Lt. Benjamin Wolever, the top name on the Weldon Service Board, has been identified and the following story, which appeared in January 1933, is reprinted with peuuission from the Leon Journal Reporter:


George Wolever, a grocer of Weldon, a former sheriff of Decatur county, has received a letter from his son, Lieutenant Benjamin H.Wolever, 43, who is with the U. S. Marines stationed at Managua, Nicaragua, with information that he will return to the United States and will report at Washington, D. C. for duty January 18. Enclosed in the letter is an English translation of a letter written by the president of Nicaragua to Mr: Wolever:

The letter is being forwarded to the state department of the United States and will be advanced from there to congress who will say whether Wolever can accept the medal of merit from the president of the Republic of Nicaragua, for no American officer is allowed to accept a medal from a foreign country without approval of congress.

Wolever, who formerly lived in Leon while his father was sheriff for two terms, attended college at Valparaiso, Ind., Burlington Business College, and finished at Drake University. When Capt. Brown of Leon was a state senator, Wolever served as his secretary. He has been in the service of the United States Marines for 23 years and for the past two years has been
stationed in Nicaragua on foreign duty.

"He seems to be very happy down there with his work among the natives." says Mr. Wolever, "but I expect he will be glad to get back once more. At least we'll be mighty glad to see him," he adds. "We often worry a little because there are so many earthquakes down there, especially when he writes of the tremors they feel almost every day."

With Lieutenant Wolever is his wife, who has shared the pleasures and thrills of the tropical land. They have three servants who care for them, a wash lady, a cook and a housemaid. In return for his services, Mr. Wolever receives a monthly check of goodly size from the U.S. government.

In closing an interview with Mr. Wolever, he says, "Better wait until Ben gets back and he can give you a real story for he has been on several big game hunts that proved quite thrilling."

The English translation of the letter which was received by Lieutenant Wolever that has been forwarded follows:


November 16, 1932

The President of the Republic of Nicaragua has the pleasure to confer the Medal of Merit of the Republic of Nicaragua to Lieutenant Benjamin H. Wolever, of the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua, for valuable services rendered to the Republic as per the following:

Service record — Lieutenant Benjamin H. Wolever, Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua (Chief Pay Clerk of the United States Marine Corps), rendered services as Assistant Paymaster of the Guardia Nacional, from June, 1931, to date. During all this period Lieutenant Wolever has been directly in charge of the distribution of funds of the Guardia Nacional, at Headquarters, Managua, Nicaragua, and the final fiscalization of all disbursements made by the Accountable Officers and Purchasing Agents of the Paymaster, Guardia Nacional, prior to being entered in the monthly account of expenditures of the Guardia, which the Paymaster submits to the Minister of Gobentacion. Due to the good knowledge which Lieutenant Wolever has regarding financial affairs, to his devotion to service, to his careful and exact work and to the help which he has rendered to the Paymaster of the Guardian Nacional in the administration of the Pay Department, the funds allotted by the Government of Nicaragua for the Pay and Maintenance of the Guardia Nacional have always been correctly distributed and the respective accounts have been rendered without any kind of economic loss. Lieutenant Wolever has also cooperated in training Nicaraguan officers who may in the future take charge of the functions of the Pay Department of the Guardia Nacional. In recognition of his meritorious and distinguished services rendered to the Republic with the greatest of pleasure the Medal of Merit of the Republic of Nicaragua is conferred to Lieutenant Benjamin H. Wolever, Guaria Nacional de Nicaragua.
J.M. Moncada

To: Lieutenant Benjamin H. Wolever, Guaria Nacional de Nicaragua."

Benjamin Wolever served in the Marines for a total of 35 years. Between WWI and WWII, he was stationed extensively in the Central American and Caribbean area and in the United States. In 1940, he was transferred to the Philippine Islands as paymaster for the 4th Marine Regiment which was being brought down from China to defend the Philippines. Mr. Wolever was involved in the delaying action when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. He was not involved in the Bataan death march, but made his way with several others to the island of Corregidor in Manilla Harbor. After MacArthur was replaced by General Wainwright, Mr. Wolever was among the American and Philippine forces that surrendered to the Japanese in June, 1942. From 1942 to 1943, he was declared Missing in Action and presumed dead, but during this time he was one of many prisoners who were transported by ships to the mainland islands of Japan. His status was changed to "prisoner of war held by the Japanese." At the end of the war, 1945, he was repatriated and brought back to the United States, spent four months at Bethesda Navy Hospital recovering from the effects of the internment. He was advanced in rank to Major and returned to active duty. On August 1, 1946, he retired from the Marine Corps and lived in Pink Hill, North Carolina. He died on January 24, 1970, and was buried in Duplin County, North Carolina. The wife referred to was Rovene, who died one year later, November 6, 1971, and is buried beside him. There is no evidence of children.

An article written by Capt. Mike Schmidt of the Marines asking for present knowledge of Major Wolever, particularly of his burial site, has brought response. He has received pictures of the site and the cemetery in which he and Rovene are buried.



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