In Memory of
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant
Walter Julian Anderson
Murdo, South Dakota
Jones County
October 19, 1917 – February 4, 1944
Killed in Action at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

Walter Julian Anderson

Walter Julian Anderson was born October 19, 1917 to Peter A. and Ida Anderson at their farm seven miles north of Draper, South Dakota. He was the youngest of seven children. Walter attended eight years of country school and graduated from Murdo High School in 1936. While Walter was in school, “he was active in all school activities, was a good student, athlete, and singer.” Before he entered the service, Walter “was actively engaged in farming.”

Walter enlisted in the army on March 21, 1941, at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota; he did his basic training at Camp Roberts in California and from there went to Camp San Luis Obispo, California. At the time war was declared, Sgt. Anderson “performed guard duty at San Diego and Los Angeles, on the Mexican border, and at Shasta Dam.” In the fall of 1942, Sgt. Anderson was sent to Fort Ord, California, and had a brief furlough at home in May of 1943.  Then in July, as member of the 184th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, Sgt. Anderson commenced service outside of the continental United States when he took part in the Alaskan Aleutian Campaign at Kiska.

Following his active duty in the Aleutians, Sgt. Anderson and the rest of the 184th

Infantry were sent to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, “to train in jungle warfare techniques.” While there, Walter took the Army Ranger course.  In late January of 1944, the 184th was shipped to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands to take part in the amphibious assault landings.  The Invasion began on February 1, 1944, and Staff Sergeant Walter Anderson, platoon leader in Company G, was killed on the morning of February 4, 1944, when the “Japanese launched a counter attack against the 184th and Walter died as a result of Japanese rifle fire.” Before his death, S/Sgt.  Anderson had become platoon commander because of the heavy casualties of key officers during the assault.  As a result of his leadership, he was recommended for the Bronze Star Medal. In addition to his Purple Heart, which was awarded posthumously in 1944, S/Sgt. Anderson’s family received the Bronze Star in July of 1999 after a 55-year delay.

Walter Anderson was initially buried on the island of Kwajalein, but his remains were later moved to Plot C, Row 1, Grave 042, at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Honolulu, Hawaii.

Walter Julian Anderson

This entry was respectfully submitted by Tyler Bruckner, 11th grader at Stevens High School, Rapid City, South Dakota, May 1, 2002.  Information for this entry was provided by James E. Anderson, Eureka, South Dakota, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment, the Daily Republic, 3/1/44 issue, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and http://www.americanwardead.com/detailww.asp