On This Day, 17-DEC 1944, We Honor a Fallen Hero
Nelson W. LeSieur was born 24-JUL 1921 in Portage Des Sioux, St Charles County, MO. His father was Joseph Edward LeSieur (1877-1964). His mother was Marie Francis Bastean LeSieur (1880-1978). Nelson had three sisters; Elsie, Grace and Sylvia. He had one brother; Joseph.
Nelson registered for the draft 15-FEB 1942. He was unemployed at the time. He later enlisted at Jefferson Barracks and served in the 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division during World War II. He attained the rank of Army Staff Sergeant.
On 20-JUN during a Battle, Nelson fearlessly exposed himself, crawling from his position to disable an enemy machine gun. He would later be awarded a Silver Star, for his actions on this day.
Nelson was reported as missing in the newspapers and by the War Department on 7-DEC 1944. The Battle of the Bulge began on 16-DEC 1944. The Battle of the Bulge, also called Battle of the Ardennes was from 16-DEC 1944 to 16-JAN 1945. This was the last major German offensive on the Western Front during World War II. It was an unsuccessful attempt to push the Allies back from German home territory.
He also was reported as missing by the Post-Dispatch as late as 11-JAN 1945. Nelson W. LeSeieur was later reported as killed in action 17-DEC 1944. According to U.S. Army burial records and the Post-Dispatch report dated 1-MAY 1945, “Nelson W. LeSieur Nelson was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action last 20-JUN 1944. The citation related that as SGT LeSieur company advanced up a hill, the group was pinned to the ground by fierce enemy fire and was unable to return the fire. Fearlessly exposing himself, he crawled from his position into a thicket 15 yards away, from which point he determined the exact position of the automatic weapon holding up his advance. With one well-aimed shot, he killed the enemy gunner and completely disorganized the enemy company, forcing it to flee” it said. Nelson was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Nelson is buried at Epinal Permanent Cemetery, Epinal, France. Nelson W. LeSieur, United States Army, is reported to have been awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity 20-JUN 1944 in action against the enemy while serving with the 36th Infantry Division during World War II. 143rd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division. General Orders: Headquarters, 36th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 75 (1945).
Nelson W. LeSieur is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum on the Wall of Honor.