Share Your Story

 

As part of constructing the South Dakota World War II Memorial, we want to preserve the stories of South Dakotans during that period. Please share with us a story of your experience during that time.

 

Clifford Neuberger

Clifford was in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He was killed in action in 1943.

Submitted 7/18/01

 

Elmer Whole

Elmer received the Purple Heart in World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Donald C. Kalda

Donald was in the U.S. Army

Submitted 7/18/01

 

Clifford James Lyons

Clifford was a Staff Sargeant in the Air Force in World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Floyd J. Walker

Floyd was killed in action in New Guinea in 1944.

Submitted 7/18/01

Clifford G. Buhler

Clifford was a private first class in the 10th Maintenance Division.  He received two battle stars for his service in Italy.

Submitted 7/18/01

Forrest E. McFall

Forrest was a EM Third Class U.S. Navy.  He served in the Pacific Ocean.

Submitted 7/18/01

Donald J. McFall

Donald was in the Army Air Force in World War II.  He provided aircraft instruction.

Submitted 7/18/01

J. Douglas Tucker

Douglas served in Europe in World War II as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Submitted 7/18/01

Donald E. Gravdahl

Donald was in army basic training near the end of World War II.  He went to Japan during the occupation.

Submitted 7/18/01

Zane Elwood Carlson

Zane served with the 246th Fighter Squadron and the 350th Fighter Group in World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Orvil J. Johnson

Orvil was in the US Navy during World War II.  He entered the service on 8/28/44 and spent nearly a year in Boston going to Advanced Radio and Radar School.  He spent the rest of his duty at NAS Ford Island in Pearl Harbor being discharged on 5/30/46.

Submitted 7/18/01

John W. Healy

John was a private first class who gave his life as a U.S. Marine in the Battle of Guam.

Submitted 7/18/01

Harry, Luverne, Herbert, Kenneth, Lester and Loyd Brandt

These six Marine brothers were all in World War II in the Pacific and Asia.  Their mother was a widow at the time.  Herbert was killed in action.

Submitted 7/18/01

Gerben Tolsma

Gerben served in World War II from June 19, 1941 to October 7, 1945.  He was a private first class with Company B, 94th Infantry Training Battalion.  He received the American Defense Ribbon, the Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon with one bronze star and the Good Conduct Medal. 

Submitted 7/18/01 

Joseph P. Schwan

Joseph served in Europe with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Submitted 7/18/01

James Katsokas

James was killed in action in World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Richard J. Malone

Richard was killed in action on March 24, 1945.

Submitted 7/18/01

Loyd V. Bortnem

Loyd was inducted into the service on December 11, 1943.  He was killed in action on November 15, 1944 in France.

Submitted 7/18/01

Leslie G. Scott

Leslie was in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Richard J. Rensch

Richard was a pilot of a P-51 Mustand and a ace.  He was killed in an accident in England and is buried in the American Cemetery in Cambridge, England.

Submitted 7/18/01

Chet Vollmer

Chet was killed in action in the invasion of Italy.

Submitted 7/18/01

Donald Edwin Reeves

Donald was in the U.S. Navy in World War II.  He enlisted on 10/9/40 and served in the Asiatic Pacific Campaign on the USS Rathburne, USS Hormel, USS McKenzie, and USS Virgo.  He was a prisoner of war at Camp Perry.  He also taught at Yeoman School.

Submitted 7/18/01

Emil D. Hofer

Emil spent over three years as a medic in Germany and England during World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Gilman Bjerke

Gilman was a veteran of the invasion of Normandy, second wave.

Submitted 7/18/01

Bill Crosswait

Bill served as a combat air crew member in World War II.

Submitted 7/18/01

Elden R. Ragels

Elden served in the Third Infantry Regiment of the 106th Division.

Submitted 7/18/01

William Cronkite

William and his two brothers served in World War II.  William was a sergeant in the U.S. Army and wounded in the Battle of the Bulge.  He was awarded the purple heart.

Submitted 7/18/01

Oscar Keierleber

Oscar served in the Navy and was stationed in the Aleutian islands.

Submitted 7/18/01

Milo D. Loomis

Milo was a Technician Fourth Grade, Headquarters Battery with the 11th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group.

Submitted 7/19/01

James B. Murphy

James was with the 32nd Division in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Submitted 7/19/01

Darrel Overlin

Darrel served with Battery A in the U.S. Army in the Pacific.

Submitted 7/19/01

James Floyd Overlin

James was with Company B, of the 381st Infantry in the U.S. Army.  He was killed in action Leyte, Phillipines, October 28, 1944.

Submitted 7/19/01

Gilbert Junioe Overlin

Gilbert was in the radio Divison 59 serving in Guam during World War II.

Submitted 7/19/01

Harold J. Todd

Harold served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945 on board the USS Santee and USS Langley.

Submitted 7/19/01

Harold James Wallis

Harold served in the Infantry in World War II.  He was wounded in service.

Submitted 7/19/01

William Jean Wallis

William served in the 147th Fiedl Artillery in World War II. He was wounded in service.

Submitted 7/19/01

Maurice Jackson Wallis

Maurice served in the 8th Air Force during World War II. He was wounded in service.

Submitted 7/19/01

Charles Douglas Wallis

Charles served in the Third Army during World War II.

John Castle

John Castle entered the Army on May 1, 1942, on his 30th birthday.   Basic training took place at Fort Leonard Wood, KS.  He was assigned to the 5th Army, 19th Combat Engineer's. He arrived in North Africa in November of 1942, followed by action in Sicily and Italy until the German surrender.  John attained the rank of Staff Sargeant.   He was offered the opportunity to receive a promotion and to move the Pacific Theater of operation, he did decline. John was discharged in Sept. of 1945..

Submitted 7/25/01

Ralph P. Schmitt

A native of Alexandria, S. D.  Ralph joined the Navy and served from July 1943 to August, 1946. After V-12 school and Navy Supply School, he served aboard USS Prairie (AD15) in the Pacific from March, 1945 to Aug. 1946 as disbursing officer. Some of that time at Ulithi atoll, then to Japan in Oct.- Nov. 1945 and back to States.

Submitted 7/24/01

Conrad Jensen

In November 1942, Conrad enlisted with the Army Air Force and was trained as an Airplane Mechanic, while stationed in Texas.  In 1943, after marrying his hometown high school sweetheart, Sergeant Jensen was deployed overseas assigned to the 456 Bomb Squad, 323 Bomb Group, 23rd MRR Squadron.  On his first wedding anniversary, he was on Omaha Beach as part of the D-Day/Normandy Invasion. 

An Honorable Discharge from military service was granted, December 1945, and Sgt. Jensen returned stateside after having survived such Campaigns as; D-Day/Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes/Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland and Central Europe. 

As so many other WWII Veteranís, Conrad would never talk about the war or his service overseas.  The majority of his military service was learned through documents, handwritten notes and photos that he stashed in a brown envelope over a half century ago in hopes of putting it in the past and forgetting. 

Submitted 7/24/01

Glenn Schoepf

I entered service Sep 1942 at Ft Snelling Mn. Was sent to Camp Wallace, TX for training in Coast Artillery. From there to Fort Belvoir, VA for Engineer officer training. After graduation in May 1943, I  joined the 168th Engr Bn [ C] at Camp Carson, CO. Our troops arrived in June from Camp Devon, MA.  The cadre came from Camp Swift, TX. There was only two men in this Bn from South Dakota myself and Kenneth McKnight [recently deceased]. After a year of training we shipped out of Camp Shanks, NY, May 1944 in a large convoy landing at Bristol, England. We spent a month training at Wrexham, Wales and Oxford, England. In July we landed on Utah beach. From there we went out to the Brest peninsula. After Brest campaign, we traveled across France to St Vith, Belgium. There we were in support of the 2nd Inf Div until they were relieved by the 106th Inf Div. The 106th Inf Div was only in place for about a week when the

Battle of the Bulge started 16 Dec 1944.  The 168th Engr Bn [C] was pressed into service as Infantry as part of a hastilly formed task force B, which was successful in holding up the German

forces for about four days. This hub of six roads was crucial for Hitler to succeed in his gamble. We lost 232 EM and 7 OFF. Some were killed but the most were surrounded and captured. We found some of them about four months later in eastern Germany.  We rebuilt the Bn from replacements and went back through St Vith in March 1945. We then had the task of crossing the 89th Inf Div over the Rhine River in plywood assault boats. Three Engineers and eight Infantry per boat. Lost more troops to small arms fire and drowning. We had three locations to cross. One right at St Goar and St Goar Hausen the others a mile up stream and the other a mile downstream. We also built a floating bridge at that site. From there it was a race to the Elbe

River where we met the Russian Army.   In 1992 a monument was erected on Prumerburg Ridge, just east of St Vith to the 168th Engr BN.    In 2000 we dedicated a monument to the 168th Engr BN in Fort Devon. MA. The one in Devon is  five sided with the names of about 900 who served with the 168th in France and Germany.   The 168th Engr Bn received Campaign credits during World War II for Normandy, Northern France,  Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe.   Unit Decorations : Presidential Unit Citation - Belgian Croix de Guerre, For defense of St Vith.     During our time in France and Germany we were assigned to VIII Corps which was shifted from  First US Army to Third US Army. Also for a time to Ninth US Army.  We supported the 29th Inf Div - 4th Inf Div - 7th and 11th Armored Div during the Battalion.

Submitted 7/25/01

Thomas A. Snyder, Sr.

Thomas served in World War II in Rhineland and Central Europe in the Infantry.

Submitted 7/24/01

Charles and Ida Koistinen

Charles and Ida had six sons who served in World War II.  They were Wesley, Walfred (George), Allan, Elmer, LeRoy and Elwin Koistinen.

Submitted 7/24/01

Margaret Ann Daughenbaugh Putnam

Margaret served in the WAVES during World War II.

Submitted 7/24/01

Alyce E. Bowes

Alyce served with the Army Nurse Corp from 1943-1946.  She was in Europe for 22 months with the 39th Evacuation Hospital.

Submitted 7/24/01

Standly Oedkovens

Standly was a PFC serving in the 3rd and 9th Divisions during World War II.

Submitted 7/24/01

Del Greenlee

Del served in the Marine Corps and was on Iwo Jima.  He received a bronze star.

Submitted 7/24/01

Frances E. Brown

Frances served as a Combat Infantryman from November 14, 1939 to January 21, 1945.  He served in Algerian-French Moroccan, Tunisian, and Naples-Foggia Campaigsn.  He received the Battalion Citation GO#21, Hq 34th Infantry Division on June 11, 1943.  He also received three Bronze Stars for the Algerian-French Moroccan, Tunisian, and Naples-Foggia Campaigns. 

Submitted 7/24/01

Richard D. Meyerhoff

Richard was a Sergeant 1st Class in the U.S. Navy.  He served from June, 1944 to June, 1946.

Submitted 7/24/01

Lawrence F. Meyerhoff

Lawrence was a Sergeant 1st Class in the U.S. Navy.  He served from June, 1945 to August, 1946.

Submitted 7/24/01

Leo A. Ihli

Leo enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He was commissioned a captain on November 14, 1942.  He served in the 17th Engineer Battalion with the 1st Marine Division.  He took part in the landing and attack on Cape Gloucester, New Britain; also the landing and attack on the Peleliu Island in the Palau Islands, east of the Philippine Islands.  He was wounded on September 17, 1944 by a booby trap at the entrance to one of the Jap caves on Peleliu.  Leo received numerous shrapnel wounds, burns, and three breaks in his left leg below the knee.  He spent nearly 10 months in hospitals before returning to duty on August 14, 1945.  He received a commission as a Major on January 28, 1946. 

Submitted 7/24/01

James Cadwell

James was killed in World War II.

Submitted 7/24/01

John M. Meginness

John served in the U.S. Army from May 11, 1945 to December 15, 1946.  He received the Victory Medal and the Army Occupation Medal-Germany. 

Submitted 7/24/01

Joseph H. Bielmaier

Joseph was an Auto Mechanic with the 94th Signal Battalion, HQ Company.  He served in battles in Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe from September 10, 1942 to January 11, 1946.  He received the Distinguished Unit Badge, American Theater Service Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal.

Submitted 7/25/01

LaVern Walter

LaVern served in the Pacific Theater from 1944 to 1946.

Submitted 7/25/01

Robert M. Schliessmann

Robert served in active duty from February 10, 1941 to August 30, 1945.  He also served during the Korean War Conflict and remained in the National Guard and Reserves for over 25 years.

Submitted 7/25/01

Junior Andersen

Junior served in the Infantry as a combat medic and also was a POW in Germany.

Submitted 7/25/01

Lavern O. Abraham

Lavern was one of four brothers who served in World War II.  He was a Pearl Harbor Survivor on the USS Maryland.

Submitted 7/25/01

Myron L. Abraham

Myron was one of four brothers who served in World War II.  He served in the U.S. Army and received a Purple Heart during his service in Germany.

Submitted 7/25/01

Wendell L. Abraham

Wendell was one of four brothers who served in World War II.  He served in the U.S. Air Force.

Submitted 7/25/01

Merle S. Abraham

Merle was one of four brothers who served in World War II.  He served in the U.S. Air Force.

Submitted 7/25/01

Elloween M. Saunders

Elloween had five brothers and 5 brother in laws who served in World War II.

Submitted 7/25/01

Donald L. Austin

Donald served 19 months in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946.

Submitted 7/25/01

John Ptak

John was a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps who was killed in action on Gaum.

Submitted 7/25/01

Steven John Srska

Steven was in the U.S. Marine Corps and was killed in action in Saipan.

Submitted 7/25/01

Fred Lang

Fred was in the U.S. Army and was killed in action in Italy.

Submitted 7/25/01

Glen Axthelm

Glen was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in World War II.  He was driving his commanding officer along a dirt road in Germany at night while they were shooting mortars at them savings his Commanding Officers life. 

Submitted 7/27/01