In Memory of
Army Sgt.
Alan Andrew Buckles
Corsica, South Dakota
Douglas County
May 20, 1922 – May 11, 1945
Killed in Action at Davao City, Philippine Islands

Alan Andrew Buckles

Alan Andrew Buckles was born May 20, 1922, in Charles Mix County, South Dakota.  Alan had a big family, including his parents, five sisters: Mary, Lillian, Ruth, Ione, Wilma, and one brother, Warren.  His family moved quite a bit from 1932 to 1937.  They moved to Douglas County and lived on a farm for three years.  Next they moved to Cloverdale, Oregon, for one year, then to Corsica, South Dakota, where Alan graduated in the Class of ’41, having received the American Legion Medal for outstanding student and having participated in many school and community functions.

After graduating, Alan moved to Los Angeles in 1941, intending to go to college in 1942. It turned out that he was drafted into the Army.  Without ever having a chance to come home on furlough, Alan left for his basic training in Hawaii on November 6, 1942, and then did some more training in Australia and New Guinea.

Army Sgt. Alan Buckles participated in two invasions in the Pacific Theater.  They were the assault of New Guinea, and of Leyte and Luzon on the Philippine Islands.  His one leave was spent in Australia. His sister, Ione, remembers, “Alan never spoke of coming home; it was as if he never thought he’d see home again.” Only towards the end of his service did he start to write, “When I come home….”

His parents later requested that the War Department provide further information as to Sgt. Buckles’ “resume of action.” The following is the description they were provided:

The 24th Division was activated on 1 October 1941, in Hawaii, and suffered casualties
on 7 December 1941. The unit moved to Australia in 1943, and subsequently landed
on Goodenough Island in January 1944. On 22 April 1944, the organization landed on
Dutch New Guinea, and on 20 October 1944, on Leyte Island in the Philippine Islands.
following action on Leyte Island the organization landed on Mindoro Island and the
company later participated in the drive on Manila. Your son’s unit landed on Mindanao
Island on 17 April 1945, and his company was assigned the mission of seizing and
securing Cabaguio. During this engagement bitter hand to hand fighting took place
for five days. At approximately four o’clock on the morning of 10 May 1945, Sergeant
Buckles’ company was heavily attacked by enemy forces. After counter attacks by the
company, it was relieved and moved to the north east outskirts of Davao in which
vicinity your son’s death occurred.

On May 11, 1945, on Mindanao, under heavy artillery fire, Sgt. Buckles was slightly wounded. According to his family, “there was great debated between the commanding officers about whether to send him to the hospital or not. They decided to send him to the hospital in Davao City for a night so that he could get some much-needed rest.” That night the hospital was hit by an artillery shell and Alan was killed instantly.  He had been in the service for 31 months. 

A week before Alan’s parents were notified that Alan had been killed in action, two of Alan’s sisters took their mother to Sioux Falls where she bought a suit. Word came on Mother’s Day that Alan had been killed and Nellie Buckles never wore that suit. Eventually she just gave it away; she couldn’t bear to wear it. According to her family, Nellie mourned her son until the day she died at 92. She never got over losing him and tears rolled down her face whenever she spoke of him.

A memorial service was held for Alan at home shortly after his death. As part of the 19th Infantry, 24th Division, Alan Buckles was awarded the Good Conduct Ribbon, two Bronze Stars, one Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. After the war, Alan’s family chose to have his remains brought back to the United States for reburial. His body and that of 25 other South Dakotas were returned aboard the transport Dalton Victory

He was survived by his parents, his sisters: Mary Doorn, Lillian VanGenderen, Ruth VanderPol, Ione Druyvestein, Wilma VanVuuren, and his brother, Warren.

We will not forget the service and sacrifice of Army Sgt. Alan Andrew Buckles, the second Corsica casualty of WW II.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Drew Marshall-Thoreen, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, South Dakota, November 11, 2000 and updated 2002. Information for this entry was provided by Mrs. Ruth Vanderpol, Ione Druyvestein, sisters, and Warren Buckles, brother of Sergeant Buckles.