many battles this man faced throughout his life. If there was ever a person who epitomized the US Marine Corps - it was Bill.

Bill joined the Marines in 1964. He served three tours in Vietnam. Yes, I said three. That is the extinct of what most of the family - sadly, including my girls - know of his service. Bill - like most true Marines I am sure - was not one to brag of his accomplishments. Rarely did he relish us with stories - unless prompted or in "the" mood. So, many family and friends have no clue how much of his life this man - and his comrades - gave in service to the US and to each of us.

His Marine career began in 1964 at Parris Island in South Carolina. Pvt. LeMon continued his training at the Advanced Infantry Training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina. The following year he was promoted to PFC and served as a Driver for the Hdqts. Co. 2nd Tank Bn, 2nd MARDIV.

He was promoted to L/Cpl January 1966, remaining a Driver/Mechanic at Camp LeJeune. From March 1966 to September 1966, he was deployed to the Caribean as part of a Battalion Landing Team.

His duties increased to Motor Vehicle Driver, Motor Vehicle Mechanic, Vehicle Dispatcher, Motor Vehicle Supply Clerk, Cpl of the Guard and Barracks as he was promoted to Cpl. in October 1966.

As a Cpl., he served in VietNam as a Motor Transport Dispatcher and Motor Vehicle Driver from June 1967 to August 1968. His duties included assigning drivers to vehicles for dispatch assignments as well as establishing the use of reactionary vehicles and drivers during attacks and disasters.

After that first tour he returned to Camp LeJeune as Motor Transport Vehicle Mechanic. Cpl. LeMon remained there until October 1968.

From October 1968 to August of 1970, now Sgt. LeMon served as Sgt of Guard (essentially base security guard), Brig Chaser and Casuality Escort Unit at the Marine Barricks of the Philadelphia Naval Base. He went from Philadelphia - where he grew up - back to VietNam.

While in VietNam, he served as Motor Transport Chief from August 1970 to August 1971. During that time his duties included Sgt of Guard, Convoy Security, Supervisor or Repair and Maintenance of Motor Transport Equipment, and Assigning Work Details and Scheduling Convoys and Combat Patrols.

He then served as a Motor Transport Sgt in Camp Pendelton from August to December 1971.

On 1 December 1971, Sgt. LeMon received his honorable discharge. During his seven years of service, Bill received numerous awards, medals and commendations. Among them was the Cross of gallantry, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Rifle Expert Badge and the Presidential Unit Citation. In addition, he received the Navy Unit Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.

After his discharge, Bill served the City of Philadelphia as a civilian radio dispatcher for 18 months before becoming a Police Officer. He served as a uniformed officer for 11 years before transferring to the Criminal Records Unit. There he served his remaining 10 years. While there he received numerous commendations from the City of Philadelphia, the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Justice, the US District Court Federal Probation Office, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the FBI. He is pictured here at right with his mother, Catherine, and his wife, WilmaLee.

Bill also served in the US Marine Reserves from 1986 to 1992. His son, William Jr, also served in the US Marine Corps. His brother-in-law Frank Eckman, Jr also served in the Marines. Frank's son - Frank III - is currently serving in the Marines, stationed in Japan. (The photo at right is Frank Jr., Bill Jr. and Bill)

On a personal (that is non-military) note, Bill was born 4 February 1947. He was the son of Charles Aston and Catherine Narwid LeMon. He attended Philadelphia public schools, including Dobbins Vo-Tech High School. In March 1970 he married WilmaLee Eckman. In addition to Bill, Jr. they had two daughters: Michele and Lori.

Bill passed Saturday, 15 July 2012 at the Lebanon VA Hospice, in Lebanon, PA. Vichnya Pamyat.

Special thanks to Bill Jr. and Jim Hauck for the photos.
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.