|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.
Chief Pharmacist’s Mate Slattery enlisted in the United States
Navy, on January 15, 1942.
Following his training at Great Lakes, Illinois;
Brooklyn, New York; Norfolk, Virginia; Moffet Field, California;
Treasure Island, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Portsmouth,
Virginia; he served on the U. S. S. Republic.
He also served in the South Pacific Theatre.
On October 8, 1945, he was discharged.
Captain Byron B. Slattery enlisted in the United States Army on
September 25, 1942. After
his training at Camp Roberts, California; Fort McPherson,
Georgia; Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland; Fort Custer, Michigan; Camp
Sibert, Alabama; Boston Army Base, Massachusetts; Camp Miles
Standish, Massachusetts; University of Virginia; and San
Francisco Port Of Embarkation, he was shipped overseas.
Where he served in the European Theatre, other
engagements were an occupation in Japan, and Normandy.
He was awarded a Pre-Pearl Harbor Medal, a Victory Medal,
and a Japan Occupation Medal.
He was discharged in August, 1947.
Private First Class Eugene E. Slattery enlisted in the United
States Marine Corps, on November 3, 1944.
After training in Parris Island, South Carolina; Camp
Lejeune, North Carolina; Quantico, Virginia; and Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, he served in Caroline Islands.
On July 6, 1946, he was discharged.
John Slattery enlisted in the United States Navel Reserves, on
October 21, 1942. After
training at Great Lakes, Illinois; Norman, Oklahoma; and San
Francisco, California, he was shipped overseas on July 2, 1943.
He served in the Pacific Theatre.
Upon his discharge on November 18, 1945, he was awarded a
Victory Medal, at the rank of Aviation Machinist’s Mate Third
Donald D. Slattery enlisted in the United States Navy on December
13, 1933. Following
his training in San Diego, California, he was shipped overseas.
He had served in all Theatres, and engaged in North
Africa, Sicily, Italy, Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and
the Philippines. He
was awarded several awards, a Good Conduct Medal, American
Defense Ribbon, Navy Commendation, Philippine Liberation Ribbon,
Victory Medal, and all Theatre Ribbons.
On January 11, 1946 he was discharged.
Lieutenant Commander Richard R. Slattery enlisted in the United
States Marines in April, 1942.
He served in Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.
Louis L. Slattery enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve on
October 21, 1942. Following
training in Great Lakes, Illinois; and San Diego, California, he
was shipped overseas on September 15, 1943.
He served in the Pacific Theatre and participated in the
invasion of Saipan and Tinian, Marianas, which he was awarded a
Victory Medal. On January 18, 1946, he was discharged with the rank of
Pharmacist’s Mate First Class.
Huett H. Slattery
enlisted in the United States Navy on June 26, 1940.
Following training in Great Lakes, Illinois; and
Washington, D. C.; he served on board the U. S. S. Philadelphia,
and the U. S. S. Delta, where he spent numerous trips overseas.
He served in the European, and Asiatic-Pacific Theatre,
as well as the African invasion, Oran and Bazerte, with the
Third Fleet for Invasion and a Occupation of Japan.
At which time he was awarded several awards, such as the
Victory Medal, the American Defense Ribbon, American Theatre
Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon, the
Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon, and a Good Conduct Medal. On June 27, 1946, he was discharged, with the rank of Chief
On August 20, 1942, Wilmar A. Zulk, enlisted in the United States
Army 202ND Ordnance.
Following training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi; and Camp
Van Dorn, Mississippi, he was shipped overseas on July 17, 1943.
He served in England, France, Belgium, Germany, and
November 16, 1945, he was discharged.
R. Sulk enlisted in the United States Army, 261st Infantry, 65TH
Division, on August 22, 1942. Following his training at
Hanna, California; Fort Bliss, Texas; Camp Shelby, Mississippi;
and Fort George G. Meade, Maryland he was shipped overseas.
He served in France, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Belgium, and
had engagements in Rhineland, and Central Europe, where he was
awarded two Battle Stars. On March 25, 1946, he was
First Lieutenant Verle M. Tilley enlisted in the United States Air
Corps, on December 3, 1940.
Following his training at Chanute Field, Illinois; Santa
Ana, California; Taft Field, California; and Luke Field,
Arizona, he was shipped overseas to serve in the European
engagements that he served in where Sicily, Pantellaria,
Sardinia, Italy, and Albania.
Upon discharge on August 23, 1945, he was awarded a
Presidential Citation W/Cluster, an American Theatre Ribbon,
European Theatre Ribbon, and Air Medal W/6 Clusters.
First Lieutenant Jean L. Tilley enlisted in the Artillery service
on February 10, 1941. Following
his training in Camp Claiborne, Louisiana; Fort Dix, New Jersey;
Camp Davis, North Carolina; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Lewis,
Washington, he was shipped overseas to serve in the European and
Mediterranean Theatres. Upon
his discharge in December 7, 1945, he was awarded a Bronze Star.
Sergeant Lowell W. Unzicker enlisted in the service in September
27, 1943. Following
his training in Camp Wolters, Texas; Fort George G. Meade,
Maryland; and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, he was shipped
overseas to serve in the European Theatre.
Along with his other engagements he also served in
Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe.
Upon his discharge on November 7, 1945, he was awarded a
August Vander Hamm
Delbert August Vander Hamm enlisted in the United States Navy on
September 24, 1945. He
trained in San Diego, California.
Upon discharge on July 25, 1946, he ranked of Ship’s
Cook Third Class. No further information was available.
Sergeant Robert L. Wilson enlisted in the United States Army in
March 11, 1943. Following
his training in Camp Haan, California; Mojave Desert,
California; Fort Benning, Georgia, he was shipped overseas to
serve in the European Theatre.
During his enrollment he also served in Rhineland, and
Central Europe. He
was awarded the American Theatre Ribbon, European-African-Middle
Eastern Theatre Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal, Germany
Occupational Medal, a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and a
Victory Medal. On
May 4, 1946, he was discharged.
Corporal Lloyd F. Young enlisted in the United States Engineer
Corps in July 30, 1942. Following
his training in Camp Butner, North Carolina; Maxwell Field,
Alabama; Keesler Field, Mississippi; Fort Crook, Nebraska; and
Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, he was shipped overseas to serve
in the South Pacific and Far East Theatres.
He was discharged on February 21, 1947.
Raymond C. Zorr enlisted in the United States Tank Destroyers on
March 7, 1942. Following training in Camp Roberts,
California; Camp Cooke, Tennessee Maneuvers; and Fort Dix, New
Jersey he was shipped overseas to serve in the European Theatre.
Upon his discharge on October 28, 1945, he was awarded 2 Battle
Charles Brassfield was inducted into the United States Army on
March 8, 1941. He
served in the 772 Tank Destroyer Battalion, stationed in England
for three months. His
active duty was from Velschome, Germany across to the Rhine to
Milspie. He also
served in Belgium and Holland.
He was discharged from the service in 1945.
Corporal Boyd Meyer was enlisted in the United States Army from
1943, through 1945. He
served in the ”Battle of the Bulge”.
He was injured and was in the Army Hospital for eleven
“The Battle of Iwo Jima” began on February 19, 1945 and ended
on March 15, 1945. The
Marine Campaign was 6,922.
It was a sight to see “Old Glory” raised on Mt.
Surbachi on February 23. Coolidge
was a replacement, one of eight Marines manning three- 81 MM
Monitors. After 26
days on Iwo Jima, he was the only one left in his group of
Staff Sargent Glenn R. Hanna enlisted in the United States Air
Corps, on July 17, 1942. Following
training in Camp Roberts, California; Casper Air Field, Wyoming;
Camp Howze, Texas; and Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, he was
shipped overseas on April 17, 1945.
He also served in the European Theatre, where he was
awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon w/1
Bronze Battle Star, 1 Service Strip, and a Good Conduct Medal.
On October 11, 1945, he was discharged.
Sergeant Don Soderquist enlisted in the service on March 3,
1942. Being he had
an accounting, bookkeeping, and typing skills in high school, he
was shipped to Abiline, Texas for Administration school in basic
training he was shipped to Utah to open the Hill Field Air Base,
serving as a Company Clerk for the First Sargent.
From there he was shipped to the Spokane Air Depot as
First Sergeant of the Base Squadron, after 14 months he was
transferred to Robins Field, Warner Robins, GA, his duties
included 10 mile hikes, classroom lectures, and field training.
On August 22, 1944 while on a field exercise, he was a
victim of Acute Paralytic Poliomeyelitis in his head, neck,
shoulders, arms, and left leg.
With a fever of 105 degrees, he spent 27 days in
isolation at the base hospital.
He was then discharged to temporary duty, shortly after
he was returned to full duty with weakness in his arms and
shoulders. His USAF Unit was shipped to Guam, where he served out his
time in active duty. The
B-29’s of the 315th Bomb Wing visited Japan’s oil
refineries, and other targets.
On November 16, they left Guam on a list arriving in
Hawaii for a 17-day layover.
On December 24, 1945, he was honorably discharged.
Fajardo now 74, served first in the United States Navy and later
in the United States Air Force. Fajardo, was stationed aboard
the U. S. S. Reno during World War II.
The ship took a torpedo, which hit the right in the area
where Fajardo slept. That
night he was on duty and not in his bank—thus sparing his
life. In 1948, Pat
Fajardo went into the Air Force.
He retirement as a technical Sergeant in 1965 while
stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
After his retirement, the Fajardos continued to make
Rapid City their home.
Thomas served in the Army Air Corps.
After graduating from the Sioux Falls Army Air Corps,
Radio school, he flew as the radio operator on a B-24 Bomber.
He flew a tour of mission with the 8th Air
Force in Europe. He
was on a crew of eleven and while he had just turned nineteen,
he was the fourth oldest. Seven
of the crew members are still alive.
J. Aisenbrey served with the 100th Infantry Division
as a machine-gunner in the Vosges Mountains, of France. He received the Purple Heart for wounds received in action on
November 15, 1944.
W. Magnuson served as a fighter pilot in the European Theater
and flew 80 missions before being shot down, and after evading
the Germans for six days. He
was taken as a prisoner by German troops and spent time in three
different prison camps.
Ernest Henry Jr.
E. Henry Jr. was a private with Co. B, 505th Parachute
Infantry. He was
shot down on D-Day when paratroopers were dropped into fields
behind German lines in Normandy.
He was able to crawl to allied lines, but later died on
June 8, 1944. On
D-Day the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment was part
of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Joseph J. Henry Jr. was the first Keystone man who gave
his life to this was.
August 11, 1943, William Thomas was shipped overseas, he was
assigned to the 1st Amphibious Engineer Brigade which
landed in France on D-Day.
William served in Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes,
Rhineland, Central Europe, England, Iceland, Belgium, Austria,
and Holland. He was
discharged in October, 1945, among his citations and decorations
was The French Croix de Guerre Ribbon, with one Silver Battle
Star, Bronze Service Arrowhead, and Four Overseas Service Bars.
was in the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th
Infantry Division. He
served as a Private First Class from May 1944, to January 1946.
Leonard Parish was inducted to the United States Army on July
27, 1944. He had
basic training at Camp Walters in Texas.
He was shipped overseas to the Philippine Islands.
On May 16, 1945 as his company was advanced up a hill at
Luzon, they were met with Japanese gunfire and Neil was killed
in action. Upon his
death, he received a Purple Heart for his bravery.
Neil was a solder in the Second Platoon, 62nd
Battalion of the United States Army.
Neil is buried in a Military Cemetery in the Philippine
Virgil Carroll entered the services in 1939, or 1940. He was sent over to Hawaii, in 1941, where he contacted
Hepatitis early in 1942, and passed away. His parents had his
body brought back home after the war and he is now buried in the
Buxcel was inducted in Mellette County.
He was on Sa Bee Island when they dropped the first atom
bomb. They would
have been headed for the invasion of Japan if that decision had
not been made. He
then went into Japan for days after the surrender.
He never really talked about it much until these later
years when our grandchildren had taken interest in World War II.
They and our children are very proud of him.
Wicks, and Done Raabe
Norman Wicks, and Done Raabe
entered the Army in February of 1942, and served until the war
ended in Germany. They
were in “B” Company 636 Tank Destroyer Battalion.
They trained in Texas, landed in North Africa in early
1943, and subsequently fought in seven campaigns, including
three invasions. They
were in the First Tank Destroyer to land at Salerno, Italy-only
six went in that day, and later when they established the Anzio
Beachhead, and again at Southern France.
Their Battalion received a citation for their performance
during the Invasion of Italy, September 13-14, 1943, and Norm
received a Bronze Star for his action at Massa, Italy, June 24,
1944. He was read
the citation twice by Officers present at the time; he actually
received the medal about 40 years later when it was presented to
him by our Local American Legion Field Commission and The Purple
the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp and
by June 24, 1942, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
He was a pilot and went through flight training at Good
Fellow Field, in San Angelo, Texas. He was then stationed in the Panama Canal Zone and was flying
training missions when his plane crashed into the Caribbean on
November 4, 1942. His
body was never recovered. As
the first man from Mobridge killed in World War II, he was
honored by having the VFW Club in Mobridge named after him, and
the first Casualty of World War I.
It is still known as the “Parker-Browder VFW”.
Private Murl Russell Swayze
entered the services of his country in July 1944.
He took his basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas, being
especially qualified for rifleman.
Completing his training in December, he was granted a
furlough to spend Christmas with his mother, relatives and
friends before going overseas. Serving in the 145th Infantry on Luzon, Philippine
Islands, he was killed in action on April 25, 1945.
Raymond Marek served in
Africa, and Italy. He
was on the first tanks that invaded Rome, they received a
Presidential Citation. He was wounded, although not too seriously.
His brother Jerome (Jerry) was in the Navy.
He served on the U. S. S. Interprise.
A. A. Buechler
Dr. A. A. Buechler landed on
Iwa Jima on D+4.
The day marines hoisted the American Flag on top of Mount
It was visible from where we landed.
The 5th Medical Battalion, I was with, paused and
Leo T. Bestgen was one of the first to go to battle in Tunisia,
North Africa with the 109th National Guard Engineers, Combat
Battalion 34th Division. He was also one of the first to be
killed from Meade County in active duty. Three of his cousins
were also killed, one from South Dakota, others from across the
United States along with another cousin from Sturgis who was a
prisoner of war of German’s for 29 months.
Llynn Hackett always used the name of Lynn. Raised in
Bruce he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at age 16.
He was severely wounded at Guam on July 21, 1944, and died on a
hospital ship on July 22, 1944. He was buried at sea.
William M. Jaspers also known
as “Billy”, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was wounded on Saipan, but returned to duty and was killed
in action on Okinaoii, on May 15,1944.
He was buried in Sioux Falls.
Donald was in the Army, and
killed in a plane crash on December 24, 1945, along with other
soldiers. They were
on their way home for Christmas on a Furlough.
He was buried in Bruce.
Robert Schulz enlisted in the
United States Navy at the age of 17.
He spent 14 months on a ship PCE in the Pacific.
Lanland was killed in Germany in 1944.
Sergeant Victor Wieser spent
nearly four years in the United States Army and served in the
E.T.O. He, was a
mortar gunner in the 117 Infantry of the 30th
Division, and engaged in five major campaigns one of which was
the Battle of the Bulge,
Robert J. Hauge enlisted in
the United States Naval Reserve on December 13, 1939.
He trained at the Navel Reserve Aviation Base, at
Minneapolis, Minnesota. On
March 9, 1940, he terminated his enlistment in order to accept
an appointment as a Aviation Cadet.
On January 7, 1941, he was transferred to the U. S. S.
Minneapolis for active duty involving flying, shortly after he
was transferred to the Advanced Naval Base, Solomons for duty.
He was reported missing on January 15, 1943, when the
plane, which he was aboard, was lost in the Savo Island-Cape
Esperance area. On
January 16, 1944, he was presumed dead.
He received the American Defense Service Medal w/a Fleet
Clasp, a Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and a Silver Star
for his bravery.
Lester Main enlisted in the
United States Army in 1942.
He spent over 32 months in the South Pacific, and was
discharged in 1946.
Arthur E. Exon flew 134
missions as a U Fighter a/c Egypt to Algerias, Sicily and Italy. He spent one year as a guest in the German Government.
He then returned home, raised two boys (both A F Pilots),
and received an Civil Eng. Degree. He toured Japan, and Germany for three years.
And became a Commander at Wright Patterson, Ohio, then to
Proc Dist. in Los Angeles.
Steven Adams Jr. enlisted in
the 6th Army 21st Infantry on July 8,
1941, as a Lieutenant. He
died on June 23, 1944, in New Caledonia on the Pauya Peninsula,
he was never found.
Romanus Wagner entered the
United States Army on November 15, 1942.
He landed with his unit, Co. C of the 61st
Armored Infantry Battalion, 10th Armored Division on
October of 1944. The division saw fierce action all through France and
action in which Pfc. Wagner lost his life occurred on March 16,
1945, in the final surge of Allied troops that ended with the
surrender of Germany. Near
Weskirchen, Germany, hostile troops ambushed the rear of Wagners
column and knocked out several vehicles.
For his heroic action, Pfc. Wagner was posthumously
awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart,
which were sent, with a formal citation, to his father.
Ladimer Stanec was included in
the group of Aviation Cadets that reported at the Naval
Pre-flight School for three months of rigorous physical training
course. Lt. Stanec
completed his navel training at Corpus Christi about April 1st
and received his wings, after which he transferred to the Marine
Corps and was sent to Green Cove Sorings.
2nd Lieutenant Ladimer Stanec was involved in
a mid air collision while on routine gunnery flight from St.
Augustine, Florida about 4:45 p.m. on May 12, 1944, and was seen
to crash in the sea. Due
to the depth of the water it prevented the recovery of the body.
Milton Carl served in the
United States Army through North Africa and Italy.
Immediately at the beginning of the invasion at Anzio,
Italy, on June 1, 1944, he was wounded by sniper fire.
After the war, he attended classes at the South Dakota
State University, with the help of the G. I. Bill.
Shortly after he contracted with the Department of
Defense to work in the military schools in Europe, where he
stayed for 22 years. He
has obtained a Master’s Degree in Education and retired as an
Elementary Principal. After his retirement, he and his wife toured with the Peace
Corps in Africa.
Orville Walter enlisted in the
United States Navy in the late 30’s, and volunteered for
services in a submarine, the U. S. S. Barbel.
Unfortunately, the Barbel was blasted with the depth
charges off the coast of Japan and no bodies were ever
recovered. All of
the crew died. Orville
Walter is buried in the Hills of Rest Cemetery.
Chester Rudolph at the age of
23, enlisted in the services.
He served in the 82nd Airborne Division and
was severely wounded in the Normandy Invasion.
Chester received a Silver Star for his bravery in the
Normandy Invasion. After
his discharge from the service he attended SDSU, and graduated
with a degree in science.
Glenn Leland joined the
National Guard Unit with the Joe Foss squadron in Sioux Falls so
he was all prepared to participate in the war as a fighter
pilot. He served
with Joe Foss in the Pacific Theater flying the P-38 fighter
planes, where he injured in a clash against the Japanese fliers.
After his discharge he studied at the SDSU and graduated
with a degree in Engineering.
Delbert Lyle joined the United
States Navy, and served in that capacity all during the war. After the war in 1945, he attended college and graduated form
Augustana College with a degree in Music.
and Otto Kalmbach
Stanley and Pfc. Otto Kalmbach
was in the Ski Outfit in Alaska, and fought on the Aleitan
Islands. When the
Battle of the Bulge started, he was sent to that, until after
Edward A. T. C. was state side
most of the time. Later
he was sent to Edwards Islands until the end of the war.
Sgt. Kalmbach was in the T. D.
607th Tank Destroyer, under Gen. Patton.
He also served in Italy, and the Battle of the Bulge. Capt. Henry, 3rd Armed Division, shortly after
D-Day he entered France. Sometime
later, he was wounded in action.
Emil served in the 17th
A/B Paratrooper and Sniper.
He went to the Battle of the Bulge with a 03 w/scope.
On March 24, 1945, he flew across Rhine at Wetyl was
there until end of war.
Adolph Kalmbach was in the 32nd
Infantry, and he spent most of his time in the Pacific Islands.
He fought for 120 days; he received several metals, and
passed away early in life.