David Woodrow Hiester, Jr.
31 Dec 1938 12 Sep 1962
Place of Death: outside Freilaubersheim, Germany
Class Memorial Pages\M-1 Jeep Hiester.pdf
12 September 1962 a day of deepest loss to us. This loss was, and still is, in reality, a vivid experience characterized by untold grief. Such grief can only be experienced by parents in similar situations. Empathy is impossible; there can only be understanding. The essence of genuine grief seems to be the inexplorable realignment of ones subconscious to that of reality still never forgetting. Many hundreds of letters from all over the world helped us during the darkest periods of sorrow, making us wonder how a life so short could touch so many. Each note was a drop of strength that made it worth enduring just one more day. To all who were considerate, we express our appreciation.
Extracts from his last efficiency report, signed the day before his death, are official evidence of a job well done. His rater wrote:
Lt. Hiesters performance of duty as platoon leader has been outstanding. His platoon is the best platoon of the five platoons in the company. Due to a shortage of officers, Lt. Hiester has the additional responsibility in garrison of supervising the training, maintenance, and administrative activity of two additional platoons. He has accepted these additional duties and his many extra duties cheerfully and is doing a very good job. Lt. Hiester maintains superior standards of military courtesy, appearance, and physical fitness. He sets a very good example for his men. Lt. Hiesters performance as company motor officer raised this units Command Maintenance Inspection rating from unsatisfactory to one of the best ratings in the 8th Infantry Division. Lt. Hiester has been assigned an unusually heavy burden of extra duties and projects. He accomplished all of these tasks in an outstanding manner and seeks more responsibilities and means of improving the unit. Lt. Hiester is a very good troop instructor and expresses himself well both verbally and in writing. During field operations Lt. Hiester not only does an outstanding job of coordinating between his own area signal platoon and its supported battle group, but he also travels to area signal center platoons which do not have officers assigned, and effects coordination between those platoons and their supported battle groups. Lt. Hiester is extremely conscious of the living conditions of his men and continually tries to improve them.
His endorsing officer added:
Lt. Hiesters duty performance ranged from exceptional to outstanding. I have inspected his platoon in the field and in garrison. Lt. Hiester and his men had a can do attitude and approach toward all duties. The personal appearance, maintenance, and discipline of his men was outstanding. The maintenance of his equipment ranged from exceptional to outstanding. This officer and his men knew their jobs and performed their mission in an outstanding manner. He made sound decisions in employment of personnel and equipment. He did an exceptional job in caring for his men, ensuring that they had hot food and an opportunity to take showers while in the field. I would be extremely happy to have him as a member of my command under any circumstances.
His record, though short, speaks for itself.
We, his parents, record as best we can our tragic loss and the Armys. Jeep was never known as David nor as Junior at any time. He was given this name at the age of 6 months by the Ships Captain of the USS Republic in June 1939. The name remained with him. Although in the popular use it was descriptive of something else, it became symbolic of the personality of one with many unique characteristics and talents. Early in his life we found he was not inclined toward the exact things of life; rather, his leanings were toward people, their feelings, and other subtleties not outlined by precise formulae. He had a flair for style the visual shape of objects and the neatness, cleanliness, and arrangement of things. These were the inherited talents from his mother. They grew stronger and more evident as he grew older; they collectively created the lasting image of Jeep.
Although he was born in Vermont, his persistence did not come from geography. It came from a Welsh-German heritage, self-imposed training, and careful discipline. He established his own goals and learned the strict codes of service as he worked hard against odds to succeed. The turning point of his life came when he was told in writing that West Point was the one school he should never attend or even try. This sparked the flame of motivation that carried him through graduation not only from West Point, but also from the ranger and airborne schools. He met the standards of these schools with integrity and a deep conviction of the necessity for maximum self-application. Yes, many others have done as much, but not with as much dedication or serious effort. As with all young men, he needed and wanted guidance. However, he did not lack from wisdom in selecting the best course of action when faced with alternatives. He chose well in this respect, as his pattern of accomplishment reveals. The devotion to his family was exceptional. Inwardly and without notice, he concerned himself with his sisters burdens, secretly providing for his handicapped niece in his will just in case.
His feelings for others blossomed into fuller bloom with his first troop assignment. His letters were warm, thoughtful, enthusiastic, ambitious, and timely. The fragrance of his true personality was spreading rapidly day by day, and we, his parents, lived with him vicariously never wanting anything but to watch him grow, succeed, live, and return service to his government for value received.
As assistant defense counsel on 12 September 1962, he drove toward Mannheim, Germany, to complete an investigation. Outside of Freilaubersheim toward Neu Bamberg, he failed to negotiate a curve on a narrow country road, colliding with a loaded gravel truck. He and his passenger were killed instantly.
Although his career was short, he had reached his initial goals, he was serving his country as he had always wanted, he was happy with his growing responsibilities, and he was looking forward to the future with ambition and drive. Except for more time enjoy watching him grow, what more could God give us?
His Mother and Dad