In Memory of
Sigurd Johan Bjertness
Eureka, South Dakota
June 4, 1922 --October 24, 1944
Killed in Action in the Leyte Gulf of the Philippines
Johan Bjertness was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 4, 1922. He had two
sisters, Victoria and Adelaide, and a brother, Martin “Luther” Bjertness, who
was also a casualty of WW II. Sigurd graduated from Eureka High School in
Eureka, South Dakota, in 1939, and then entered Concordia College in Minnesota
in the fall of that year. At college, Sigurd participated in sports, music, and
journalism while keeping good grades. In his senior year he was elected student
body president, and he had a lot to look forward to. Sigurd’s plan, according to
his sister, was to become a Lutheran pastor. However, before he could graduate,
Sigurd felt the call of duty to his country, so he enlisted in the Navy.
Bjertness graduated from Northwestern University as an ensign. After five days’
leave, he was assigned as an officer to a landing craft, the L. C. I. 1065.
Ensign Sigurd Johan Bjertness gave his life while in the Leyte Gulf on October
24, 1944, when a kamikaze plane hit his landing craft, washing Ensign Bjertness
into the Pacific Ocean. Navy Ensign Sigurd Johan Bjertness was reported missing
until the following May when he was declared killed in action.
Dustin Trowbridge, Eighth
Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota respectfully
submitted this entry on November 3, 2000. Adelaide Bjertness Stenehjem, sister
of Sigurd Bjertness, Eureka, SD, provided information for this entry.