OBITUARY

Leslie R. Heselton Jr.

July 22, 1920May 30, 2020

Leslie R. Heselton, Jr, Captain, US Navy Retired, born 22 July 1920, Reading Massachusetts, passed away peacefully in his sleep at Baywoods, Annapolis, Maryland, on 29 May 2020. Les was predeceased by his beloved wife, Jane Thompkins Heselton in 2001 and his daughter Sharilyn Heselton in 1966. In 1942 Les married Jane Thompkins, of Balboa, Canal Zone. They celebrated 59 happy years of marriage and devotion only to be separated by her death in 2001. He is survived by his 2 sons: Leslie III and his wife Mary, and Thomas and his wife Shirley; 5 grandchildren: Lori Lenox and her husband John, Lisa Watkins and her husband Scott, Christopher Heselton, Jonathan Heselton, and Lauren Heselton and her husband Jordon; and 5 great-grandchildren: Ian Grant, Kile Grant, Johnny Lenox, Jake Lenox, and Cole Heselton. Les spent his youth in San Diego, California, where he used to roller skate to crew (rowing) practice. Les was an Eagle Scout and member of the Order of the Arrow Honor Society with numerous service awards. Les attended Georgia School of Technology (Georgia Tech) 1937-39. He was appointed to the U. S. Naval Academy in 1939 by a competitive examination, graduated #2 in his class with a BS degree and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy 19 June 1942 (his class graduate in 3 years due to WWII). He played varsity sports (rowing) and was a member of the Inter-collegiate Championship Pistol Team and awarded the Sword for Excellence in Ordinance and Gunnery. During World War II instructor at Naval Pre-Flight School, Athens, GA, gunnery division office in USS Texas, commissioning crew and fire control officer USS New Jersey and USS St Paul, and occupation of Japan and China. He received his Naval Aviator Wings in 1947, assigned as Electronics Officer in Patrol Squadron 3 at Coco Solo, Canal Zone, deployed to Caribbean and Newfoundland, attended U.S. Naval Postgraduate School 1950-51 and California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) 1951-53, MS (Physics) degree June 1952. Operation Officer Patrol Squadron 22 1953-54, in Hawaii, deployed to Alaska. As Communications and Plans Officer Staff Fleet Air Hawaii 1954-56, designed and tested communications system for Pacific Air Defense Barrier. Les was a research physicist at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Livermore, California, 1956-59, where he was instrumental in the design and testing of the first Polaris warhead. Fleet Carrier Division Staff, 1959-61, deployed to Far East in attack carriers Ranger, Bon Homme Richard, Oriskany, Ticonderoga, Midway, Shangri-La, and Coral Sea. Scientific and Technical Liaison Officer of Task Force Group JTF-8 for Pacific Nuclear Tests 1962-63. Les retired from the Navy in 1964 after a tour in Office of Chief of Naval Operations. While in the Civil Service, he was on the Professional Staff of the Center for Naval Analyses 1964-69 and was a consultant to the Blue Ribbon Defense Panel 1069-74. Les spent his entire career serving his country first as a 30 year Naval Officer (pilot) and then as a 10 year Civil Servant (nuclear-physicist). He travelled all over the United States, Panama, Hawaii, Alaska, the Far East, the Near East, and Europe. He loved to travel with his beloved wife, Jane. He was a Fellow American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; member of Association of Old Crows, Naval Institute, American Defense Preparedness Assn., Navy League, Retired Officers Association,Naval Academy Alumni Association Sigma Xi. He loved dogs, travel, his country, his family, and always tried to do the right things. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name maybe made to Best Friends at support.bestfriends.org. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

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    Tuesday, November 24, 2020

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Leslie R. Heselton Jr.

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Sheila Roche-Cooper

September 10, 2020

The Cooper family offer their deepest sympathies to the Heselton family. My husband, Capt. Charles Thomas Cooper III was a classmate of your father. They both retired in the same year; my husband as Chair of the Language Dept. at the Academy. After surviving the sinking of the Hornet in October 1942 and the Battle of Savo Island shortly afterward he moved to the submarine force. His submarine, the Spikefish, sank the last Japanese submarine in the war. I believe I may have met your father at some of the class reunions in the later years. My husband and I always appreciated your father's contribution to the Class through Shipmate. Again, our sincerest condolences.
Sheila Cooper

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