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. We would like to post these stories on our website. 

George, Lloyd, Arnold, Walter, Artimus & Magner Monsen

These six brothers each served in different branches of the service as they were not allowed to enlist in the same one.  One of my uncles was in the CC’s as there were no more branches left to enlist in and he wanted to serve his country in some way.  Walter and Magner were in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor.  George served in Belez and Arnold and Artimus served in Europe and other places.

Submitted by George’s daughter and the niece of the other gentleman, 12/20/2000

 

Harold W. Brown

Harold served in the U.S. Navy from March 23, 1942 to September 13, 1945.  He was born in Ideal, SD.

Submitted by his sister and brother, 12/18/00

 

Clarence E. Johnson

Clarence served with the US Army Combat Engineers born October 1942 to December 21, 1945. He was born in Clearfield, SD and returned to Winner after his time in the service.

Submitted by his sister and brother, 12/18/00

 

Clair Headrick

The following was written by Clair Headrick.

            I’m an Ex-POW/MIA
And in a land so very far away,
And tho’ by no fault of our own,
We were surrendered … then left alone.

The enemy had surrounded us with their guns.
They picked us off then, one by one.
After a time—many, many dead.
We surrendered.  They wondered why in hell we did.

  After many months of agony and pain.
We were told we might get home again.
And oh-the happiness that brought me!
(Hope you’ll never have to experience it to see.)

And now we’re home and well—and, yet-
They say there are some over there yet.
Until they’re home then—yes, everyone;
Then our work as Ex-POWs and MIAs is never done.

Submitted by his niece, 12/28/2000

 

Thomas J. Keck

I met many of the Veterans of World War II.  I was a nurse at the Veterans Hospital in Sioux Falls for 15 or 16 years.  I married Thomas J. Keck.  He served in the Pacific Area in WWII.  He died in 1972 from cancer.

Submitted by his wife, 12/29/2000

 

Roy Mundt

Roy is a native of the Kidder/Britton area.  He took his basic training at Camp Robinson, AK. He was stationed at the Aleutian Islands and was a technician at the Station Hospital. He was discharged in July, 1946. Roy passed away in November, 1997.

Submitted by his wife, 12/31/2000

 

Melvin L. Patton

Melvin enlisted in the Navy when he was only 17 years old. He was stationed in the Philippines. 

Submitted by his daughter, 1/10/2001

 

 

Representative Gerald Lange

Gerald was a veteran of the Army of Occupation in Japan from 194-47. 

Submitted by his himself, 1/11/2001

 

 

Fritz Teupel

Fritz served his country in the European Theater in both North Africa and Southern France from July 23, 1942 until his discharge December 3, 1945.  Fritz was a Disabled American Veteran who spent the last twelve years of his life in the Fort Meade Veterans Hospital as he had become totally disabled.  Fritz, like most of the young men of his generation, went to war to defend his country so we can live in the best country in the world and remain free. 

Submitted by his wife, 1/18/2001

 

 

Bernard P. Lippens

Bernard served in the Philippines during World War II. 

Submitted by his nephew, 1/19/2001

 

Clarence C. Patton

Clarence entered the service from Aberdeen, SD on February 27, 1942.  He served in the AG Section of the 35th Infantry Division.  He participated in five campaigns—Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe. 

Submitted by himself, 2/05/2001

 

C. R. Harmer

C.R. was in five amphibious landings in Guam, Siapan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa during World War II.  He also was involved in the occupation of Japan.  His ship was an LST landing ship tank and could go right up on the beach and unload tanks.  We unloaded 28 sherman tanks and four hundred marines of the 3rd, 4th and 5th.  They shot down three kamikaze Jap planes and were hit by a fourth one at Iwo Jima.  We were able to put out the fire and save the ship, the tanks and all of the marines and our crew.  I was awarded the navy unit commendation citation for this. 

Submitted by himself, 2/05/2001

 

Lloyd R. Collins

 Mr. Collins was drafted into the military service in 1942, joining the ranks of the U.S. Army at Fort Snelling.  He spent basic training at Camp White, Medford, Oregon.  During his military service he was on active duty in Africa and Italy.  He was honorably discharged from the Army on November 4, 1945, as a Corporal in the 91st Quartermaster Company after three years of service during World War II.  He received the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, American Theater Service Medal, two Overseas Service bars and the Good Conduct Medal.

Submitted by his wife, 2/06/2001

 

Wilehelmine H. Luedemann

 This loving wife and mother of Henry Luedemann, Henry A. Luedemann, Rudolph J. Luedemann, and Ernest G. Luedemann stood alone as tall as any behind those who volunteered for service.  Her determination and spirit drove us all to final victory.  She alone should receive honors as an unsung hero of World War II.  Henry served in the 147th FA in the South Pacific and Europe.  Henry A. served in the 147th FA in the South Pacific.  Rudolph serviced in the 14th AAF as part of the Flying Tigers in China.  Ernest served in the US Navy with the Pacific Fleet Aircraft Carriers.

Submitted by her son, 2/06/2001

 

Alfred Jungeman

Alfred served 4 years overseas in the Army as an Infantry man in the 7th Division.  He served in the Aleutians, Philippines, and Hawaii.  He was wounded by a Sniper’s hand grenade while on guard duty at night.  He has a shrapnel piece in his back area and was hospitalized in Okinawa.  He recovered and was discharged in October, 1945 at Ft. Logan, CO.  He received the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart and many other pins.  He had dreams of the horrors of war for a long time before they slowly diminished. 

Submitted by his wife, 2/06/2001

 

Leonard Hoven

Leonard was killed during World War II. 

Submitted, 2/06/2001

 

Frank Hoven

Frank served four years in World War II in the Navy.  He was an active member of the American Legion Post 159.

Submitted, 2/06/2001

 

John W. "Tony" Sikorski

John was not a member of any branch of the Armed Forces.  He was excused from active service because he was considered a necessary employee in communication services.  He was employed by Northwestern Bell Telephone Company from 1941 to 1972.

Submitted, 2/08/2001

 

Glen Brooks

Glen served in the 96th Infantry Division (The Deadeyes) that was involved in the Philippines and Okinawa invasions.  Glen was inducted at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas in November 1942, from there  he traveled to Camp Adair, Oregon for basic training.  Numerous training sites were utilized over the next few months and these included Ft Lewis, Washington; Camp White around Medford, Oregon, and Camp Callan in the San Louis Obispo area.  During this time of training and maneuvers Glen married his “girl back home”, Dorothy Johnson on May 15th, in Olympia, Washington.

Glen and the 96th Division shipped out of San Francisco in July 1944, completed more amphibious training in Hawaii and lived at Scofield Barracks.  Left Hawaii in September 1944 and landed in Guam.  Glenn and the 96th landed in the Philippines on October 20th, 1944, he saw combat over the following months with the 382nd Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company C, as the US Army took control of the Philippines.  On “April Fools Day” 1944, Glen and the 96th landed on Okinawa .  This was to be a difficult period for the 96th as the Japanese Army was “dug in” and heavily fortified.  Glen was on Okinawa for five days when he was wounded by a sniper, he was transported to a large hospital ship and treated for his wounds.  Being on the ship only a few days, the patients and the staff learned of the death of President Roosevelt.

After Glen was wounded, Dorothy received a cable from the Army that Glen had been seriously wounded in action, but not much other information.  It was a long month before she received more information that he would be coming home in the near future. From the “floating hospital” Glen sailed to Saipan, from there Glen was shipped back to the States.

Glen and Dorothy then began a career in ranching in Bennett County, SD, raised two beautiful daughters, and retired from the ranch in the 1990’s after 45 years of managing a successful cattle operation.  Any one interested in contacting Glen and Dorothy can find them in Rapid City, SD.

Glen and Dorothy still attend reunions of the 96th whenever they can.   Through the efforts of Tom Roby of Watertown, SD, they keep up on the status of their old friends from the 96th through a newsletter that Mr Roby sends out.

Submitted by his daughter and son-in-law, 2/09/2001

 

Donald Sealy

Ron Boudouris of Toledo, Ohio recently telephoned Warren”Buck” Sealey of Colome to tell him that his brother, Donald,  had served on a ship during World War II with Mr. Boudouris.  Donald Sealey was killed during the war.  Both men served on the Cowpens.  Don Sealey enlisted in the Navy on his 17th birthday.  He died in 1944, 14 days short of his 20th birthday.  He was buried at Eniwetok.  The Cowpens was launched January 17, 1943 and arrived at Pearl Harbor September 19, 1944, to begin a distinguished war career which was to earn a Navy unit commendation.  From June 6, to July 10, 1944, Cowpens operated in the Marianas operation.  Her planes struck the island of Saipan to aide the assault troops and made supporting raids on Iwo Jima, Pagan, Rota, and Guam.  In addition to her Navy unit commendation, Cowpens received 12 battle stars for World War II service.

Submitted by his brother, 2/09/2001

 

Eugene L. Hoekman

Eugene served with the men of the 78th Army Division, fondly known as the Lightning Division, in France, Belgium, and Germany.  He was in the 310th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, H Company (Heavy Weapons)

Gene was inducted in Ft Leavenworth, Kansas on March 12th, 1943 along with thousands of other Midwestern recruits, from there he traveled to Camp Butner, North Carolina for basic training.  During the year he spent training at Camp Butner, Gene found time to “furlough” back to Corsica to marry “his girl back home” Janet (Verna) Van Zee on August 5th 1943. In 1944, two other moves were made to Camp Pickett, Virginia and Camp Kilmer, New Jersey where more combat training took place.  During this training, Gene was placed on a mortar crew after his ability with this piece of “small artillery” was recognized.

Gene and the 78th shipped out of New York harbor on October 13th, 1944 on the USS General Squire, they sailed right past the Queen Mary, and Gene thought at the time, “I never saw a ship that big”.  Leaving the Statue of Liberty behind they set sail for Plymouth, England.  On November 21st, 1944 Gene and the 78th embarked from South Hampton, England for France on an LST (Landing Ship Transport).  The 78th moved into Belgium in late November and on December 13th, the 78th moved into the front lines near Kesternich.  After 9 days of heavy combat the 78th was replaced and was sent to the rear for a brief rest and to take on new replacements. Of the over 1000 original soldiers in the  2nd Battalion only 180 remained.  On New Years Day, 1945, Gene and the 78th were back on the “front” and stayed there as they moved across Europe until V-E Day.  In the days after Germany’s surrender, along with his other Army duties, Gene put his “baseball” skills to use as a member of the 2nd Battalion’s fastpitch softball team.  In November 1945, Gene and portions of the 78th were in Berlin for a month and then just before Christmas 1945, Staff Sergeant Eugene Hoekman shipped back to the States out of the port at LeHavre, France.

Submitted by his daughter, 2/14/2001

 

Truman J. Hedemark

Truman was from Revillo, SD in Grant County.  He served in the U.S. Navy during the war

Submitted, 2/20/2001

 

Robert Swigert

Robert served in the Marines and was killed in action in the WWII battle of Tarowa, South Pacific in 1945.  He received the Purple Heart.

Submitted by his sister in-law, 2/20/2001

 

James E. Forsyth

James is a former resident of South Dakota who received a bonus for participation  in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam.  He married a South Dakota girl 55 years ago. 

Submitted by himself, 2/21/2001

 

Lewis Collins Jacobsen

Lewis served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 until the close of the war with much time aboard the USS Sarsfield and USS Yorktown in the Pacific.

Submitted by his sister, 2/21/2001

 

Raymond A. Oehler

Raymond gave his life for his country on 6-12-44.

Submitted by his brother, 2/27/2001