Memory of Army SSgt
Ronald Dean McIlravy
Wessington Springs, South
Dakota, Jerauld County
26, 1948 – July 29, 1967
Killed in action near Trung Lap in Long Khanh Province, South
(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.
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:
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