|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.
F. Blunck, M.D.
served in the US Navy during World War II.
He also served in the Korean War.
enlisted on December 5, 1942 in the Army Air Corps. He was
honorably discharged on August 2, 1945. He enlisted as an
officer in the Army Air Corps on August 4, 1945.
He was a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2530th
AAF Base Unit of the Army Air Force.
He completed Navigation School.
He was honorably discharged in November, 1945. He
received the WWII Victory Medal.
served from 6/25/1945 to 2/17/47.
He served overseas in France and Germany.
died from wounds received in action June 26th in the
Battle for Normandy in France.
He left behind a mother, wife and tow stepsons, two
sisters and four brothers who were in the service at the times.
was inducted into the service in 1942 and discharged in October,
enlisted in the Army during World War II and served in
stationed in California he married his wife.
He went into the CCC’s from school so he had his
training when Pearl Harbor came. He left from Louisiana, to Fort Lewis and then to
he was wounded and contracted malaria.
He was sent to Texas for restricted service until 1946.
entered the Navy in January, 1942 and spent most of the next
four years along the East Coast and in the Atlantic.
He got a job coding and decoding Teletype traffic to
various fleet commands in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
He tried pilot school but washed out.
From pilot training he went to Naval Training Center at
Point Loma to become an engineer.
He could go from a Seaman 3rd Class to a
Machinists Mate 1st Class. He was reassigned to the Mobile Naval Shipyards to oversee
the completion of a ship under construction.
They were supply and repair ships and was commissioned as
a supply destroyer escort. The ship was commissioned and sent to
Norfolk Naval Shipyard. From
there they went to Casco Bay near Portland Maine.
While they were there the temperature dropped to 42
degrees below zero. He
was sleeping and heard a big crack.
The ship had cracked about one inch wide across the whole
top of the deck. They surveyed the big crack but it did not hurt
repaired it. They
remained in Portland until the spring of 1943 then returned to
Norfolk destined for convoy duty in the southwestern Atlantic.
were part of a convoy headed for Bermuda.
The ship was a destroyer escort tender.
The ship was about a third the size of a destroyer.
Its job was to protect bigger ships form submarines.
The ship had torpedoes and depth charges, Newly
commissioned ships would come to Bermuda on their shake down
carried supplies and equipment to these new ships.
He changed jobs back to a first class storekeeper. While in Bermuda, he received word his brother had been
killed. He was sent
back to the United States.
A higher-ranking officer bumped him from the flight from
Boston in an Army Air Corps plane to Wyoming.
He missed his brother’s funeral by two hours.
He returned to active duty.
First in New York then in Williamsburg, VA.
There were captured German submarine soldiers there.
He escorted the prisoners of war around to clean up the
yard. He spent the rest of war in Port Hueneme, CA.
He left the service in February, 1946.
At his brother’s funeral, he met his brother’s wife
and her baby boy. After
being discharged from the service, he spent some time with her.
They married in 1950.
served in the United States Navy from February, 1944 to May 26,
1946 aboard the USS Feland.
The Feland was Doyen Class Attack Transport.
John was a Machinist Mate 3rd Class.
joined the Feland after a West Coast overhaul.
The transport returned to Pearl Harbor on May 6, 1944 and
after training arrived in Eniwetok on June 9, 1944.
Two days later combat loaded, she sailed for the invasion
of Saipan, and June 15th took part in a demonstration
landing at Tanapag harbor, while the main assault was made north
of Charan-Kanoa. The
next day the Feland began to send troops and cargo ashore, but
that night was order to retire from the island, to avoid the
danger of an expected Japanese attack.
She returned June 21, 1944 to complete unloading and
embark casualties for Honolulu.
The Feland returned to Eniwetok July 17, 1944 with troops
for the assault on Guam, where she landed them July 22nd,
one day after the initial landings.
Again she sailed back to the Hawaiians with casualties,
and to begin training for the liberation of the Philippines.
Manus was her jumping off point for this operation, and
she arrived in the Leyte Gulf on October 20 to unload in the
transport area off Dulag and retire the next day, before the
outbreak of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
After one voyage to bring reinforcements from New Guinea
to Leyte, the Feland embarked soldiers at Aitape from which she
sailed on December 28, 1944 in the San Favian attack force.
In the initial assault in Lingayen Gulf on January 8,
1946, she landed troops and cargo in record time, despite heavy
mortar fire from the shore, which wounded two of her men
handling landing craft. She
cleared the beachhead
the next day and that evening fired on a Japanese suicide plane,
which veered away, selecting another target.
After calling at Leyte and Ulithi, she sailed to Guam to
aboard Marines for the Iwo Jima operation.
Arriving off Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945, Feland’s
troops were held in reserve until February 27 when they were
landed through heavy surf on a difficult beach.
She carried casualties to Guam, then sailed for Manus and
Noumea to load soldiers for transportation to Leyte.
Between May 29 and July 16, 1945, she carried military
passengers between ports in New Guinea and the Philippines, then
sailed for a west coast overhaul.
This was completed in October, 1945 and after one voyage
to the Philippines with cargo, she returned to Seattle November
10, 1945 and was decommissioned on March 15, 1946.
John participated in the decommissioning of the Feland. The Feland and its crew received five battle stars.
enlisted right after Pearl Harbor and was discharged in 1946.
served 3 ½ years at a meager $21 per month.
We were only married five months when he was shipped out
in a boxcar.
joined the Waves at Brookings, then went to Minneapolis, New
York City and Washington, D.C.
She developed hepatitis and was sent to Chicago where she
G. Norris, M.D.
enlisted in the US Navy on 8/7/42 and served until 11/29/1945.
was a Technician Fourth Grade in the U.S. Army. He was inducted into the military on February 27th,
1942. He served his
country for 3 years, 7 months and 15 days as a non-commissioned
officer in he Medical Detachment of the 63rd Field
Artillery Battalion. He
served campaigns in New Guinea, the southern Philippines, and
Luzon. Henry was
discharged with honors earning the Good Conduct medal and the
Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars.
Upon discharge, Henry received a total of $300 mustering
out pay. He was
given $22.45 traveling pay from his point of discharge at Ft.
Leavenworth, KS to Brandt, SD.
He did not speak of the war but did remark, “If there
is a hell, I was there.”
is a veteran of Troop C of the 6th US Calvary.
He is one of six Hanfler brothers to serve in World War
enlisted in the Army in 1942 and served with the 101st
Airborne Division, 501st Parachute Infantry in the
European Theatre of Operation.
served with the 143rd Field Artillery Battalion from
October 8, 1941 until September 1945.
He served in battles in Northern Solomous, Bismark,
Archipelago, and Luzon. He
was a heavy machine gunner.
He received the Good Conduct Medal.
went into the Army Air Force on July 30, 1943.
He spent time in pilot training and got up to the twin
engine advanced training. He
wanted to fly a P-38 but in never worked out.
He needed a little more time on radio range orientation.
The war ended before he could finish his training.
enlisted on October 29, 1943, and was sent for training in Fort
Benning, GA; He was transferred to Camp Georgia, GA and assigned
to the 10th Armored Division, which was preparing to
go overseas. In
early September, 1944, they went by train to New York and sailed
for Europe. They
had to set sail twice because the first time they went aground
on a sandbar. This
caused them to be triple loaded for the trip to Europe and
become the first troops to land directly in Normandy.
They arrived in Cherbourg on September 23, 1944, and
spent nearly 6 weeks in daily rains, waiting for their equipment
to arrive from England, and then clean and repair it when it
arrived. He spent
94 days in France, 32 days in Belgium, 192 days in Germany, 14
days, 16 days in Luxembourg and 1 day in Italy. He returned to New York on September 12, 1945 and was
discharged at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin on February 1, 1946.
“ Bud” Pearson
called it that “fatal” ozone call. But the end results was
that two people who had not been in contact for 56 years were
married in May, 1999. It
all began in 1943 when Britton Native Robert “Bud” Pearson
was an Air Force cadet in Canyon, Texas.
Waldeen Dorris was a freshman at West Texas State (now
West Texas A&M) in Canyon.
They met at a party and dated for two and a half months.
But there was a war on.
“It was right in the middle of World War II and they
were trying to rush us through training to get us over there,”
recalled Pearson. “So
we decided not to try to carry on a relationship through that,
and, as Waldeen wrote in a letter, we parted friends.”
That was 56 years ago in 1999.
But recently Bud thought about “that girl from West
1996, Bud made contact with Waldeen and then started writing,
talking by telephone and an eventual visit.
It did not take long and wedding plans were made.
The couple was married at the chapel at West Texas
A&M, the place where they had met.
After the ceremony, the couple departed down the aisle to
the Air Force song “Off we go into the wild blue yonder.”
was a Tec Sgt. in the Philippine Islands, Okinawa, and Japan
with the 405th Regiment of the 77th
an engineer aviation battalion somewhere in Italy, Sgt. Donald
Small is one of the exceptions to a prevailing belief in many
circles that a man rarely, if ever carried on in his former
trade one, he enters the service.
Since almost his first day of his army career began, Sgt.
Small has been operating and servicing all types of government
vehicles and heavy equipment.
Formerly employed by a Minnesota construction outfit as a
caterpillar tractor operator, he now heads his unit’s heavy
airfield construction equipment.
Under his supervision are the large earth moving
carryalls, grading machines, rubber-tiered rollers, tractors and
so on, as well as a number of mechanics who are constantly
servicing and repairing these to be in readiness for any job
where they might be needed.
Donald received two campaign stars on his
European-African-Middle East Theatre ribbon, and also the Good
Conduct Medal and Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon.
States Cadet Nurses Corps
and Iona were Cadet Nurses.
There was a severe shortage of Registered Nurses as so
many entered the military service.
The civilian population was left without nurses to work
in hospitals. While
preparing for future responsibilities as a Registered Nurse the
Cadet-Nurse delivered most all patient care at Sioux Valley and
McKennan Hospitals in Sioux Falls.
Also in other hospitals in the state.
The students were given their tuition, uniforms, books,
room and board. They
worked 8-hour shifts in addition to classroom work.
Class of 1946 of Sioux Valley Hospital:
Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls, SD
Sioux Falls, SD
United States Cadet Nurse Corps was established on June 15,
1943. It was the
first large federal grant for nursing education, with the
nursing division of the United States Public Health Service.
The Corps was designed to augment the dwindling numbers
of RNs in the United States during World War II in military and
brave, bold and strong. How
great you were, how great you are.
Molding, shaping, protecting and defending, we could
never thank you enough. The
foolish don’t care, the ignorant don’t understand and the
young are so blind to your glorified valor that it sickens the
soul. Were you not
courageous, the foolish couldn’t care, the ignorant couldn’t
understand, and young could not be blind to your valor, because
they would not exist. Education is the cornerstone of America.
These young, blind foolish ignorant Americans need to
know why they are free today and someday they will learn who
gave them that precious gift of freedom. THE GREATEST
GENERATION. May your hearts be inflamed with the burning love of
God, and may you someday understand how much we love you, how
grateful we are and how thankful we will always be to you.
was a navigator who was killed in England when he was 27.
enlisted in the 4th US Calvary at Ft. Meade and was
sent to SDM&T to take engineering until called to active
duty. He was sent
to a defense plant, ostensibly discharged but asked for active
duty in May, 1944. He went through basic training and had various assignments
and numerous promotions.
received the Bronze Star for her outstanding service at San
Thomas Prison for caring for embassy personnel and prisoners
while the enemy was attacking the camp.
The Japanese did not recognize the Geneva Convention.
The Medical team had been airlifted into the Philippines
and infiltrated into the camp.
The Japanese had dug in underground of the prison camp
and from there they launched their attack.
A US Army Infantry Battalion, commanded by Major Jim
Curran rescued the US Army Medical team. A lone US Marine Company deflected the Japanese battalion
until this help arrived.
spent nine weeks in Basic training at Ft. Riley Kansas from
April, 1943 to June, 1943.
He waited for two weeks at Port Chicago, CA, then 30 days
at GEA before being assigned to the 37th Ohio
National Guard, 37th Division Calvary Recon Troop
Guadal Canal and Municipal Air Base 1st Combat Bougan
Ville Golsdan Island New Guinea, Admiral City Island.
He was home by Christmas Eve, 1945.
was too old to be drafted for service but was on the draft board
so he sold the bank in Wall, drafter himself and came out of
basic training as a corporal and company clerk.
He was discharged in Louisana because he was to old to go
comrades said he was the best at everything—running,
obstacles, shootings—they could not understand how we could
fight a war by kicking out the best man in the outfit because he
was 38 years old. He joined the Red Cross as Asst. Field Director and became
the 75th Infantry Division Field Director.
By the end of the war, he was head of 19 division and the
highest American Red Cross Field Director in Europe.
He was asked to head the “Red Cross-Far East” but
declined by saying one war front was enough and returned home.
He received the Bronze Star for “bravery under fire”
by Harry Truman.
was a battalion commander on Normandy on D-Day. He was the awarded the Bronze Star. He attained the rank of colonel on June 6, 1944.
attended and finished West Point in 1938.
He began his military service as a Second Lieutenant at
Fort Meade. He was
severely wounded on D-Day during World War II.
He finished his military career in 1969 as a colonel.
and his wife were married in May, 1946.
They were only married a few months when he was drafted
in Texas and sent to Africa for a few months and then to Europe
for almost three years. He
served in Army.
was drafted into the U.S. Army on July 8, 1942, serving with
Battery D of the 796th Antiaircraft Artillery
Automatic Weapons Battalion during World War II in France,
Germany, and in the Battle of the Bulge.
He attained the rank of sergeant and was honorably
discharged on December 9, 1945.
was killed in Italy on April 18, 1945.
He served in the Army.
There is a bridge in Italy named in his honor.
was a member of the U.S. Naval Reserved serving from 12-10-1943
to 12-17-1943. He
served as a Coxswain at NTS, Great Lakes, Ill, ATB, Fort Pierce,
Florida and NTS, Newport, R.I.
He also served aboard the USS Merrick.
was drafted into the US Army in April, 1942.
He was a member of the 2nd Squadron of the 7th
Calvary. This was
the guard and ceremonial squadron for the General of the Army
MacArthur at the raising of the flag over Tokyo on September 8,
1945. This squadron
was the first of the Allied Forces to occupy Tokyo, Japan since
the declaration of war on December 8, 1941.
entered the Infantry on September 5, 1945 and went over seas on
August 17, 1944 serving in the European Theatre.
He participated in engagement is
Villers, Lo, Bonne, Eau, and Belgium.
He was awarded a Purple Heart.
He attained the rank of private and was killed in action
on January 1, 1945.
entered the Navy on June 7, 1942.
He trained at Great Lakes, Illionis and Norfolk,
participated in engagements in the African Invasion, Assault of
Fedala, and French Morocco.
He was a Seaman First Class receiving a citation for
bravery in Assault of Fedala.
He served seven months before he was killed in action on
January 2, 1943.
entered the Army Air Corps on August 12, 1940.
He trained at the Parks Air College in East St. Louis,
Ill.; Curtis Field, Brady Texas; Gowen Field, Boise, ID; School
of Applied Tactics, Orlando, FL; and March Field in Riverside,
CA. He went
overseas on December 26, 1943 and served in the European Theatre
and West Indies. His
missions were over Germany and Southern Europe.
He was awarded the Air Medal, Oak Leaf Clusters and
Purple Heart. This
First Lieutenant was killed in a crash landing on July 16, 1944.
was stationed at the schoolhouse in Oran, North Africa.
He was the cryptographer in the communications coding
was in the Navy and served on the USS Missouri.