In Memory of
U.S. Army Cpl. T/S
Wilmer Victor Bender
Menno, South Dakota
June, 4 1917-March 11, 1943
Killed in Action at New Guinea
Wilmer Victor Bender was born June 4, 1943, in Menno, South
Dakota. His parents were Emmanuel and Hulda Bender. Wilmer graduated from Menno
High School in 1935, and attended the University of South Dakota, and Grand
Island, School of Business in Grand Island, Nebraska. Along with getting his
education, Wilmer also helped on the family farm and worked in Minneapolis.
Wilmer enlisted in the army on January 27, 1941. He was
trained at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and in January he was sent overseas to
Australia. In November Wilmer was sent to New Guinea with the ranking of
technician fifth grade with the Army Engineers (43rd Engineers)
In a letter dated to his parents on February 16, 1943,
Corporal Bender wrote, “I sure wish I was on my way home. That would be the
happiest day of my life.”
He perished in New Guinea, March 11, 1943. A friend who
called on Corporal Bender’s parents told them that Bender was on a grader on an
airstrip, and the noise from the machine kept him from hearing the air siren
when a bomb dropped in front of the grader. The family never received anything
official except a telegram saying Wilmer Victor Bender was “killed in action”.
Corporal Bender was buried in New Guinea. Champlain Lolsgrove wrote to the
family saying, “Wilmer was laid to rest by the hands of his friends, and he had
many friends in the regiment. He was accorded full military honors and Christian
ministry.” His sister recalls being very proud to sit by him as they traveled in
the family car while he was home on furlough, because he was dressed in uniform.
Survivors of the time of Corporal Bender’s death were his
parents, Hulda and Emmanuel F. Bender and his sister Dorothy. His current
survivors are Dorothy Bender Koepsell, 4800 S. Lewis Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57103
and Oliver Bender, Mesa, Arizona.
Wilmer Victor Bender was a great soldier. He gave his life
for his country. We will always remember him as a great soldier who served our
This cross marks the grave site of Corporal Bender in a
military cemetery in New Guinea.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Alex Brock, Alex Anderson, and Adam Brown, 8th
grade, Tripp-Delmont School Tripp, South Dakota, January 7, 2002. Information by
this entry was provided by Dorothy (Bender) Koepsell, 4800 S. Lewis Ave., Sioux
Falls, SD 57103, and Oliver Bender, Mesa, Arizona.