SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of Army SSgt


Ronald Dean McIlravy

Wessington Springs, South Dakota, Jerauld County


  March 26, 1948 – July 29, 1967


Killed in action near Trung Lap in Long Khanh Province, South Vietnam


Ronald Dean (Ronnie) McIlravy was born on March 26, 1948 to Alfred and Goldie (Sharp) McIlravy of Mobridge, South Dakota. Ronald had two sisters, Shirley and Wilma, a half sister, and two brothers, Leroy and Marvin. His father died in 1952.  Ronald went to live with his aunt and uncle, Tom and Elsie Sharp, and cousin Patty in Wessington Springs, South Dakota when he was eight years old. Ronald was an avid horseman and spent many hours riding the Dakota prairie on his pony. While attending Wessington Springs High School his number one passion was football.

 SSgt Ronald D. McIlravy entered the service on April 27, 1965 at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and arrived in Vietnam on September 13, 1966. SSgt McIlravy was attached to Troop A, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division.

 SSgt Ronald Dean McIlravy was killed by hostile action on July 29, 1967 when the military vehicle he was riding in was struck by anti-tank fire. He had been due to return to the United States in September 1967.  The following is a portion of the confirmation telegram that was sent to Ronald’s aunt and uncle from Major General Kenneth G. Wickham, Adjutant General:


SSgt Ronald McIlravy was awarded the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Combat Medal, and the Bronze Star Medal with the “V” Device.  The award for the Bronze Star states, in part:

        For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: Sergeant McIlravy        distinguished himself by heroic actions on 29 July 1967, while on a search and destroy operation in the    vicinity of Trung Lap, Republic of Vietnam. Sergeant McIlravy’s unit was ambushed by an unknown         number of Viet Cong. Two armored personnel carriers were hit by anti-tank rounds causing the        vehicles to explode and burn furiously. Sergeant McIlravy, without regard for his personal safety, ran        through heavy small arms, automatic weapons, and anti-tank fire to help in evacuating the wounded        personnel. Ignoring the intense heat, the ever-present danger of further explosions and the continuing     enemy fire, he began pulling his wounded comrades to safety. As he continued his gallant rescue    mission, he was mortally wounded. Sergeant McIlravy’s courage and devotion to duty are in keeping        with the highest traditions of the military and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th        Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

 SSgt Ronald Dean McIlvery was buried with full military honors on August 7th, 1967 in the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota.  SSgt Ronald McIlravy’s name can be found on the Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. on panel 24E, line 035.


   This entry was respectfully submitted by Carmen Foster, Stanley County Middle School, March 3, 2005. Mrs. Elsie Sharp of Wessington Springs, South Dakota, aunt, and Leroy and Jolene McIlravy, Gillette, Wyoming, brother and sister-in-law to SSgt. Ronald McIlravy, provided the information.


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