In Memory of
U.S. Army Cpl. T/S
Wilmer Victor Bender
Menno, South Dakota
Hutchinson County
June, 4 1917-March 11, 1943
Killed in Action at New Guinea

Wilmer Victor Bender

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) Company B.

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 country.

 This cross marks the grave site of Corporal Bender in a military cemetery in New Guinea.

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.