In Memory of
Derald G. Bledsoe
Oral, South Dakota
November 6, 1917 -- February 6, 1944
Killed in Action in Benafro, Italy
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.
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.
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.”
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.