Chester Lloyd Lee

Army of the United States
05 July 1939 - 01 April 1966
Poyen, Arkansas
Panel 06E Line 072

Military Police

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Chester L Lee

The database page for Chester Lloyd Lee

30 Nov 2001


A memorial initiated by a friend of the family.
E-mail address is not available.
11 Apr 2003

I served with the 716th MP Battalion in Saigon from March 1965 thru April 1966. I remember very well the day Captain Lee and his driver were killed and the impact it had on me as I was getting ready to leave Vietnam. At that time we were quartered at the Metropolitan Hotel. The Guard Mount for the 716th was the largest in the world at that time. 100+ MP's dressed in Class "A" uniforms along with Australian, New Zealand and Korean MP's stood in the hot sun with our shoe polish melting off. We provided the security for facilities in Saigon in static and mobile patrols. The last time they had Multi-National Patrols of this nature was in Berlin 1945.

Rest in Peace.

Sp/4 Henry J. Churchbourne

16 Feb 2004

I was an MP with Charlie Company, 716th MP Bn. from March 1965 - April 1966, quartered at the International Hotel. I remember very clearly 1LT Lee, who was more the thoughtful, reserved type, or so it seemed to me. He was as friendly as an officer could allow himself to be with enlisted men and often stopped for extended chats with any of us when we were on duty and he was "making the rounds".

He seemed above all fair, apparently seeing no logic in making our lives any harder than they already were. Being in a foreign environment far from home, thrown together with a lot of guys you didn't know or even care to know (I came from Ft. Sill, OK - the only MP to be reassigned to V-N at that time), the heat, 12-hour shifts day and night, violent cases of Montezuma's Revenge, and of course the pressure and constant awareness that violence could erupt any moment. We, like him, were there for the same purpose and were doing our duty. Apparently he realized we were all in the same boat, bars or no bars, and that extra harassment was absolutely unnecessary.

The database page seems a bit sparse, but if I remember correctly, about midnight Lee and Mulvaney had apparently heard that the Viktoria Hotel BOQ was under VC attack and were gunned-down as they were racing back in their jeep from Cholon towards the hotel to give support. Obviously, the VC had set up defense points on either side of the hotel up the main street to stop anyone trying to reach it and give aid. Probably PFC Brems was on guard, and died at his post as the hotel was then bombed, but I'm not absolutely sure anymore. When I got to the hotel with my unit, the front face of it had been removed by the bombing and residents were wandering about the area in a daze, some only half dressed. It had an eerie appearance as the electricity was out and only the flashlights provided any light. Personal belongings and rubble scattered all over the area. Place looked as if it would cave-in any moment, but didn't.

The memorial service for the three men was sad, yet awakening. It shook some of us up, as we were beginning to feel immortal and were getting really "short" anyway. Many of us were scheduled to rotate in April and suddenly felt an urgent need just to get through the next days in one piece.

Roy de Motte
Munich, Germany

13 Feb 2004

Chet Lee was a fine officer, a good friend, and an excellent human being. I served with him from March 1965 to December 1965. As an officer, he idealized what the Army wanted. I looked to him for counsel and advice. As a friend we enjoyed many a laugh together. For Chet the best was yet to be. We all lost a fine human being.

Rest in Peace. You were there so that others might not have to be.

Herbert S. Frank
1 Lt., USAR
C Company 716 MP Bn.
51 Forsythia Lane, Bear, Delaware 19701

Photo is courtesy of Mr. Frank

29 May 2006

Chet was an officer who truly cared about the men he was responsible for and to. I held him in high esteem when we served together and to this day as well. To para-phrase Zane Gray, Chet, you'll do to ride the river with.

He always put the need of the troops first.

As I recall, the story at the time went something like this. He had stopped by the Victoria Hotel to check on the security post and had moved on. He had hardly gotten more than a couple blocks away when he heard gunfire. He directed the driver to return to the Victoria. He and his driver were only armed with their .45 caliber sidearms. The guard at the front door only had a shotgun. The VC sapper team were armed with AK 47's when they attacked. This did not stop Chet. He continued on and was met with overwhelming firepower. He paid the ultimate price to take care of his troops.

From a fellow officer and member of the Battalion,
Jack Kochenour, LTC (Ret)

02 Apr 2007

I was in the Victoria Hotel on 1 April 1966 at the time of the bombing. I was on the top floor and one of the few not injured.

Lt Col. Harry T. Coates
E-mail address is not available.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Charlie Company, 716th Military Police Battalion, lost two other men on 01 April 1966:
  • SP4 Michael T. Mulvaney (gunshot wounds) and
  • PFC Patrick J. Brems (fragmentation wounds)
Roy de Motte recalls in his addendum above that SP4 Mulvaney was Captain Lee's driver, while PFC Brems probably was the guard at the Viktoria Hotel.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Nov 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009