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



In Memory of U.S. Army Private First Class

Vern Allen Harris

Glad Valley, South Dakota, Ziebach County

 April 27, 1948 – September 15, 1968

Died of Wounds Received in Action in Vietnam

Vern Allen Harris was born on April 27, 1948, at Mobridge, South Dakota, to Emerson and Betty (Brinkman) Harris. Vern was a brother to Rebecca, Barton, James, and John. He was raised in the Glad Valley area. He went to Glad Valley Rural grade school. He went to Lemmon High School for his freshman and sophomore years then went to Isabel High School for his junior and senior years, graduating in 1966. He attended Northern State College in Aberdeen for about a year and a half - until January 1968 when he joined the service. Before he joined the service, he worked as a ranch hand during the summers. Vern liked horses, ranching, and playing football, wrestling, and dancing, as well as spending time with his family and fiancée, Betty Ann Bachman.

On February 1, 1968, Vern Allen Harris enlisted into the U.S. Army. He was trained in Fort Lewis, Washington, where he did basic training and Advanced Military Training. Vern was sent overseas in June 1968, where he was stationed in Cu Chi in Vietnam as a machine gunner and Private First Class, Company B, First Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

PFC Vern Harris died at 5:40 P.M. on September 15, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam when he was caught in intense hostile fire from the enemy. Mr. and Mrs. Harris were first notified that Vern had died by a gentleman in an army uniform who came to their house.

His body was returned to the United States and escorted home by Sgt. Michael Olson. The family was not allowed to view the body. The funeral was at the United Church of Christ in Isabel on September 28th and he was buried with military honors at the Hillsview Cemetery in Isabel.

In early October, Mr. and Mrs. Harris received a letter from Vern’s commanding officer. The following is a quote from the letter:

It is with deep regret that I must write this letter offering my sympathy
to you on the recent death of your son… As a member of this command
Vern was well liked by all his superiors and contemporaries. He was an
excellent soldier, performing all tasks assigned to him in a cheerful and
efficient manner. His death came as a great shock to all who knew him.

PFC Vern Harris received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Ribbon, Vietnamese Campaign ribbon, and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Below is a copy of Harris’ citation for the Bronze Star:

Vern’s current survivors are his mother, Betty B. Walker; his sister, Rebecca A. Stapert; and his brothers, Barton, James, and John.

Vern Allen Harris lost his life fighting for others. We will remember his bravery.

Vern’s grave is at the foot of his Grandfather Harris’ grave, a Spanish-American War veteran

This entry was respectfully submitted by Taylor Klinkel, 8th grade student of Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on October 6, 2005. Information for this entry was provided by Betty B. (Harris) Walker, Vern’s mother. Addition information was provided by the West River Progress, 10/3/68 issue, and Vietnam veterans bonus application. Profile approval by Betty Walker.


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