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



In Memory of U.S. Army Private First Class

William Leo Hill

Garretson, South Dakota, Minnehaha County

February 20, 1948 -- May 1, 1968

Killed in Action in South Vietnam


William Leo “Bill” Hill was born in Watertown, South Dakota, on February 20, 1948. His parents were George S. and Iris Darlene (Parish) Hill. He had one brother, Richard, and one sister, Cheryl. He went to school in Watertown and Mason City, Iowa. William last attended Garretson High School after his parents moved there in 1965. However, he completed his schooling in the service. Before he left for the service, William was engaged to marry Janice McCoy of Sioux Falls.

William Leo Hill entered the Army on August 2, 1967, and trained at Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Fort Lewis, Washington, before going overseas to Vietnam on January 27, 1968, as a member Company A, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. His home base was Cu Chi in Vietnam.

Private First Class William Leo Hill was killed in action on May 1, 1968, when he stepped on a land mine as he was standing guard duty. His body was returned to the United States, and he was buried with military honors at the Summit Hill Cemetery in Garretson.

William Leo Hill was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and the Marksmanship Badge with rifle bar.

William’s survivors are his sister, Cheryl Yarber, and his brother, Richard Hill. A friend of William’s, Lawrence Frazier, wrote a poem in his memory called “Bill Has Come Home” on May 5, 1968:

In far off Vietnam, Out of the war’s unholy haze,

Came the news of a loved one, That left the world in a daze.

Bill’s earthly life was gone--A land mine was all to blame;

For him the war was won, Never again would he know pain.

Then the sweetest of all voices, Penetrated the gathering gloom,

“Question not my choice, I am not the bearer of doom.”

“And have you forgotten so easy & soon, The lesson I once before did bring?

Greater love hath no man than this, That he lay down his life for his friends.”

“Bill heard me and has surely given, His last full measure of devotion,

He has given my very word life--Now he shall receive his blessed portion.”

“Bill shall know war no more, Neither shall he know any pain;

He shall walk the streets of Heaven, Where Christian is his name.”

“Verily, Verily I bring you glad tidings--Yea, I bring them to you all today;

Bill Hill is neither hurt nor dead, He has come home with Me—to stay!”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Michael Mertens, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on October 12, 2005. Information for this entry was provided by the Vietnam Veterans Bonus Application, the Argus Leader issues 5/4/68 and 5/5/68, and Watertown Public Opinion, May 4, 1968, issue. Additional information, photo and profile approval by Cheryl Yarber.


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