In Memory of 
Army Pfc.
Salvador S. Avilla
Dell Rapids, South Dakota
Minnehaha County
October 4, 1920 – February 13, 1944
Killed in Action in Italy

Salvador S. Avilla

One of nine children born to Mexican immigrants, Salvador S. Avilla was the son of Peter and Concepcion Avilla. Salvador’s father died of the disease silicosis contracted from quarry labor when Salvador was only 13 years old. At the time his father died, the family was living in a converted train boxcar.  The community of Dell Rapids came to the aid of Salvador and his family during these trying times, adding another boxcar and “many of the comforts of life.”

Salvador was inducted into the military on June 17, 1942, at Fort Crook, Nebraska, and reported for active duty on June 30, 1942. He left the United States for foreign service on February 8, 1943. Pfc. Avilla served with the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

The newspaper clipping about Salvador’s death stated:

Salvador developed an intense appreciation of life. One of his last letters
contained a vivid description of the beautiful churches, paintings, and sculpture
he had seen in Italy. 

Army Pfc. Salvador Avilla was killed in action while fighting in Italy on February 13, 1944. The adjutant general of the war department wrote to Avilla’s mother that Salvador was killed in “heroic service in defense of his country, even unto death...”

“Salvador had been known as a ‘good soldier,’ and there is no doubt that he died as he lived, without flinching in the face of adversity. He knew what he was fighting for....” Salvador Avilla is buried at Plot J, Row 3, Grave 70, Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Nettuno, Italy. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Ashley Gudgel, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 3, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Sr. Linda Avilla, Omaha, Nebraska, sister of Army Pfc. Salvador S. Avilla, and by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus payment.