Memory of Army Pfc.
Dennis Craig McPherson
Gregory, South Dakota, Gregory County
October 20, 1947 – November 11, 1967
Killed in action in the province of Kontum
near Dak To, South Vietnam
McPherson was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on October 20,
1947, to George Robert and Eilean Muzzette (Trad) McPherson.
Dennis had a sister, Paula. The family moved in 1956 to Gregory,
South Dakota after living in Sioux Falls, Miller, and Pierre,
South Dakota. Dennis played football all through high school and
loved cars, hunting pheasants, and riding his Honda 50
motorcycle. Dennis graduated from Gregory High School in 1965
and attended the University of South Dakota for one and one half
Dennis McPherson enlisted in the army on April 12, 1967. Pfc.
Dennis Craig McPherson trained in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
and completed weeks of advanced infantry training at Fort Polk,
Louisiana, on August 18, 1967. He was sent to Vietnam on
September 24, 1967, and was attached to Company E, 3rd
Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry
Dennis Craig McPherson perished near Dak To on Veteran’s Day,
November 11, 1967, while engaged in the battle for Hill 724
against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam.
Pfc. Dennis McPherson was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for
Heroism with “V” Device and the Purple Heart posthumously. The
award of the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism, states, in part:
For heroism in connection with military operations against a
hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Private First
Class McPherson distinguished himself by valorous actions
while serving as a Mortarman in Company E, 3rd
Battalion, 8th Infantry. On November 1967, Company B, 3rd
Battalion, 8th Infantry began receiving machine
gun fire directed at its perimeter from an
unknown-sized North Vietnamese Army force. Private First
Class McPherson, attached as a mortar crew man, exposed
himself under the intense hostile fire and began
directing mortar rounds into the enemy positions,
neutralizing them. Then with complete disregard for his own
safety, he left the company perimeter and began retrieving
the enemy machine guns, bringing them back to the
company area. While trying to reassemble them to use
against the North Vietnamese forces, he was mortally wounded
when the enemy again began to fire on the perimeter.
His courage, exemplary performance as a mortarman and fine
devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions
of the military service and reflect great credit upon
himself, his unit and the United States Army.
Pfc. Dennis McPherson was buried in
the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota, on
November 25, 1967.
His sister Paula writes:
Every five years
graduating classes at Gregory High hold reunions. Since I
graduated in 1970, my brother’s class (1965) and my class
hold their reunions the same year. While I was home on the
4th of July 1995, for my class reunion, Ed Haines approached
me. Ed took me to the American Legion Club, and there on the
wall hung the “Reflections” print. The print depicts a
40-some year old man, leaning against the granite Wall with
his head down. One can assume that he is thinking about his
buddies that he fought with, that didn’t come home. Looking
back and reaching out to the man from within the Wall are
the images of six young soldiers. Their youth remains
forever frozen, with their names chiseled into the black
stone wall. It was a very moving and powerful piece
of artwork. Then Ed pointed out my brother’s name on
the print, which I simply could not believe!
Ed saw the print,
“Reflections” in Sioux Falls and it touched him deeply. He
bought the print and donated it to the American Legion
Club. It had been hanging at the Club for about a year
and a half before a local patron discovered Denny’s name,
one week before the 4th of July.
After I became a
Christian, I often wondered if my brother found the Lord
before he died. I have always hoped and prayed that he did,
so that one day I could see him again. I believe that God
works in mysterious ways. Given all of the above to unfold
one week before the 1965 and 1970 class reunions, is too
much to be construed as a mere coincidence. There is
noquestion in my mind that it was God’s guiding hand that
brought my brother home for his 30th class
McPherson’s hometown of Gregory, South Dakota, dedicated their
football scoreboard to him at the season’s opening game on
September 5,1969. It bears his name today. Pfc. Dennis Craig
McPherson’s name can be found on Panel 29E, Row 75 of the
Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This entry was respectfully
submitted by Kirbee Hall, 7th Grade, Stanley County
Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, March 1, 2005. Mrs.
Paula Koy, Edwards, Illinois, sister of Dennis Craig McPherson,
and Mrs. Eilean McPherson, Leesburg, Florida, mother of Pfc.
McPherson, provided information for this entry.