Korean War

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We'll always remember the Korean War, 1950-1953. The South Dakota Korean War Memorial contains the stories of many South Dakota veterans.   Look under "DMZ Stories" and "Fallen Sons".  Read also about Medal of Honor US Marine Herbert A. Littleton, who entered the service from Black Hawk, went to school in Sturgis, lived in Spearfish, and worked in Rapid City.

Don Policky and wife Mary of Piedmont have been regulars at the meetings.  An Air Force Veteran, Don served in Korea from 1950-1958.

What was America's best-known song in 1950? Click poster to find out.


Say "Hello" to thirty-year US Navy veteran Sam Kingery at future meetings.  Sam flew carrier-based Vought FAU Corsairs in the Korean War. He also flew AD Skyraiders and E-1 Traders with a few hours in the E-2 Hawkeye.  Chuck Ellington approached Sam after noticing his "Naval Aviation" ballcap at Safeway one day. more

At the February 12, 2011, meeting, the Korean War was discussed, with School of Mines professor emeritus Charles Thielen recounting the grim combat he faced with fellow US Marines.  
South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Dakota Midday radio program conducted an audio interview at the time.

At the meeting, a moment-of-silence was also observed at the meeting for Korean War Marine Herbert A. Littleton who was awarded the Medal of Honor after being killed in action on April 22, 1951.  Littleton entered the service from Black Hawk, went to school in Sturgis, lived in Spearfish, and worked in Rapid City.

Before the Korean War, Keith Christensen of Rapid City served in World War II in Europe, writing up his experiences in his book Hero for a Day. After the war, he says "I left the 14th Armored and went to Co. G, 157th, 45th Division, headed for Japan. With the war over, I arrived home in September of 1945 and was discharged November 12, 1945.
I took a direct commission in 1949 and was recalled to Korea, where I was stationed in August of 1951, Co. G., 24th Infantry, and with Co. D., 27th Infantry at Koje Do from December 1951 to February 1952. I stayed
in USAR (active reserve) and retired as an 04-Major Infantry in September of 1974.
At Koje Do, there were POWs only: NFK and Chinese, 75-100,000. A real mess. DP's (slave labor) were a real problem after WW II. Our State Department's handling is the basic reason for our world-wide mess today."



At the April 10, 2010, meeting, we focused on the tactical and strategic role of bombers in the Korean War.  LTC George A. Larson (USAF ret) drew from his newly published book (2010) Superfortress Final Glory: The Korean Air War, The Cold War's First Aerial Combat.  Larson says that "The WWII B-29 fleet was sent back into service as a conventional bomber to attack Communist forces south of the 38th parallel and, later, targets in North Korea."
Also at the meeting, LTC Lester Snyder (USAF ret), who flew B-29 bombing missions against Toyko from recently captured Tinian in the Mariana Islands during WWII, described B-26 bombing raids during the Korean War.  A navigator/bombardier during the wars and later Professor emeritus at SDSM&T, Snyder was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses. Both men live in Rapid City.
Are you ready to step into the cockpit of a B-29?



On March 11, 2006, Charles Thielen (USMC ret) of Rapid City spoke to us then, too.  He later became history professor emeritus at SDSM&T.  At one point, this Marine’s unit was overrun, a mortar wiping out everyone at his position except for him and another, who were both bayoneted as they pretended to be dead. “Sometimes under fire we had to line up wounded Marines in the snow overnight," he recalled. "You could tell the ones still alive in the morning. They were the ones without frost buildup on their faces.”
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Picture above of Capt. Robert Groethe appeared in Rapid City Journal, 1-12-10

After the death of a friend, an American infantryman is comforted by a fellow soldier, Korea, 1950. Submitted by a Black Hills veteran.