|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.
were two war stories my father told the first was when he
returned from the war and on the ship a few participated in
rolling craps. One of the soldiers won over $12,000.00 and asked my father
if he would escort him to the Captain.
He offered to pay dad $100.00 for his assistance.
My dad walked with him and the gentleman asked the
Captain to put him in the Brig for the remainder of the trip
home. This man came
home and bought himself a farm, home, and all the machinery with
the money he won. The
second thing he talked to me about, we were in church one Sunday
morning about six years ago and he leaned over, in a quiet
voice, stated, “I wonder if God will forgive me for breaking
one of his commandments?”
Here is my perfect father stating this to me and I said,
“which commandment?” He
stated, “Thou shalt not kill.”
I looked into his eyes and said you did that for love of
your country Dad, of course he will forgive you.
by his daughter Collette Wieser Klein
served in the Army Infantry in 1942-1944.
He was wounded in the war and feel he did his duty for
his country and would like to have him acknowledged along with
many others. He
passed away June 23, 1998 and after he was gone his wife was
sent three different medals. We were very proud of him wished he had been able to see the
by his daughter
enlisted in Reserve Corp (ERC) at Brookings, SD, June 1942.
He enrolled in Advanced ROTC, SDSU, Brookings, June 1942.
He was called to Active duty, March 1943.
Basic training, Camp Wolters, TX.
He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry,
Officers Candidate School (OCS), Fort Benning, Georgia, April
1944. He served in
the ETO with 78th Infantry Division, 311 Infantry
Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company D (heavy weapons
leader, 81-mm mortars, April 1944-1945.
He was in the ETO as a Food & Agriculture Officer
June 1945 to August 1946. He was released from active duty at
Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. Continued
in US Army Reserve, August 1946.
He served in US Army Reserve in various commands and
capacities, August 1946 to June 1975. He retired from the US
Army Reserve as Colonel, Infantry, in June 1975.
entered the US Navy, November 25, 1942, until November 7, 1945.
He received his training as an aviation electrician in
Chicago, Illinois. He
served on the USS Hoggatt Bay in the Pacific Theater. He earned the American Pacific Medal with three stars and the
Philippine Pacific with two stars.
He received his honorable discharge at Bremerton,
by his sister
was drafted in August 1941, and drew wages of $21.00 per month.
He served through 1945 with Claire Chenaults Flying
Tigers in the China Burma India Theater. He was a gunner and radio operator on a Mitchell B. 25.
He completed 54 bombing missions.
His rating was Tech Sergeant.
His five-member crew returned safely except for the tail
gunner who had his leg shot off.
Citations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the
Good Conduct Medal and the Asiatic Theater Air Medal.
Today he is the only survivor of the Crew. Bud is also a Member of the South Dakota Aviation Hall of
Fame. He received
this honor at Clyde Ice Field, Spearfish, South Dakota in August
John H. Swenson who was a career military officer from South
Dakota. He graduated from high school at Faith, South Dakota,
attended 2 years of college at SDSU, Brookings, South Dakota and
then received an appointment to West Point.
After graduating from the academy, he was stationed in
the cavalry at Ft. Meade, South Dakota when Pearl Harbor
occurred. He was
transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division and saw
service in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and was wounded in
Normandy serving in the 325th Glider Infantry.
by his family.
enlisted in the Navy on February 23, 1944.
Completed boot camp training at Tarragut, Idaho.
Served in South Pacific in Casu (F) 51 in Guam, Ulithi
Carolina IS, and Okinawa. He
was discharged in April 27, 1946.
by his daughter-in-law
H. McCormack graduated from Elk Point High School in 1938 and
like most others in my graduating class I ended up in the
service. In my case I went into the Army, ended up in the Pacific, and
served with the 41st Jungleer Division from New
Guinea to Japan.
is an account of the battle between the destroyer USS Hugh W.
Hadley DD774 and Kamakazie planes on May 11, 1945 on which James
Raymond Pollock participated. This account is taken from the
ship log on that day. This account is taken from the ship log on that day.
position on the ship was a 40mm mount, which he manned during
the battle that was located near the five-inch guns.
The standard procedure was to strap yourself to the gun
and change barrels after ten minutes of firing, but on this day
there was no time to change barrels, and soon we had to unstrap
ourselves from the guns to be able to keep up with the planes.
picket ships were scarce and at 1350, on May 10th we
were ordered to take Radar picket station fifteen with the USS
Evans DD552, as support ship off Okinawa, Japan, at 1932 a
Japanese plane approaching the formation was shot down by the
ships gunfire. We
had a sleepless night with many low flying aircraft in our
0636 the morning of May 11, a Japanese plane splashed by our
cap, but it would prove to be only the forerunner of an
estimated 150 planes approaching from the north.
The cap soon had their hands full; at 0750 an enemy scout
plane was taken under fire and shot down by the ship guns close
to the ship. At
0755 the entire cap was ordered out in different formation to
engage the hoard of enemy planes closing in on us shortly. We
received reports that they had shot down 12 planes, then they
became so busy they were unable to keep us informed, but we
intercepted several reports and learned they had shot down forty
to fifty planes. From
this time on, the Hadley and the Evans were attacked
continuously by Kamikaze planes coming at the ships in groups of
4 to 6 planes.
the early period several planes were spotted trying to bypass
the ship, flying very close to the water.
The Hadleys guns shot down four of these, from 0830 to
0900 the Hadley was attacked by groups of planes coming at the
ship from both the bow and the stern.
Twelve planes were shot down during this period, at times
firing all guns in all directions. The Evans at this time was at a distance of three miles, was
seen fighting off several planes by herself, several of which
were destroyed. At
0920 the Evans was hit and put out of action.
At one point toward the end of the battle the four
support ships were prevented from firing on two friendlies,
which they had taken under fire, one of was seen to splash
inside their formation by their own gunfire.
we were unable to give an accurate account of their actions,
they were very helpful later in picking up our crew who were in
the water in helping to remove our wounded and to help us pump.
For twenty minutes the Hadley fought on alone.
Finally at 0920, ten enemy planes which had surrounded
the Hadley, four on the starboard bow under fire by the main
battery and forward machine guns, four on the port bow underfire
by the forward machineguns, and two stern underfire by the
ten planes were destroyed in a remarkable fight as a result of
this action the Hadley was hit by ABA Bomb released by a low
flying Betty. Hit by a suicide plane in the rigging, by this
time the ship was badly holed, with both engine rooms and one
fireroom flooding as the ship settled down and began to list
rapidly. All five
inch guns were our of action, a fire was raging, ammunition was
exploding, and the entire ship was engulfed in a thick black
smoke, which forced the crew to seek safety, some by jumping
overboard, others by crowding forward awaiting orders.
The ship was helpless to defend herself, and at this time
the situation appeared hopeless.
commanding officer received reports from the chief engineer and
damage control officer that the main spaces were flooded and the
ship was rapidly developing into a condition, which would
capsize the ship. The exploding ammunition and the raging fire appeared
extremely dangerous. The
engineers were securing the forward boilers to prevent them from
blowing up. The order to “prepare to abandon ship” was given and life
rafts were put in the water.
A part of fifty men and officers were being organized for
a last ditch effort to save the ship.
From this point onward an amazing and courageous and
efficient group of men and officers with utter disregard for
their safety approached the explosions and the fire with hoses.
For fifteen minutes kept up this work, the torpedoes were
positioned, weights removed from the starboard side, and finally
the fire was extinguished and the listing controlled and the
the ship was still in extremely dangerous condition, one
fireroom bulkhead held and she finally was towed safely to the
IE Shima anchorage. The
total number of enemy planes destroyed by the Hadley in one hour
and thirty five minutes on a continual firing was 23, this
includes twenty shot down and three suicide hits.
The ship was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for
valor, signed by Secretary Forrestal.
served in the Army Air Force, WW II serving in the Pacific on
the island of Saipan, on the ground crew for B29’s from South
was a member of the 109th Combat Engineers; South
Dakota’s own from the period of mobilization on February 10,
1941, until my discharge on July 18, 1945.
In that intervening period the 109th, an
integral unit of the 34th Infantry Division
distinguished itself in all ways.
We had over 525 days of front line combat, which is a
record unequalled by any unit in the US military in WW II.
We suffered casualties and were awarded a high number of
represented South Dakota with honor.
served in the Medical Department of the U.S. Army as a T/5
assigned to the 14th Evacuation Hospital (Mobile).
His period of service went from 1940 draft to October
1945. He holds
eight combat stars and served in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France
by Marvin S. Talbott
Walker of Dallas, South Dakota was 17 years old in 1942.
He had to have his parents consent before he could be
sworn into service with the U.S. Navy. After boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station, he was assigned
to the USS Destroyer McKee that was being built in Orange,
completion of down and training, the USS McKee eventually
arrived in Guadal Canal. Nearly
three years were spent aboard the USS McKee in the pacific area.
During battles, Walker was a 20mm gunner, and was given
credit for shooting down a Japanese Betty torpedo plane. Walker
was discharged from the Navy, December 1945.
He was not yet 21 years old.
After three years as a civilian, Walker joined the U.S.
Air Force in January 1948.
He was assigned as a gunner on B-29’s at Fairchild AFB,
Washington, 92nd Bombing Wing, a unit of the
Strategic Air Command. July 1950 his bomb wing was given orders for Japan where they
were involved in 31 bombing missions over Korea. After Korea, Walker phased into the B-36 bomber and then into
the B-52 bombers. On
October 1965, Walker retired from the U.S. Air Force.
McKee earned eleven battle stars on the Asiatic-Pacific Area
Service Ribbon for participating in the following operation.
They include 1 Star/Pacific Raids-1943,
Marcus Island raid-31 August 1943, Tarawa Island raid-18
September 1943, Wake Island raid-5-6 October 1943, 1
Star/Treasury = Bouganville Operation,
Action off Empress Augusta Bay – 8-9, November 1943,
Rabaul Strike – 11 November 1943, 1 Star/Gilbert Islands
Operation – 20 November – 8 December 1943, 1Star/Occupation
of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls – 31 January – 4 February
1944, 1 Star/Hollandia Operation – 19-26, 28 April and 2 May
1944, 1 Star Capture and Occupation of Guan – 21 July – 4
August 1944 , 1 Star Morotai Landings – 15 September 1944, 1
Star Leyte Landings – 13-24 October 1944, 1 Star Iwo Jima
Operation, Assault and Occupation of Iwo Jima – 15 February
– 4 March 1945, FIFTH
FLEET raids against Honshu and the Nansei Shoto , 15-16
February, 25 February, 11 March 1945 1 Star/FIFTH and THIRD
Fleet raids in support of Okinawa Gunto Operation, 17 March –
11 June 1945, 1 Star/THIRD Fleet
and actions against Japan – 10 July – 15 August 1945.
The McKee was under air attack – 229 times, on radar
picket – 49 times, refueled at sea 129 times, and rescued 11
pilots, 3 aircrew men, 10 others. McKee, John Rogers, Harrison
and Murray each had 11 Star Operations
above information comes from the U.S. Navy.
was a World War II POW in Germany for nine months and landed on
was a T/5 Cpl. and drove an armored car during the invasion in
France June 6, 1944, he was captured June 13, 1944.
by his wife
was a pilot during the war.
by his daughter
served in the USAF during the Second World War and the Korean
War, and he was killed in France in 1963 in an aircraft accident
while serving in the Air Force as a reconnaissance pilot –
by his wife
1942 – 1945 ETO
Sgt. – P 38 Ground Crew
Connor Bartley Jr.
served in the Navy from May to November 1944, Seaman 2c, in
was in the ROTC at Brookings and entered the Officer Training
School at Ft. Benning, Georgia in July of 1943.
He served in France, England, Germany and Czechoslovakia,
also the Battle of the Bulge, with the 5th Infantry
Division. He was discharged as Captain in December 1946.
they need anymore, I guess they’ll have to take me.” That’s what Gilbert Anderson, 63-year-old Toronto farmer
said when his son Norman, 21, marched off to service with the
armed forces this month. Norman is the seventh son of Mr. and
Mrs. Anderson to go into the service.
He was inducted early this month and is now training at
Ft. Riley, Kansas. Five of the boys served during World War II, and the sixth
saw action in the Korean conflict. One of the Anderson boys was
killed during World War II.
He was Willis who died of wounds received while fighting
on the German front in December 1944.
Willis, Roland and Ernest were the first to leave home
for duty with Uncle Sam’s fighting units. Willis, who was 28
at the time of his death, was inducted into the army in March
1942. A month
later, On April 10, Ernest, now 33, and Roland, 38, entered the
army. Two of the boys went into the navy during World War II.
Arnold, 35, and Jarvin, 31, enlisted in the navy and were
assigned sea duty. Allan, 24, was taken into the army in August 1951, and served
a year overseas in Korea, starting in February 1952. He was released from active duty in May of this year at Ft.
Ord, California. Willis
spent nearly two years in the states before being shipped to the
European front in February 1944.
Shortly after D-Day, he went into France as a member of
the Fifth Armored division. Later he went into Belgium and then Germany where he died.
He was buried in a military cemetery in Belgium.
Ernest and Roland both went into the army at the same
time, with Ernest going overseas while Roland was stationed in
this country. Ernest
went through the Africa, Italy and Southern France campaigns and
after serving nearly three years overseas was released from
service in October 1945.
the older, was in the service for two and one-half years.
Arnold served on the U.S.S. Hornet while in the Navy, and
Jarvin was with the U.S.S. John Deere. Both saw extensive sea duty.
from the Clear Lake Courier
(Dick) A. Erickson
served in the U.S. Navy during WW II.
entered the service on May 26, 1944 – Infantry. Killed in action February 11, 1945, in Germany, Battle of the
Army – 636th Tank Destroyer Division, European
Army 11th Field Artillery, Battery C, South Pacific
Army – Photo Recognizance Unit – India
Army Signal Corps, South Pacific Theater
was killed in Germany in 1944
was a paratrooper.
was in the army and was a cook.
served in the South West Pacific and the Asiatic Theater (1944
& 1945). His
brother served in the Islands and was sent back to the states in
1943 to train troops for combat.
He trained his own brother.
fought in World War II. He
was on the B-25’s as a Turret Gunner in the Air Force.
served his country during World War II.
He served in Company G 504th Parachute
Infantry of the 82nd Airborne.
He served from September 23, 1943 until January 17, 1946.
Delton was a triplet brother of Delbert H. Shultz.
Another brother served in the U.S. Navy, he is Bernard
by Myrna Shultz
was a Marine in the 5th Spearhead Division that was
on Iwo Jima. He was
one of Carlson’s Raiders I and also occupation troops that
landed as Sasebo in Japan.
As a matter of fact he and some of his fellow soldiers
were in the Rosenthal picture of “jubilation” that was
contested as a “staged” picture.
He was somewhat shell shocked on returning home and
refused to talk about his activities on Iwo Jima.
He has now in his later years opened up and can raise the
hair on your neck.
joined the air force. He
was one of their 1st bombardiers trained at Lowery,
AirField at Denver Colorado.
Sailed for India in 1942.
Flew the hump under British Command, until the war was
served with Patton’s 3rd Army in the 7th
Armored Division in World War II.
He served from 1942 to 1946.
His rank upon discharge was Captain.
served in the U.S. Navy as a gunner on the USS Samuel H. Walker
(Muleship) and the USS Monteray (troopship), from March 1944 –
took his basic training in Texas, was sent to the North, from
there he was sent to the European Theater of war, and was there
over three years. He
was discharged in October of 1945.
by his wife
worked as a cook in a Forest Reserve camp in the state of
Washington, until he joined the service in 1939.
He was sent to the Panama Canal Zone to build secret
couldn’t write home to his mother for one year.
He was injured, when he fell from high rigging and fell
on a stake that went through his stomach, he was transferred to
a San Francisco hospital. Finally
his mother received a letter. When he recovered the war was in
full action. He
served in Attec, Sitha and the Mariannas, but was sent back
again for shrapnel wounds.
This time when he recovered he was put in the training
camps to train new recruits.
He didn’t like that position.
was born December 29, 1914 in Outbook, Montana. His family moved to Gettysburg in the 1920’s.
After he quit high school in his sophomore year.
He went to Washington to work.
He joined the Navy in 1940.
He was lucky to have gotten sick and was sent back to San
Francisco just two weeks before the Pearl Harbor attack.
He lost many buddies he had worked with while he was
there. He got a
was an instructor at the Sioux Falls Army Base in Sioux Falls
taught and coached athletics, then in 1942 enlisted in the Navy
as an apprentice seaman in the medical corps.
I answered the call for volunteer duty on a convoy as a
gunnery officer onboard a merchant ship carrying troops and also
on a tanker. He
made seven trips in two years during the Battle of the Atlantic.
In July 1945, the Battle of the Atlantic was won so he
was assigned to duty in the Pacific, however after the Atomic
Bomb was dropped, the Japanese were forced to surrender,
allowing me to apply for an honorable discharge from the Navy in
B. McNeil Ellis
received Basic Training at Ft. Des Moines, Iowa in June of 1945.
Then She went to Camp Atterbury, Indiana for my Surgical
Technician Training. There
she saw how “war” had left our men and women who had been
“Prisoners of War” in Japan and Germany camps.
They all needed plastic surgery not to mention their
psychiatric problems. We
were the first women they had seen in 3 ½ years of their
captivity since the POW’s were released from prison.
She was also sent on to Scott Air Field in Illinois for
more hospital work and driving an ambulance, same as you see in
“Mash” TV show. In
1947 she was discharged as a Sergeant.
enlisted at Fort Snelling in 1935 and retired at Luke Air Force
Base, AZ in 1965. He
served in the Army, Army Air Corps and USAF for almost 30 years.
He was a prisoner in the Phillippines and Japan for the
length of the war.
was a member of the 17th Field Artillery, South
Dakota National Guard entering World War II when they were
called up in 1941.
served in the Philippines during WWII.
He was killed October 1, 1946 in a jeep accident the
night before he was scheduled to be shipped home.