Huron, South Dakota
February 2, 1914- May 14, 1944
Killed in Action at Corsica, Sicily
Raymond Christensen was born
in Huron, South Dakota February 2, l914 to Peter and Ella Christensen, who were
part owners in the Bell Bakery and also farmed south of Huron. Christensen
attended Beadle Country rural schools and Huron Junior High, and in 1942 he
enrolled at the Agricultural college of the University of Minnesota in St. Paul,
Minnesota. While attending college those three years, he also spent some time
selling life insurance for State Farm. His family remembers him as having had
a great sense of humor. He and his grandfather were in constant contest to see
who could outwit the other. Christensen also enjoyed playing the fiddle.
Instead of completing his
degree, Christensen enlisted in the army in January 1942.
In addition to officerís
school, he took intensive training in the Signal Corps and later joined the
Bomber Squad and was shipped to England and then to North Africa where he was
stationed with the 417th Night Fighter Squadron as a flight officer.
In a letter to his parents that later appeared in The Huronite March 25,
l944, Christensen wrote:
True to form, Uncle Sammy does not want us
boys to get bored or
stale by staying in one spot. From a social point of view, I donít
know why he picked North Africa for me. . . Weíve only lost a few
boys so I feel quite optimistic about a long life as yet. Iíve got quite a
bit of faith in my pilot and we get along as well as anybody could with
me. Weíve got to have perfect teamwork to live out this blessed war
so we pay as much attention in our teaming up as we would to getting
married-probably more. In this case ďuntil death do us partĒ
doesnít seem to lend any humor to the situation whatever. Itís good
sport going up in the black of night and scaring bad little Nazis, just
when we were kids, only the Nazis donít scare any d___ easy.
He was one of a crew of two in an English
Beau Fighter in a fighter squadron. In an article in Stars and Stripes,
he was credited for helping bag a German plane in the North African war zone.
Flight Officer Raymond Christensen was
reported missing from one of those missions and later reported as perishing in
Corsica, Sicily May 14, 1944. He was awarded the air medal and the Purple
Heart. Although his body was never recovered there is a memorial at the Tombs
of the Missing at the Florence American Cemetery in Florence, Italy.
Christensenís name is inscribed on an obelisk in front of the Huron Public
Library, Huron, South Dakota.
At the time of his death he was survived by
his parents, Peter and Ella Christensen, his brother Corporal Clarence
Christensen, who was stationed in New Guinea and three sisters, Lillian Knutz,
Sylvia Neiffer, and Edna Carey.
entry was respectfully submitted by Josh Koken, 9th Grade, Redfield
Public School, South Dakota , April 15, 2002. This entry was respectfully edited
by Mary Schwartz, English teacher, Redfield, South Dakota. Information for this
entry was provided by Karen Hammer of Rochester, Minnesota, a great niece of