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



In Memory of Army Sgt.

Joseph Emanuel Hurney

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Minnehaha County

 November 14, 1942-January 15, 1969

Killed when his truck hit a hostile mine in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam 

Joseph Emanuel Hurney was born in Brookings County in South Dakota on November 14, 1942 to John Emanuel and Thelma Marie (Horner) Duffek Hurney. He lived with his family in Elkton, South Dakota until 1949, when he and his family moved to Sioux Falls. Joseph had two brothers, John and Edward, a half brother, Dale Duffek, a sister, Nell Marie, and two half sisters, Darlene and Bonnie Duffek. Joseph attended St. Joseph’s Cathedral School and Whittier Junior High School in Sioux Falls. Joe loved cars and was very good at putting in straight stick transmissions in his 1948 Ford Coupe, as he loved to drag race. Joe also was very athletic, playing baseball and football in his neighborhood. He enjoyed playing cards and pool, swimming, rock and roll music and dancing.

Joseph married Marlene A. Sandberg on August 16, 1963 in Sioux Falls. A son, Scott Joseph Hurney, was born on March 16, 1964. Joe was very ambitious and a hard worker. He worked at gas stations, a feed mill, a restaurant supply store installing large equipment, and transported prisoners to the State Penitentiary and the mentally ill to the State Hospital for the Sheriff. He became a Teamster working on the freight docks at Hyman Freightways and All American Freight in Sioux Falls. Joe was extremely neat and clean – everything had to be spotless.

Joseph Emanuel Hurney was drafted into the Army on September 22, 1967 after he and his wife were divorced because of family pressure over religious differences. He arrived in Vietnam on March 1, 1968, attached to Battery G, 29th Artillery, 108th Artillery Group.

As his tour in Vietnam was coming to an end, Sgt. Hurney was given a choice of staying in Vietnam for one more month and when he came home he would be out for good, or he could come back to the United States early, and would have to serve a few more months. Since he and Marlene were planning on remarrying and moving away from Sioux Falls as soon as he got back to the States, he chose to stay in Vietnam one more month. It was the wrong decision, for he was killed on January 15, 1969, while supervising the searchlights and the men who provided illumination in support of combat operations in his area. The truck in which he was riding struck a mine and was simultaneously ambushed.

Sgt. Joseph Emanuel Hurney was buried in St. Michael’s Cemetery, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sgt. Hurney’s name can be found on Panel 34W, Row 7 of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

Sgt. Hurney’s son received the awards for his father. They included the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, and the Sharpshooter Badge with rifle bar.

In the photo, seven awards, including the Bronze Star, were presented to Joe’s son, Scott.

Sgt. Hurney loved his son very much and had great aspirations for him. When Scott was one year old, his father bought him boxing gloves and at two years old bought him a football. His dad played with him, took good care of him and was a good father. Scott was two months from being five when Joe was killed. Scott has missed growing up without Joe-at 41 he still needs him.

Marlene Hurney writes:

Now that thirty-six years have passed since Joe was killed in Vietnam, it has not become any easier for us to deal with his death. Through the years it has come out that this war was all in vain. A day does not go by that we are not reminded. Joe was not looking forward to going to Vietnam but thought it was his patriotic duty. He went, gave it his all, and consequently sacrificed the ultimate for his

It is with great sadness that we include an addendum to this profile. Joe’s son, Scott Hurney, died on October 2, 2005, after a ‘courageous battle with cancer.’ We are so sorry that she has had to endure the loss of both her husband and her son.

Joy One Star, 7th grade, Stanley Country Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, May 12, 2005 respectfully submitted this entry. Information was provided by Mrs. Marlene Hurney, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, former wife of Sgt. Joseph Emanuel Hurney.



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