Damond E. Lester
San Antonio, Texas
Morse Code Operator
Berlin 1955 – 1957

In 1954, Damond attended basic training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and follow-on training in Morse code at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.  He was transferred to Berlin in the summer of 1955 after being stationed for several months at Herzo, and was assigned to ASA Site 4 in Grunewald as an 058 Morse code operator. After completing his military obligation in February 1957, he elected to be discharged from the U.S. Army and returned to Bluefield, West Virginia where he had grown up and had attended high school. At Beaver High School, he was a member of both the football and basketball teams. In June 1958 he reenlisted in the U.S. Army and went on to have a distinguished military career.

After completing a refresher basic training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to Fort Devens where he completed the Instructor Training Course––euphemistically called ‘Charm School.’ Following graduation, he assumed the post of Class Advisor and the responsibilities of posting and guiding students through the six-month 058 training course.

In 1959, he was assigned to Field Station Asmara, Ethiopia where he served as trick chief for Charlie Trick. From there, it was back to Fort Benning as a platoon sergeant. While assigned to Fort Benning, he deployed as an operations sergeant to the Dominican Republic during a rebel uprising there.

From Ft Benning he was assigned to Pon Teck Korea, as a trick chief, and later became the manual Morse NCOIC (1965-66). 

He headed back to Berlin in 1966 for duties as a trick chief and later as NCOIC of ASA Site #4 Gruenwald. In 1968, he departed Field Station Berlin for Fort Riley, Kansas where he served as platoon sergeant and acting first sergeant. While assigned to Ft. Riley he was deployed twice to Germany, during reforger exercises.

In 1973 he was assigned to Field Station Sobe, Okinawa where he served as the NCOIC of the manual Morse section and site supervisor. He departed Okinawa in 1975 enroute to San Antonio, Texas. There he served as a  flight supervisor in a dual operations center with the U.S. Air Force. He retired from the U.S. Army in August 1977.

During his distinguished military career, Damond Lester achieved the rank of Senior Master Sergeant (E-7) and was selected to attend the Senior NCO Academy at Fort Devens. He was awarded the following medals.

                        Bronze Star for Achievement
                        Bronze Star for Service
                        Meritorious Service Medal
                        Army Commendation Medal
                        Campaign Medal (Germany)
                        Campaign Medal (Korea)
                        Campaign Medal (Dominican Republic)
                        Good Conduct Medal (four times)
                        Certificate of Achievement Award (four times)

Following military service, he attended St. Phillips College where he received an associate degree in air conditioning and heating in 1979. He became a letter carrier for the U. S. Postal Service in 1979, a job that he cherish due to the opportunities it provided for getting to know people. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in January 1997 after nearly 20 years of faithful service. During his tenure with the postal service he received the following awards:

                        Thirty Year Civilian Service Award
                        Carrier of the Month Award (two times)
                        Certificate of Retirement

In December 1958, Damond married June E. Purtee of Bluefield, Viginia. They have two children––Philip A. born January 1962 and Jane M. born August 1968. Damond and June were divorced in 1973. He married Deniece Buttenhoff in July 1973.

At present he performs duties as a “Honey Do this guy.” He enjoys all spectator sports, bowling, poker and casino gambling. His favorite teams are the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Cowboys. His best pal while serving with the 280th ASA Company was Kenneth Lumbley, now deceased.


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