In Memory of
Army Private First Class
Sturgis, South Dakota
January 4, 1920 —April 4, 1945
Killed in Action in Germany
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
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 ,” the Bronze Star, and Purple
Heart. He is buried at Plot E, Row 35, Grave 34, Lorraine American Cemetery, St.
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.