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

 

 



In 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

 

Dennis Craig 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 years.  

 Pfc. 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 Division.

 Pfc. 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 reunion.     

Pfc. 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.

 


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