In Memory of
Lester Bryan Balcom
Listed as a Pennington County Casualty by SD History Commission
February 28, 1921 -- January 1945
Killed in Action in the Philippine Islands
Lester Bryan Balcom was born on February 28, 1921 to
Claude Everett Balcom and Irene Page Balcom. Shortly after his birth, he moved
to Sycamore, Illinois to live with his grandparents. In fact, Mr. Balcom was
never a legal resident of South Dakota. Everett Balcom, a half brother living
in Rapid City, SD, remembers meeting Mr. Lester Balcom on several occasions.
Mr. Balcom entered the service while living in Illinois,
but was enlisted as a resident of South Dakota, because that was the address of
his father, Claude. It is not clear how Mr. Balcom entered the service;
however, we do know that he served his country bravely in the Navy as a hospital
In January of 1945, Pharmacist Mate Balcom and his comrades
landed on the Philippines as a part of the Lingayen Gulf Invasion. During the
invasion Pharmacist Mate Balcom did all he could to assist wounded servicemen.
While bravely caring for his comrades, Pharmacist Mate Balcom was killed. He
died bravely and heroically, and for his help in assisting the wounded, he is
greatly respected by his brother, Everett Balcom.
Pharmacist Mate Lester Balcom’s courage and character are
the threads which bind our nation. He made the ultimate sacrifice in order to
keep our great nation free, and for that he has earned our respect and the
respect of America as a whole. He will surely be remembered in the hearts and
minds of all of us.
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Eric Matt and John Eisenbraun, 12th Grade,
Wall High School, Wall, South Dakota, April 25, 2002. Information for this
entry was provided by Mr. Everett Balcom, Rapid City, South Dakota, half brother
of Pharmacist Mate Lester Balcom.