Les Hester, 77 (left), is a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran who, along with his family, retired from New Mexico and relocated to the peninsula community of Ingleside on the Bay in 2022. A photo of him in his military uniform (right) shows what he looked like not long after he was inducted into the service at age 17. He quit high school in his sophomore year to join the military, eventually earning a G.E.D. while in the ranks. But more than 50 years after he was deployed, Hester conceals a lingering anger at the way other troops were treated upon their return, the anti-war sentiment leaving an indelible mark on his soul, one that brings him to sobs of tears when he stirs up those
Fast-forward to present day and Hester acknowledged that he is often thanked in public for serving his country, especially when he wears a ballcap from his family’s old business that he ran in New Mexico that bears a Vietnam service pin from the Vietnam era.
Hester’s wife, Kaye, bought this sign she planted outside their Bayshore Dr. home, proud of her husband who was almost killed in action having climbed atop a communications tower, hoping to get a clear signal to listen to music broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Network. That stunt almost ended in his death, a lone enemy bullet whizzing past him, close enough that he could feel its trajectory as it passed by.