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



In Memory of Spec 4

Howard Robert Hysell

Burke, South Dakota, Gregory County

 June 25, 1944 - April 30, 1966

Killed in action near Lo Go, South Vietnam.

Howard Robert Hysell was born in Gregory, South Dakota, on June 25, 1944, to Harold and Irene Hysell (Hannahs). He had two brothers Lloyd and Theodore (Ted), and a sister, Lois. He grew up near the towns Burke and Gregory, with the exception of one year spent in Martin, South Dakota. Howard liked country music, cars, and hunting.  Sister Lois wrote:

      I fondly remember driving the car through fields while Howard pheasant hunted. I wasnít old enough for a license so I thought this was so cool. Howard was over six feet tall and thin. He always wore a   black cowboy hat making him look even taller.

 Spec 4 Howard Hysell enlisted into the Army on November 5, 1964, and received training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Fort Hood, Texas.  He arrived in South Vietnam on October 16, 1965 and was attached to Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. 

The following is the last letter to his family received from him: it reads, in part:

       April 26, Ď66

        Viet Nam

        Dear Dad, Mom, and Sis,

        Öshortly I will be home, shortly say in about 150 days.  Our operation started about three days ago.   

       The first day, 9 were killed and 12 wounded, 100 were flown in from heat exhaustion. We were given one-fourth canteen of water for all-day and walked all day. Itís a good thing Charlie didnít see us. We are cooling our heels at a base camp for a couple of days. I slept all day long.

        April 27, 1966

       ÖHere are four pictures of myself. How is the weather back there in Godís Country? Itís still pretty    hot over here. We are still cooling our heels as yet. Mom, send these two addresses back to me as I have to burn all letters I get out in the field. Send them about May 3, as we will be out of the field.

       Love, Howard

       I have to get ready to leave.


Vietnam Veteransí Memorial Photo Courtesy of Sheila Hansen

Specialist 4 Howard R. Hysell was killed in hostile ground action on April 30, 1966, in Operation Birmingham while on a search and destroy mission.  His group had come under heavy small arms and machine gun fire from the west side of the Ben Go River and at the same time made heavy contact with a Viet Cong force on the eastern side. 

 Spec 4 Howard Hysell is buried in Graceland Cemetery, in Burke, South Dakota. The South Dakota Air National Guard of Sioux Falls flew jets in formation over the cemetery.  Specialist 4 Howard Robert Hysellís name can be found on Panel 07E, line 013 of the Vietnam Veteransí Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

 His sister, Lois, said:  

       Howard enjoyed life. He always had a smile and a good sense of humor. A man can choose no more honorable profession than wearing the uniform of his country in the defense of freedom and in safe guarding the right of men to choose their own destiny.

Mandy Redden, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, April 14, 2005, respectfully submitted this entry. Information was provided by Lois Thomas, Tabor, South Dakota, sister to Spec 4 Hysell.


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