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.


Vern R. Anderson

Vern was 37 years old when he was drafted.  In six weeks, he was on a ship to the Pacific and spent his war years on the island of Leyte in the Phillipines.  He lates was in the occupation forces in Osaka, Japan.  Vernís daughter Jacqueline was in Junior High during this time.  She was involved in the Girl Scouts in Aberdeen.  The Girl Scouts handed out coffee, cocoa, and pheasant sandwiches at the Milwaukee depot to all the servicemen on the daily troop trip.  The family saved all of their metal, foil, string, etc.  Jacqueline remembers carrying in a brass floor lamp to the Simmons Junior High and tossing it on a huge pile of metal objects donated to the war drive.  Gas, shoes, and sugar were rationed.  The family did not own a car, but even those who did walked everywhere.  The country was united then and everyone in a uniform was honored.  They hitchhiked all over and you picked them up because they wore the uniform of the U.S.A.

Submitted by his daughter,  3/6/01


Edgar H. Nilson

Edgar served in the  Army from May 18, 1942 to December 19, 945 as a Light Truck Driver.  He was involved in the battles of Northern France, Ardennes, Rihineland, and Central Europe.  He received the American Theater ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Ribbon. 

Submitted,  3/6/01


Virgil Nilson

     Virgil served in the Army from May 29, 1945 to November 15, 1946.  He was a military policeman.  He received European-American-Middle Easter Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Army of Occupation Medal.

Submitted,  3/6/01


Leslie V. Ausman

Leslie was a veteran of World War 1 and II.

Submitted by his daughter, 3/01/01


Kenneth W. Emme

Kenneth was in the Tank Division of the U.S. Marine Corps.  He was wounded on the Pacific Island of Pelilu.

Submitted by his sister in law, 3/01/01

Jordan B. Thomas

Jordan served in the U.S. Coast Guard.

Submitted by his wife 3/01/01

Loren G. Waller

Loren was a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Force.

Submitted by his sister in law, 3/01/01

Andrew Fischbach

Andrew joined Company b 109th Engineering Combat while at SD State College in September, 1939.  He left college in February, 1941 when Company B was sent to Camp Claiborne, LA during his senior year.  He was a Captain and Company Commander of Company Bís 1915 Engineering Aviation Battalion in Okinawa when the war was over.  He was discharged on February 209, 1946.  He transferred from the 109th as part of a cadre of trained recruits along with 1st Lieutenant Steele from Sturgis.  They were filled up with recruits from Brooklyn, NY.  Andrew left to get a commission in the Air Corps and was transferred back to the Corps of Engineers.  After the war, Andrew asked then Lt. Commander Steele how he made out and he said. ď I guess we did okay but I would have traded any 10 ot them for 2 good boys from South Dakota.Ē 

Submitted by himself, 3/12/01

Gerald Hill

Gerald was a marine that died in the battle of Iwo Jima.

Submitted on, 3/12/01

Herman Eggers

Herman served in the army during World War II.

Submitted on, 3/12/01

Otto Juracek

Otto served in the army during World War II.

Submitted on, 3/12/01

Lloyd A. Temple

Lloyd was a gunner on a B29 bomber.  He died at sea due to an explosion that blew up their plane. 

Submitted by his sister, 3/12/01

Harold Bridgman

Harold was a P.O.W. in World War II.  He was captured on Wake Island and spent three years and nine months as a prisoner of the Japanese.  He was in the POW camp in Nagasaki when they dropped the atom bomb there.

Submitted by himself, 3/13/01

Charles Harvey Isackson

Charles was an officer in the Army stationed at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii during the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor.  He returned to SD serving in the Army National Guard.

Submitted by his wife, 3/13/01

Harold J. Davis

Harold served in the Army from May 7, 1942 to December 3, 1945.  He drove heavy duty trucks transporting personnel and equipment.  He drove over rough terrain and at night.  He served 25 month in the European Theatre of Operations.

Submitted by his wife, 3/13/01

Leonard F. Baumberger

Leonard served in the Army during World War II.

Submitted by his sister, 3/14/01

James P. Baumberger

James served in the Coast Guard during World War II.

Submitted by his sister, 3/14/01

DSU's 1945 Homecoming game played by women

Mar 20 2001 12:00AM By CRAIG WALTERS, Dakota State student

The 1945 Homecoming football team at Dakota State University included (left) Susie Lowry, Elaine Norris Jensen, Laurel Caldwell Denny, Phyllis (Lina Feltzer) Frager, Joyce Rave Evans, Carol Weber Laible and Doris Treloar Randall. Women played football because the men were off at war. The team recently held a reunion in Madison.

The Dakota State University football team of 1945 recently had a reunion of sorts on the campus. The event was a fun one filled with laughs and smiles all around as a few of the women who made up the team reminisced about their time here on campus.

Back in the fall of 1945, most of the men were still involved with World War II. The campus of Dakota State University, then known as Eastern State Teachers College, was a different place than it is today. As homecoming approached, someone threw out the idea of having a football game as part of the festivities. No football had been played since the fall of 1940 because the war had taken most of the men away from the campus. With only three men on campus, the "team" would have to come from the women of the school.

Word quickly spread that the city girls (the "townies") had challenged the country girls (the "dormies") to a game. Teams were formed and practices began. Many of these young women had never seen a football game. But for the two weeks before the game, regular practices were held running real plays.

Leota Van Ornum (physical education instructor) coached both teams and was assisted by Eastern High School Coach Robert Ormseth.

The women wore regulation uniforms with the "dormies" in gold and the "townies" in blue. The uniforms came from what was left of the college and the campus high school football teams (back then, there was a high school associated with the college right on campus).

At 2 p.m. on Oct. 20, 1945, the game began.

The football field was located approximately where the Trojan Center now sits. A crowd of more than 100 people looked on. The first half ended in a scoreless tie. The halftime proceedings of this game featured the women coming back out onto the field to apply powder puff and rouge to their faces. The activity was done in fun and gave the teams a colorful name: "The Powder Puff and Rouge Elevens."

In the second half, the scoring picked up with each team making touchdowns and converting extra points.

Doris Treloar scored for the gold and Nancy Baughman for the blue. The game and teams continued on until the referee, Prof. A.E. Swan, called the game. Rumor has it that he was tired and wanted to go home. No one protested because a great time was had by the onlookers and the 23 women comprising the teams of the blue and the gold.

When asked how they felt about playing in the football game, the women responded with a variety of comments.

Susie Lowry said, "I loved it!" while Joyce Rave Evans replied, "It didn't impress us farm girls much."

Participants in the homecoming game were Marlys Bower, Doris Treloar Randall, Muriel Tupper, Joyce Rave Evans, Ruth Hart, Phyllis Linafelter Frager, Joyce Walters, Dona Keiner, Jeanette Johnson, Carol Laible Weber and Elaine Norris Jensen (captain) for the gold "Townies" team.

For the blue "Dormies" team, players included Mary Therese Pardy, Beverly Coombs, Anna Ruth Lang, Dorothy Carper, Donna Lea Haley, Laurel Caldwell Denny, Janice Holsworth, Pauline Grytness, Beverly Rubin, Barbara Stearns Turner (captain), Nancy Baughman Phelps and Susie Lowry.

The officials were Swan; Paul Tommeraasen, Jr. (head linesman); Robert C. Nelles (head downsman); and C.S. Lines (timekeeper).

Copied from the ©Madison Daily Leader 2001