|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.
I never had the opportunity
to know my biological grandfather. Jacob Woods was killed in
action. My father was only 10 months old when grandpa was
drafted, and he was two years old when he died. Even
though I never knew my grandfather, I am very proud to say I
am his granddaughter. Each year, during out annual pow-wow,
I am very proud to have his flag raised to remember and honor
him. My grandmother still has the original flag she
recieved when he passed away. I love my grandfather,
even though I only have his picture, medals and flag.
by Rebecca Lynn Woods-Herald, Jacobs oldest granddaughter
Rollo J. Lillehaug
Rollo J. Lillehaug was
born 17 March, 1920, in Buchanah, North Dakota to John and
Leone Lillehaug. He was inducted into the US Army on 1
March, 1942, at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. After Basic
Training he was assigned to CO A 559 SIG AW BN as a MED TECH
409. He departed the US on 30 August, 1944, arriving in
the Burma Theater on 7 October, 1944. He engaged the
enemy in Burma and the India Burma Theater. he departed
the Burma Theater on 4 October, 1945, arriving back in the US
on 1 November, 1945. He had earned the Asiatic Pacific
Theater Service Medal with two Overseas Service CE Bars, the
American Theater Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
He was Honorably Discharged on 7 November, 1945, from the
Separation Center, Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.
by Floyd Short, Jr., CVSO,
Selmer J. Ebert
Selmer J. Ebert was born
June 11, 1914, in Marshfield, Wisconsin to Edward and Minnie
Ebert. He was inducted into the US Army on March 20,
1941, in Portland, Oregon. After basic training he was
attached to Company C 11th Armored Infantry Battalion as an
Automobile Mechanic. He departed the US on 31 May, 1942,
arriving in the ETO on 11 June, 1942. He was involved in
combat in the Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Naples-Foggia
and Rome-Arno Campaigns. he earned the Combat
Infantryman Badge, European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
Service Medal with six Overseas Bars, the American Defense
Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He departed
NTO on 23 May, 1945, arriving back in the US on 11 June, 1945.
He was honorably discharged from the US Army on 18 June, 1945,
at the Separation Center, Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
by Elizabeth Ebert, his wife.
Clarence Engh was
born January 3, 1919 in Northfield, Minnesota, to Andrew and
Sophia (Nelson) Engh. He was a member of the C.C.C. in
Minnesota from July, 1937, until June, 1939. He joined
the Army in November, 1939, and was stationed at Ft. Meade
with the 4th Cavalry until 1942. On October 24, 1943,
Clarence married Martha Kundert at Camp Maxey, Paris, Texas.
On December 21, 1943, he departed for the European Theater
of Operations and landed on Utah Beach on D-Day, then fought
across France and Germany and was wounded on September 14,
1944, near Aachen, Germany, for which he received a Purple
After discharge in October, 1945, Clarence worked in bridge
construction until the early 50's when he began farming in the
Letcher and Forestburg vicinity. After retiring he and
Martha moved into Forestburg. Clarence was an active
member of the American Legion, DAV, VFW, 40 and 8 and the 4th
Cavalry Association. He also held membership in the
Forestburg Lutheran Church, Sons of Norway and a Rock Hound
Clarence passed away March 11, 2003, and was buried at
Mitchell, SD. he was preceded in death by his wife,
parents, 3 sisters and 3 brothers.
by The American Legion Auxiliary, Artesian, SD.
E. L. "Dutch" Enders
My Father was
a proud South Dakotan who served his country with honor.
He went in in 1941, from the county of Tripp, the city of
Winner. He served the duration and was released in 1945.
What makes it memorable in the current times is that he was 41
years old when he went in. He had to argue to get in.
He died in Winner, SD in September of 1963.
by his son Joey L. Enders of Jenison Michigan.
in the 8th Air Force outside London, England.
by his son Ronald Koth of Rapid City, South Dakota.
Marion C. Martin and Vern P.
Martin served with the 14th Air Force in Luleang, China as a
control tower operator. His hometown was Brookings, SD
and his residence prior to his death was Whittier, California.
Vern P. Martin served with the 14th Air Force in Luleang,
China as a radar mechanic. His hometown was also
Brookings, SD and his current residence is Fountain Valley,
It was somewhat unusual that we two brothers from SD were
stationed at the same field in China but it did happen.
We were together for about 6 months before I shipped out to be
stationed on Okinawa with the 7th Air Force for the balance of
by Vern P. Martin of Fountain Valley, California.
Clement C. Fejfar
From 1940 to 1945, Clem enlisted in the US Army. He was in WW II, and later
drafted again for the Korean war from 1950-51. While in the Army he was
sent to Australia and then New Guinea where he got the nickname “Mr. Fix
it" "give it to Clem, he can fix it!", his camp buddies
would say. Thanks to his many talents, his
crew had hot water to wash and cook, which was a luxury. His Army jobs involved demolition and
ammunition work. It was here that Clem risked his life to help put out a fire
burning an ammunition site. It was for this act of bravery that he
received “The Soldier's Medal”. This medal is awarded to soldiers
who risk their lives to save other people.
During his time in New Guinea a
destroyed many Japanese cities, and the Allies prepared for a costly
invasion of Japan
. Although the war in Europe
instrument of surrender
on 8 May, the
continued. Together with the
Republic of China,
the United States called for a surrender of Japan in the
on 26 July 1945, threatening Japan with "prompt and utter destruction". The Japanese government
this ultimatum so the
occupation of Japan
Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers
began. American airmen dropped
on the city of
on 6 August 1945, followed by
on 9 August.
In the later part of August, Clem traveled with his comrades by ship from New Guinea past
the Philippines and Taiwan to Japan. The wind and water was so rough
aboard ship that many of his comrades took to the bunks due to sea
sickness. He recalls that on-board ship they were tossed
and turned by the storms. When the rough waters rushed into the ship many
of the rifles and other ammunition became water logged. During the
occupation of Japan,
Clem was one of many, who carried useless riffles onshore, since much of the
ammunition was ruined by the water. “They don’t have that part in the
History books”. He was one among many prayed that the guns would
not be needed because many of them did not work. On shore he saw the
aftermath of the bombings first hand. "The buildings were gone, only
stone slabs remained," he said, and then he got quiet. He seldom
talks about the war and what he saw there.
by Susan Shrader.