Chester Aubrey Mollett
|Chester Aubrey Mollett was born in Peytona, West Virginia on July 27, 1943, the fourth child of Willie and Mary Crisp Mollett. Chester had two sisters, Eva and Bonnie, and three brothers, Clay, Darrell, and Billy.|
Chester attended Peytona Grade School and graduated from Sherman High School in 1962.
|Though he loved to read, his real passion was the outdoors. His activities included camping, hunting, and trapping. Chester was always looking for an excuse to be in the woods. After graduation from high school, he worked with his father in the coal mines for a short time, but decided he did not like being underground.|
|A short time later he joined the Army and served for four years. During this time he was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. When asked if he ever got used to parachuting, he replied, “It’s a different jump every time.” On one late night expedition, his unit missed their jump site and landed in the middle of a swamp.|
|After four years in the Army he came home for a few months and worked for a gas drilling company. He then joined the Marines and was sent to Parris Island for training after which he was sent to Vietnam.|
|After a Christmas visit with his family, he went to Camp Lajeune and Camp Pendleton for more training before returning to Vietnam in April 1969. By this time he had been promoted to sergeant and was a member of a reconnaissance division.|
|Chester wrote home often but never said anything about what was going on other than describing those “horrible monsoon rains.” In his last letter to his family he said, “This is the last time that I will have to go out on a mission. By the time you receive this, I will be back.”|
|Chester was wounded on that mission on February 6, 1970 and died ten days later aboard the hospital ship, USS Sanctuary.|
|He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for bravery during combat. He had been recommended for this award prior to his death for “unwaivering devotion to duty in the face of great personal danger.” His citation noted that during the midst of battle, Mollett crawled across an exposed area to rescue a wounded Marine, pulling him to safety and administering first aid. According to the citation, "After pinpointing an enemy machine gun, which was holding his platoon down...he crawled up the hillside hurling hand grenades until he reached the crest of the hill. Then braving the enemy fire, he singlehandedly assaulted the machine gun position, killing the two occupants and destroying the weapon."|
|Chester Mollett was buried at the Drawdy Cemetery near Peytona in Boone County on February 28, 1970 with full military rites.|
Information and photographs provided by Bonnie Wilcoxen and Eva Foster, sisters of Chester Mollett.
West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history. For more information contact Constance Baston at (304) 558-0230.
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