In Memory of
Army S/Sgt.
Derald G. Bledsoe
Oral, South Dakota
Fall River
November 6, 1917 -- February 6, 1944
Killed in Action in Benafro, Italy

Derald G. Bledsoe

Derald G. Bledsoe served in the Army as a Staff Sergeant. Robert and Iris were his parents’ names. Derald was born on November 6, 1917, in Oral, South Dakota. He had an older sister and two younger brothers. Derald went to school in Oral for eight years. Then he briefly attended to Buffalo Gap High School. He worked at CCC Camps in the Black Hills when he was old enough. 

Bledsoe enlisted in Hot Springs National Guard Company in 1941, later called Company “B” of Hot Springs. He trained first at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana. After going overseas, he and his company trained in Ireland. On February of 1941, Army S/Sgt. Bledsoe was deployed to North Africa.

Bledsoe was part of the 34th Division, which saw much hard combat around Cassino, Italy.  A war correspondent in Italy remarked, “The 34th division’s units have clung to Cassino with heroic stubbornness, advancing painfully building by building. The 34th was in the lines for two periods of 76 and 45 days, and suffered heavy casualties....” The correspondent went on to say that “Almost indescribable hardships were endured by both the 34th and 36th in the campaign around Cassino. Military men with wide experiences have said that the physical discomforts of Washington’s army at Valley Forge could not compare to those suffered by these men.”

Staff Sgt. Derald Bledsoe was killed in action in Benafro, Italy, on February 6, 1944. Sgt. Derald Bledsoe was the first war fatality in his community. His sister, Roberta, said, “He and I were so close in age; it’s been a long time that I have missed him so much.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jesse A. Frasier, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 4, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Roberta M. Fleming, South Dakota, sister of Staff Sgt. Derald G. Bledsoe.