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



In Memory of U.S. Army Private First Class

Kirby Jon Dougherty

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Minnehaha County

May 27, 1947 – September 1, 1968

Killed in Action in Vietnam


Kirby Jon Dougherty was born May 27, 1947, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to Frank and Elaine (Kirby) Dougherty. He had two sisters, Nancy and Mary. Kirby attended Little Flower of Jesus Grade School in Sioux Falls. Later on he went to O’Gorman High School where he played sports; he especially liked basketball. In 1965 he was on the All-State Basketball team. After graduating in 1965, Kirby attended South Dakota State University on a scholarship—possibly for track--before entering the service. He worked at the Coca Cola Bottling Plant during the summer vacations.

Kirby Jon Dougherty entered on active service May 11, 1968, at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He went overseas to Vietnam on August 2, 1968, as a Private First Class in Company E, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. His sister, Nancy, who was in elementary school at the time, remembers that Kirby promised her when he came back from Vietnam, she could go with him to pick out a ’69 Mustang Fastback he intended to buy.

Less than a month later, Army Private First Class Kirby Jon Dougherty was killed in Vietnam “from a gunshot wound receive while in an aircraft landing zone when hit hostile small arms fire,” on September 1, 1968. His body was returned to the United States and after a funeral service was buried with military honors at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Sioux Falls. Later Kirby’s family found out more details about his death. For whatever reason, Kirby was left behind in the field and spent the night alone. The next day when the helicopter returned for him, Kirby got up and ran for it. He was shot by the enemy before he made it to safety. Among his awards were the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Kirby Dougherty is survived only by his sister, Nancy (Randy) Preston, and their children: Tracy, Kari, Jennifer, Brandon, Stuart, Kelli of Sioux Falls.

In closing, a touching remembrance was posted for Kirby at by Craig Champion:

When you were air lifted in to the field, I had about two minutes to say welcome to the Nam. As dark came, we were air lifted out. That’s when your troubles began. What you went though, is more than I think I could bear. We ALL asked to go back that night and get you, but it was not our call. Even though we did not have the time to become buddies, I will never forget you.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Chelsey Drolc, 8th Grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on March 30, 2006. Information for this entry was provided by Vietnam Memorial Fund at, 9/11/1968 issue of Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and an application for a SD veteran’s bonus. Additional information and profile approval by Nancy Preston.


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