In Memory of
Army Private First Class
Otto Bestgen
Sturgis, South Dakota
Meade County
January 4, 1920 —April 4, 1945
Killed in Action in Germany

Otto Bestgen

Otto Bestgen was born on January 4, 1920, in Sturgis, South Dakota, to August and Dora Bestgen. He had a brother, Joe, and sisters: Bertha, Evalyn, Angela, Dorothy, Louise, Monica, Delores, and Corrine.

Otto entered active service on July 28, 1944, at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota. He trained in the United States and was sent overseas on January 4, 1945.  Private First Class Bestgen, part of the 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, was a “sharpshooter in the war and had volunteered for the job when he was killed at the Battle of the Bulge,” which was a decisive battle for the Allied Forces in Europe in April of 1945.

On April 24, 1945, Otto’s father received a letter from the War Department, which stated, in part: “It is with regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class Otto G. Bestgen, 37,600,939, Infanty, who was killed in action on 4 April 1945 in Germany.”

In the service Otto Bestgen earned a Silver Star for “action near Gondelsheim, Germany, March 3 [1945],” the Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. He is buried at Plot E, Row 35, Grave 34, Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Nichole Fonder, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, February 29, 2000, and updated 2002. Information for this entry was provided by Joe Bestgen, Lead, SD, brother of Otto Bestgen, and Philip and Darlene Bestgen, Whitewood, SD, the Sturgis Tribune, 7/5/45 issue, and an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment.