In Memory of
Army Private First Class
Merlin Keith Christiansen
Gettysburg, South Dakota
May 3, 1925 - -
December 18, 1944
Killed in Action in Belgium
Photo courtesy of Derek
Merlin K. “Keith”
Christiansen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hans Christiansen, brother of Marcel
Christiansen, was born on May 3, 1925. He attended school in Gettysburg, SD,
until he graduated in 1943. He enlisted in the United States Army under the Army
Specialized Training Program on July 14, 1943 and entered active duty on August
Private Christiansen was
sent from Ft. Snelling to Ft. Benning, Georgia, for basic training. After basic
training he went to Arkansas State College for specialized training, but the
program closed on March 8, 1944. He was sent to the infantry and trained for
combat at Camp Maxie, Texas. He was then assigned to the 99th
Division of the 394th Infantry Regiment.
On December 18, 1944,
Private First Class Merlin Keith Christiansen was killed in action in Belgium
during the Battle of the Bulge. On January 11, 1945, his parents received a
message that advised them that Pfc. Christiansen was missing in action. In
March, the Christiansen family received a telegram advising them that the
earlier message saying that their son was missing was inaccurate. The telegram
also told them that their son had been killed in action on December 18, 1944.
Christiansen is buried at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minnesota. Memorial
services were held at the Methodist church in Gettysburg, SD. The memorial
service was officiated by Reverend A. W. Gugin. Pfc. Christiansen was awarded
with the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for exemplary conduct while in action.
I will remember the
service and sacrifice of Private First Class Merlin Keith Christiansen.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Jamie L. Porter, 9th grade, Stanley County
High School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, April 14, 2002. Phyllis Wise of the
Dakota Sunset Museum, Gettysburg, South Dakota; Carol Lowry of Canada, and
Norma Jean Fiero of Isle, Minnesota, both cousins of Pfc. Christiansen, provided
information for this entry.