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



In Memory of U.S.  Marines Corporal

David Eugene Hevle

Yankton, South Dakota, Yankton County

September 8, 1944 – April 8, 1967

Died from Wounds Received in Action in Vietnam

David Eugene Hevle was born September 8, 1944, in Yankton, South Dakota, to Orlein M. and Mary J. Hevle. He had two brothers, Michael and Douglas. David attended high school in Yankton, South Dakota; shortly before graduation David joined the Marines Corps. His brother Doug wrote, “David had a, big smile… He liked to play most sports and just sit around and visit with his friends.”

David Hevle entered the service December 26, 1961. He was sent overseas on May 15, 1966, as Marine Corporal with Headquarter Platoon, B Company, Third AmTrack Battalion, First Marine Division.

Corporal David Eugene Hevle died near Chu Lai Republic of Vietnam on April 8, 1967, while on patrol northwest of Song Tra-Bong River in the Binh Son District of the Quang Ngai Province. He suffered from third degree burns and was killed instantly when the Amphibian Tractor he was riding hit a mine and exploded. His family received many letters of sympathy, including ones from General Westmoreland, President Johnson, and the governor of South Dakota, Nils Boe. His commanding officer wrote of his “loyalty and honesty” and that he “was one of the most popular men in his company and well known throughout the Battalion” because he “knew his job and performed it well.” His sense of humor and dependability were also what made him so well liked. As one Marine wrote, “It was a privilege to have been his friend.”

David Hevle’s body was “encased” and returned to the United States with a military escort to be buried either in a private cemetery or a national cemetery. His funeral service was held at the Trinity Lutheran Church, officiated by Rev. Robert Jacobsen who said that Corporal Hevle “gave his life that we might live in peace.” His body was then buried with military honors at Garden of Memories Cemetery in Yankton.

David Hevle was the first Yankton man killed in action in Vietnam. He earned thirteen medals, including two Purple Hearts, “one of the highest medals a soldier could receive for getting wounded in action.” Among his other medals and awards was the Navy Commendation Medal. The following is the citation for the award:

Doug, David’s brother, said that the best way to describe David and what he believed was the poem he wrote home while serving in Vietnam:

“Stop It Here in Vietnam”


Another day has ended for some darn good men.

Wasn’t long ago this was far off place,

Now its mud is a part of my face.

Not just me, but thousands more.

Will walk these hills for those damn VC

So a simple country’s peace can go free.

I sit here at the end of a long, long day

And ask myself, is there some easier way?

The college professors say, this is no reason for men to die.

Have you heard the wounded cry?

When they sit at home in their easy chairs

I wonder do they hear gun shot that gray their hairs?

Young men here grow up fast,

So our way of life will ever last.

To a school boy back in the States, ten bucks ain’t much.

Just a letter here, is like God’s own touch.

Because of the Reds my friends have bled and died,

And when their folks got the word they broke and cried.

Sure, we get good chow, it’s not all that bad; I chose this way of life

I did it because some day I’ll have a wife.

I’ll have a home and a couple of kids

They’re going to know what freedom is.

Still some good men say

It doesn’t make a damn.

Buddy, I say it does,

And we’ve got to stop it here in Vietnam.

The Disabled American Veterans chapter in Yankton is known as the Hevle-Heimes Chapter No. 17, which honors the first two local men killed in Vietnam.

His family said in closing, “David was young, brave, and willing to fight for the freedom of his country. To us he was a hero that should never be forgotten for giving his sacred life in hopes that his country would end up winning the war.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Brandy Kingsley and Brittney Vansickel, 8th Graders, Spearfish Middle School, February 11, 2006. The information for this entry was provided by Douglas Hevle, brother, the Vietnam Veterans Bonus Application, and the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan, April 12, 1967 and April 24, 1967 issues. Profile approval by Douglas Hevle.


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