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



In Memory of U.S. Army Sergeant

James Arthur Cleveland

Sisseton, South Dakota, Roberts County

 January 11, 1941 – July 20, 1968

Died of Wounds in Hue, South Vietnam


James Arthur Cleveland was born on January 11, 1941, in Sisseton, South Dakota, to Floyd and Hazel (Knapp) Cleveland. James had seven brothers: Roy, Harlan, Ervin, Charles, Duane, Dale, and Calvin; he also had two sisters, Arlene and Gloria. James attended Drywood Lake District # 4 Rural School near Sisseton. “He enjoyed fishing, hunting, trapping, playing cards, dancing, and scuba diving,” according to his brother, Charles. He worked on his family farm raising sheep, cattle, geese, ducks and hay crops. James married his wife Sherry (Weinkauf) on September 5, 1964, at Grace Lutheran Church in Sisseton. After his marriage, they moved to Rapid City where he worked at a service station for a couple of years. Next, he worked at Kasperson Ford in 1965 in Huron, South Dakota; after that they moved to Kirkland, Washington where he was employed by Boeing Aircraft Corporation. When James was drafted, his wife, Sherry, returned to Sisseton. James is remembered by his family as “fun and loving.”

James was drafted into active service from Kirkland, Washington on January 5, 1967. He received at basic training at Fort Ord, California; he had advanced medical training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Fort Carson, Colorado. He was sent to Vietnam on March 28, 1968, as a sergeant and medical corpsman in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

Sergeant James Arthur Cleveland died in Vietnam on July 20, 1968, from “wounds received during hostile ground action.” His body was returned to the U.S., and after a funeral service at Grace Lutheran Church, he was buried with full military honors at the Veterans Circle in the Sisseton Cemetery.

Sergeant Cleveland had a lot of medals and awards, such as The Purple Heart, Combat Medical Badge, which was awarded to medics for exemplary action in combat, Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Marksmanship Badges with Rifle and Automatic Rifle Bar. He was also posthumously promoted to Sergeant First Class.

Sergeant Cleveland is currently survived by his widow, Sherry Cordell, and seven brothers: Ray (Arlene) Cleveland, Harlan (Delores) Cleveland, Ervin (Maren) Cleveland, Charles (Lorraine) Cleveland, Duane (Judy) Cleveland, Dale (Bonnie) Cleveland, and Calvin (Linda) Cleveland, and his two sisters, Arlene (Sherman) Thomson, and Gloria Schlekeway. He was preceded in death by his father, Floyd, in 1956. His mother, Hazel, passed away in 2001 at the age of 93.

Sergeant Cleveland is on the Vietnam Memorial Wall on panel 51W row 17. Below is a picture of the medals he earned.

Sergeant Cleveland’s friend, Rod Loudermilk, posted this remembrance on

James was my friend. He and I served together for awhile at Fort Carson, Colorado. He stopped by our house in Colorado Springs, once. He saw my guitar and said he always wanted to learn to play. He was sent to South Vietnam a few months before I was. I was stationed at Quang Tri when I received a letter from my wife. She had received a letter from James' wife saying he had been killed. He was a friendly person, and everyone I knew liked him.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Christina Grass, 8th grade Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota. February 7, 2006. Information for this entry provided by Charles and Lorraine Cleveland, Huron, South Dakota, <>, and by an application for Vietnam Veterans bonus. Profile approval by Charles Cleveland.


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