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.


William Wendell Slattery

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.


Byron B. Slattery

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.


Eugene E. Slattery

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 “J” Slattery

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 Class.


Donald D. Slattery

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.


Richard R. Slattery

Lieutenant Commander Richard R. Slattery enlisted in the United States Marines in April, 1942.  He served in Atlantic and Pacific Theaters.


Louis L. Slattery

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

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 Fire Controlman.


Wilmar A. Zulk

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 Czechoslovakia.  On November 16, 1945, he was discharged.


Adolph R. Sulk

Adolph 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 discharged.


Verle M. Tilley

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 Theatre.  Other 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.


Jean L. Tilley

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.


Lowell W. Unzicker

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 Purple Heart.


Delbert 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.

Robert L. Wilson

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.


Lloyd F. Young

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

Sergeant 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 Stars.


Charles Brassfield

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.


Boyd Meyer

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 months.

Henry Coolidge

“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 eight.

Glenn R. Hanna

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.


Don Soderquist

First 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.  Following 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.


Pat Fajardo

Pat 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.

Cliff Thomas

Cliff 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.


Andrew J. Aisenbrey

Andrew 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.


Morris W. Magnuson

Morris 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.


Joseph Ernest Henry Jr.

Joseph 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.


William E. Thomas

On 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.


Raymond M. Kaasa

Raymond was in the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division.  He served as a Private First Class from May 1944, to January 1946.

Neil Leonard Parish

Neil 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 Islands.

Harold Virgil Carroll

Harold 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 Winner Cemetery.


Samuel Buxcel

Samuel 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.

Norman 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 Heart.

Jack Browder

After 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”.

Murl Russell Swayze

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

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.

Dr. 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 Surbotge.  It was visible from where we landed.  The 5th Medical Battalion, I was with, paused and saluted.

Leo T. Bestgen

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.

Russell Lynn Hackett

Russell 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

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 A. Krogh

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

Robert Schulz enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 17.  He spent 14 months on a ship PCE in the Pacific.

George Lanland

George Lanland was killed in Germany in 1944.

Victor Wieser

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

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

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

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.

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

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 Luxembourg.  The 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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


Stanley 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 the war.

Edward Kalmbach

Edward A. T. C. was state side most of the time.  Later he was sent to Edwards Islands until the end of the war.


Rex Kalmbach

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 Kalmbach

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

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.