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.

 

Howard Larson

Howard was a combat infantryman during World War II.  He received the Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Japan).  Howard was one of ten soldiers several times out of a platoon of men, who survived when the army invaded and took the Philippines from Japan.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Gideon Anderson

Gideon served in the Medical Corps two years in Europe.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Amos Eugene Anderson

Amos was a Fireman 1st Class in the US Naval Reserves.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

David Anderson

David served in the Medical Corps for two years in Europe.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Eric Sandstrom

Eric was a private in World War II who served in the Pacific Theatre.  He was injured there.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Donald E. Young

Donald was the Commanding Offered of Demolition Team 8, US Navy Reserve.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Ronald G. Williams

Ronald served with Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division.  He died August 13, 1945.  He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Ted Greenfield

Ted served in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945 in the South Pacific.

Submitted 8/20/01

Minnie E. Bender Ehren

Minnie served at the 4196th Army Air Force Base.

Submitted 8/20/01

 

Gerald John Kerber

Gerald served with Company B, 290th Infantry.  He was killed in the Battle of the Bulge on January 20, 1945.

Submitted 8/21/01

 

Curtis Bardell

Curtis served in the Infantry in World War II.

Submitted 8/21/01

 

Owen Bernard Uhre

Owen enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 6, 1942.  He was stationed at Ft. Knox, KY for much of his training.  He was with Companies B and D and Headquarters with the 750th Tank Battalion in the European Theater.  He was a Scout Car Commander, Reconnaissance NCO, a Bow Gunner and a Tank Gunner.  He had charge of 1- ton Army vehicles and six men, and took charge of all convoys.  He did reconnaissance work for the Battalion.  He was awarded three battle stars for the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe Campaigns.  He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and he told of being in Aachen, Eschweiler, Cologne and Brussels.  He talked of the eating pea and bean soup for twenty-one days while they ran through their tents.  Near the end of the war he was with the 3rd Tank Platoon, Company B, and he told of crossing the Elbe River with his tank on a pontoon bridge.  He was with the 750th Tank Battalion that represented the United States in the Army of Occupation in Berlin.  For the show, the tanks were cleaned and repainted, concrete from the front taken out and they received new uniforms with Eisenhower jackets and helmet liners.  He was honorably discharged on January 23, 1946. 

Submitted 8/21/01

 

Ron Hoffer

I wasn't very old when my father went off to the war in fact all I remember of my father was what someone told me, you see I was six months old when dad left and only 13 months old when he was killed in action along the French - German border. He left a wife and four children behind I have two brothers and a sister, we missed a lot by not having our father but we were proud of what he did for his country. I am the youngest and I have been active in the American Legion auxiliary in fact in 1997-98 I was the state president and I dedicated my year in memory of my father. This might not be what you want but my father isn't here to talk on his behalf in fact he is one of the many thousand of gi's that never was brought back home and in 1998 my brother, sister, a half brother, myself and our spouses went to France to visit his grave, so you see we lost a lot even a place to visit or take flowers on memorial day. I do know my father Bruce Ruby gave up farming when his country needed him and went off to war and never returned, he had four children that missed him very much and are glad that finally our state is putting up a memorial for all service personal for that war it is long over due. Thank you in advance for doing this for the W.W.II veterans.

Submitted 8/21/01

Al Meier

Al moved to Washington State when he was 15 and joined the Navy when he turned 17. He was lucky to be stationed on the battleship South Dakota BB 57 and fought the war in the South Pacific.     His brothers Bob & Fred also born in Kimball, also served in the U. S. Navy during the war.

Submitted 8/21/01

Frank W. Sherer Jr.

Frank enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17 November 11, 1943 through January 16, 1947. He thought it was quite a coincidence that the World War II Memorial is being dedicated on the anniversary of the Invasion of Peleliu, September 15, 1944 one of the invasions he was involved in. My father also worked for the State of South Dakota in the State Engineers Office for 30 + years.  The following is a picture of Frank on his LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle-Personnel) with his Ship LST 661 in the background.

Frank on his LCVP (Landing Craft Vehicle-Personnel) with his Ship LST 661 in the background

Submitted 8//21/01

 

Hans M. Sivert

Hans started his military career in National Guard, Sept. 1940, in Aberdeen, SD.  He served with Headquarters Company, 109th Quartermaster Regiment of the34th Infantry Division.  He was discharged from military in February, 1946, and ultimately given Major's rank, during my reserve days.  He was discharged as a Captain, Quartermaster Corps, US Army.  He served overseas, for 33 months in the European Theater.

Submitted 8/21/01

 

2nd Lt. Herbert W. Evans.

He was MIA From the Washington Post, Feb.9, 2001

Title: World War II Crash Sites Found in Himalayas by Associated Press

With China's encouragement, Pentagon officials are planning to visit two crash sited in the Himalayas that may hold the remains of American airmen lost in WWII.   US officials have tentatively linked one of the sites in Tibet to a C-46 transport lost March 27,l944. on a flight from Kunming, China, to Sookarating in the far northeastern reaches of India. The plane's crew of four is listed in Pentagon records as missing, according to missing personnel office spokesman Larry Greer.  Greer said yesterday that the names of the four men are being withheld until relatives are contacted and told of the possibility that their remains could be recovered and identified by military forensics specialists.   According to a book,"The Aluminum Trail," which details U.S. air supply missions over the Himalayas during WWII, a C-46 flying from Kumning on March 27, l944, with a crew of four destined for Sookarating was last heard calling for a directional bearing.  It was believed to have run out of fuel and crashed. It was the only C-46 making that flight on that date, according to the book. The four men on that flight, the book says, were 1st Lt. Douglas R. Wight, pilot, 2nd Lt. Herbert W. Evans, copilot, Cpl. John W. Hanlon, crew chief, and Pfc. Gerald Rugers, the radion. The Chinese Foreign Ministry described the aircraft as WWII-era American plane, is presumed to have been flying the Hump "the famous route over the Himalayas that American airmen used to take ammunition and supplies to Chinese troops fighting on the side of the Allies against Japan.  China just notified the Defense Dept. of the discoveries last fall and provided the first details in January.  The Chinese said no human remains were found in an initial survey of the areas. but some unspecified personal effects were recovered. Large portions of the aircraft remain intact.   The crash site is said to be in Milin County in the Lang Gong region of Tibet, which has been ruled by China since l950.

Submitted 8/21/01

 

Phillip F. Winter

Phillip enlisted in the Army at Des Moines Iowa on February 26, 1942.  He was a Medical Laboratory Technician 858. He took his training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio,

Texas. He spent most of his enlistment stationed at the Medical Department at the Panama Air Depot. He was discharged December 8, 1945 at the Separation Center in Ft. Leavenworth Kansas.

Submitted 8/21/01

 

Lewis Albert Barondeau

Lewis entered military service February 27, 1942 at Fort DesMoines, Iowa.  After completing basic training in Camp Walters, Texas, as a rifleman; he was sent to California for shore duty.  There Lewis became part of an anti-tank unit.  In January of 1943, Lewis was sent to school at Fort Benning, Georgia to become a motor mechanic.  Belonging to the 35th Division and Company of the 134th  Headquarters Company 1st Battalion, Lewis was sent with his platoon to England in 1944.  Continuing overseas to serve in the battle countries, he fought and received medals for each of the following; Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge, Rhineland, and Central Europe.  Lewis also received a merit certificate and medal for outstanding performance as a driver in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.   When the war ended in 1945, the 134th Regiment was at the Elbe River in Germany.  There the platoon was pulled back to the Hanover area, and replaced by occupational troops already stationed in that area of Germany.  Under the Points System, Lewis had fulfilled his obligation to the United States Army, and returned to the United States via the Queen Mary. In recent years, Lewis has received several medals honoring his time spent defending our country, and also a gold medal from the country of France for participating in the liberation of France. France gave this medal during the time the country celebrated 50 years of freedom since WWII.

Submitted by his daughter 8/16/01

 

Jack, Lewis, Richard, William and Arthur Morcom

The five Morcom brothers served in World War II. T/Sgt. John (Jack) Morcom, Sgt. Lewis Morcom, Cpl. Arthur (Jeb) Morcom all of whom served in the South Pacific; Capt. Richard Morcom who served in England, and Lt. William Morcom who served Stateside. 

Submitted 8/16/01

 

Harry R. Woodward

Harry is on the right about to receive his soldiers medal.
Harry is on the right about to receive his soldiers medal.

Submitted 8/16/01

 

Edward Keith Welch

Edward was drafted and enlisted in the Marine Corps and was formally inducted on March 21, 1944. He completed boot camp at Pendleton, California and shipped out for the Pacific front in July 1944, where replacements were badly needed to support the Allied island-hopping campaign against the Imperial Forces of Japan. Welch was a member of "A" Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division. He was part of a replacement battalion for casualties that were incurred in the battle for Peleliu. The 1st Marine Division spent the fall and winter practicing jungle warfare tactics and were shipped to Guadalcanal for maneuvers in preparation for "L" Day: the Easter Sunday, April 1 invasion of Okinawa. It was vital that the Allies secure Okinawa as it lay only 300 miles off the coast of Japan. The invasion of Okinawa was second only to Normandy as the largest show of force ever to be mounted by the American military forces throughout the entire war. The Marines anticipated heavy resistance in establishing a beachhead on the eastern end of the island but due to a miscalculation, the Japanese had moved to the southern end of the island, which made it possible for the Marines to come ashore without suffering heavy causalities in the first few days of the invasion. Fighting became fierce, however, and the Marines suffered heavy casualties throughout the campaign. Cpl. Welch, who carried a Browning Automatic Rifle, (BAR) was hit by shrapnel on the 74th day, June 14, 1945. He received medical attention from a corpsman and was out of action for two days. On June 22nd, 1945, the Americans secured the island. Welch was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action against the enemy on June 14, 1945. He also received the Combat Action ribbon, a Presidential Unit citation awarded to the 1st Marine Division, the China Service Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with two bronze stars, the WWII Victory Medal and a rifle marksman badge. Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, Welch's unit was sent to northern China where he served until being honorably discharged from the Corps in the spring of 1946.

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Vernon M. Martin

Vernon served in the U.S. Coast Guard for three and one half years in World War II.

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Melvin H. Karinine

Melvin served in the U.S. Army from August 29, 1944 to November, 1946.

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Donald Johnson

Donald was a U.S. Navy Pilot in World War II.

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Mary Ann Trager

Mary Ann was trained in the Nurse Cadet Program in Aberdeen, SD during the end of World War II but was not called to serve her country. 

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Robert Trager

Robert served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was present at Omaha Beach.

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Avis A. Anderson Jangula

Avis was a 2nd Lt. in the Army Nurse Corps serving at DeWitt Gen. Hospital, Auburn, CA from March 22, 1945 September 27, 1945.  She enlisted at Portland, OR.

Submitted 8/22/02

 

Robert E. Jangula

Robert was in the U.S. Army Reserve.  He enlisted at Ft. Meade, SD October 12, 1942. He was called to active duty 19-Feb-1943 in the Aviation Cadet Corps.  He graduated on  14-Apr-1944 @ Pecos, TX AAF Base as multi-engine pilot.  On 15-Apr-1944 he was commissioned a 2nd Lt. and assigned to BTU training in B-17s as co-pilot at Gulfport AAF Base, Gulfport, MS. He departed U.S. September 16, 1944 for 8th AF Base in England and was assigned to 8th AF 3rd Division 486th Bomb Group and 833rd Bomb Squad.  He completed 30 missions with group lead crew 3/25/45.  The following are decorations he received: DFC Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters and ETO Service Medal with 2 Battle Stars.  He was promoted to 1st Lt. January 1945.  He was discharged at Camp Beal, CT on 8-11-45.

Submitted 8/22/01

 

Ray Bartleson

Ray served in Japan on the Islands for 17 months.

Submitted 8/23/01

Leonard L. Hellstrom

Leonard was killed in World War II flying over Belgium.

Submitted 8/23/01

Donald C. Deak

Donald died on a small island near Japan on September 30, 1945.  He was a 2nd Lieutenant.

Submitted 8/24/01

Frank M. Larsen

Frank served about five years in the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Submitted 8/24/01

Marc H Boesen

Marc served in the United Stated during World War II.  He was discharged on August 2, 1946.

Submitted 8/24/01

Dean D. Heintz

Dean served in the United States Navy in the South Pacific.  He took part in five invasions.

Submitted 8/25/01

David Cyril Loup

David fought in the European Front in Normandy, Sicily, and Germany.

Submitted 8/25/01

Wayne F. Haerer

Wayne was with 14th F.A. of Pierre in 1940.  He served in the South Pacific.

Submitted 8/25/01

Fred Kleveter

Fred was hit by an underground mine, my buddy went for help but he never came back.  So he laid in the road ditch for four days and four nights.

Submitted 8/25/01

Marilyn Swenson

Marilyn remembers collecting milkweed pods on the walk home for country school.  She also remembers the victory gardens and rationing and her parents concern for those who went off to serve.  The family also had special concerns for aunts, uncles and cousins in occupied Norway.  The love of God, country, patriotism, and respect were instilled in our lives. 

Submitted 8/25/01

William Robert Caton

William was a member of the 109th Combat Engineers.  He was a POW in the ETO/Germany. 

Submitted 8/25/01

Richard Fielder, Jr.

Richard was in the U.S. Army and killed in action in Okinawa on May 19, 1945.

Submitted 8/25/01

E.G. (Gene) Rooks

Gene enlisted September 14, 1942 in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He volunteered for the Marine Raiders and served in the Pacific Theater Operation from September, 1942 to November, 1945.  He participated in four major campaigns.  He was honorably discharged on December 25, 1945.

Submitted 8/25/01

Arnold Kirstein

Arnold was in the U.S. Navy and was killed in World War II.

Submitted 8/27/01

Walter J. Davis

Walter was killed in action in World War II.

Submitted 8/27/01

Laverl C. Schmidt

Laverl was a combat engineer in the Army.  He served in Japan during World War II.

Submitted 8/27/01

Kenneth Schmidt

Kenneth served in the Army infantry in Germany during World War II.

Submitted 8/27/01