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USS South Dakota Reunion In Sioux Falls

Karen Dunham, a Sioux Falls realtor, has been involved with the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial since the late '60s and has been involved with every reunion. Capt. Diane Diekman (U.S. Navy-ret.) is on the Memorial's Board of Directors and discusses its history from a Navy perspective and addresses some of the recent "touch-ups" done by Hartford resident and Navy veteran Robert Ruf. Most warships are built for an active career of 20 or 30 years. The USS South Dakota was in commission less than five. But in that short lifetime she covered herself with more honors and glory than most other ships realize in much longer periods of service. Because of her World War II exploits against the Japanese in the South Pacific, this mighty battleship became a legend before she was a year old. She caught the fancy of the American people when her heroics were reported in newspapers under the titles of "Battleship X" and "Old Nameless." Spurred by the Navy's announcement that it was going to scrap the battleship, a number of South Dakota citizens banded together to save part of the famous old "Battleship X." The memorial was completed in 1969 and dedicated with appropriate ceremonies September 7, 1969. The USS South Dakota 2nd Generation Group is planning a reunion for crew members and their families June 27-29 in Sioux Falls.