Personalities: South Dakota Soldiers, Sailors, War Memorials

Apr 17, 2017

Exterior of the Soldiers and Sailors World War Memorial
Credit nps.gov

On July 16, 1994, Chuck Anderson visited Pierre to attend an event called "South Dakotans in WWII." It took place at the newly minted Soldiers and Sailors World War Memorial Building, and Chuck got to take a tour.

He met George Summerside, the Veterans Education Program Representative for the State Office inside the building where the Robinson Museum and State Historical Society used to be.

George begins to describe the layout of the memorial.

He then shows Chuck where South Dakota's Congressional Medal of Honor recipients will be recognized.

Congressional Medals of Honor from the left: Army, Air Force, and Navy
Credit Congressional Medal of Honor Society

George made sure to note that there are only three Medals of Honor, one for each branch of service. The Marines (Chuck's branch) and Coast Guard fall under US Navy jurisdiction, so one medal encompasses them all. Chuck responded in jest.

George comes back to the medals and says just over 3,000 soldiers, out of the millions who served, have received the noble prize. He names the eight South Dakotans who will be honored.

Brigadier General Charles Roberts

Captain Joe Foss

Colonel Leo Thorsness

Captain Willibald Bianchi

Captain Arlo Olson

Specialist Four Michael Fitzmaurice

Private First Class Herbert Littleton

General Patrick Henry Brady

Two other South Dakotans, who were not mentioned on Chuck's program, received the Medal of Honor:

Sergeant Isaac Fry

Master Sergeant Woodrow Keeble

Chuck later went to the grounds outside and met with some old and new friends. Gloria MacKoy, a professional singer from DeSmet slated to perform at the memorial celebration, described her motivation for her work.

He also meets the Adjutant General of South Dakota, General Harold Sykora, who hosted the celebration.

He wanted the celebration around the memorial so it would be a piece of reflection in the background.

Chuck caps off his show with performances by the 147th Army National Band and Gloria McCoy. Here's a sampling of the band's performance:

Hear Chuck's entire "South Dakotans in WWII" experience here: