Magnolia native remembered at Fort Lawton

Lt. Robert Leisy, who was killed in Vietnam by a mortar round at the age of 24 in 1969, was the subject of a military tribute at Fort Lawton on Saturday, Sept. 10, attended by many of Leisy's military comrades, friends and family.

Leisy was a lifelong Magnolia resident and graduate of Queen Anne High School. He received a posthumous Medal of Honor, awarded to his mother by then-vice president Spiro Agnew, for the heroic manner in which he lost his life.

The ceremoney took place at 10 a.m. at the Leisy Reserve Center at Fort Lawton, which is named in his honor.

Magnolia resident Tom Weingarten, a friend of Leisy in his youth, said the memorial service held significance both for what it meant for the survivors as well as in the broader context of community relations. With Fort Lawton on the federal list for the coming round of military base closures, Weingarten said the future of his friend's memorial center, along with all the memorabilia contained there, is uncertain. "It needs to go someplace, and it needs to be on display," he said of the Leisy Reserve Center and its contents.

"What we don't want is it to go to the Pentagon and be in some warehouse," Weingarten said. Should Fort Lawton be shut down, Fort Lewis in Tacoma might serve as a repository for Leisy's military paraphenalia, yet, Weingarten added, "it's a little far afield." The important thing, he said, is that Leisy's name be attached to the Magnolia community in which he grew up.

"He served his country, he made the ultimate sacrifice, it was recognized by the country by an act of Congress, and so that recognition shouldn't go away from the local community."

- Rick Levin[[In-content Ad]]