Raymond Wesley ‘Wes’ Edwards, 83, awarded Republic of Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Medal

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Raymond Wesley "Wes" Edwards
Raymond Wesley “Wes” Edwards

Raymond Wesley “Wes” Edwards died May 12, 2015, at his much loved-farm, Leatherneck, surrounded by family. He was 83.

He was born in Salem, New Jersey on Nov. 16, 1931. He was preceded in death by his father, Raymond Edwards; mother, Francis Edwards; brother, James M. Edwards; and sister, Doris Sadowsky.

He is survived by his wife, Lella Lee Edwards; sister, Janice Manley; children, James Edwards, Lella A. Pape, Wesley H. Edwards and Lizabeth Walters; grandchildren, James A. Edwards, Kristina Shorter, Aaron Edwards, Matthew Edwards, Nathan Edwards, Joshua Pape Walther, Davis Walther and Madison Walther; and seven great-grandchildren.

He graduated from Washington College, then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1953. He embarked on a career as a Marine artillery officer, training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He had various artillery assignments with the second and third Marine divisions. While serving at headquarters in Washington, he graduated from the Washington College of Law, the American University, in 1966.

His first tour in Vietnam was as a plans officer and a fire support coordinator. Returning to the United States, he was an assistant professor of naval science at the University of Wisconsin, after which he commenced his legal career at Camp Lejeune, Jacksonville, North Carolina, serving as a judge advocate.

During the next 15 years, Brig. Gen. Edwards was assigned to various positions in the legal field, including his assignment as staff judge advocate of the First Marine Aircraft Wing conducting operations in Vietnam, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Quantico. His last tour was as an assistant judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy for military law in Washington where he was responsible for the administration of military justice throughout the Navy and Marine Corps.

His decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, Combat Action Ribbon and the Republic of Vietnam Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

After 31 years of service to his country, he retired as a brigadier general and attended law school at William and Mary where he received a master’s in law and taxation. He practiced law in the Northern Neck of Virginia until his retirement from full-time practice in 2001. He was an active member of Trinity Church

He was the director of the Northern Neck Chapter of the Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA) and president of the Virginia Council Chapter of MOAA. He was the VCOC representative to the Virginia Dept. of Veteran Affairs working with a group of service organizations members alongside U.S. Senator John Warner and his staff to provide the National TRICARE-for-Life program to retired veterans.

He was instrumental in establishing the Joint Leadership Council (JLC) designated to work with the governor and his cabinet. He was a appointed and reappointed twice by the governor to the JLC from 2005 to 2012. He was awarded the MOAA Leadership Award in 2012.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 16, 2015, at Trinity Episcopal Church. Burial to be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

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