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

 

 



In Memory of Army Specialist Fourth Class

Frank William Jealous of Him

Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Shannon County

May 5, 1947- June 9, 1969

Killed from a small arms fire at Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam

  
Right: Frank is on the extreme right of photo

Frank William “Billy” Jealous-of-Him was born on May 5, 1947 at Manderson, South Dakota to Clayton and Eva (Mesteth) Jealous of Him. After his mother died, his father, a Pentecostal preacher, married his second wife, Bernice. His known siblings were his brother, Matthew “Congo” and his half-sisters, Clynda, Julie, Carol, Verla, and Kathy. Frank did not finish high school but worked at the Head Start Center, Wounded Knee District, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as a teacher’s aide when he was 18. He also sang in a popular band, the Sioux Playboys, where he was know for his beautiful voice and musicianship. His band won a local talent show in Rapid City and got to play on a local television station. At one point, Frank thought about getting his GED and then going on with his schooling, possibly even playing college basketball. He is thought to have once said, “I have this feeling that sort of stays with me that I was born for something besides hanging around Wounded Knee….”

Frank enlisted in the Army on February 1, 1968 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Frank went to Fort Lewis, Washington, for basic training. Although his scores on his aptitude tests were said to be very high, which could have made him eligible for officers’ training, he went on to Fort Polk, Louisiana to Advanced Infantry Training, but first went back to Wounded Knee for a three-week leave. During that leave, there was a large send-off for Frank where he got the Warrior’s name, Ana Kita or They Run To Him because his grandmother said that in Vietnam people would run to her grandson for help and security. He returned to active duty in late April of 1968. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam on August 22, 1968, as a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division.

First stationed close to Da Nang near a helicopter landing zone called LZ Baldy, Jealous of Him wrote home that he served as point very often. He was known to locate booby-traps and once brought in a lost squad through radio transmission by just using his map and compass bearings, saving that squad and also themselves from having to go out and find them. Frank took to wearing an OD towel like a poncho because their fatigues wore out so quickly. It is said that many others started to do the same. On March 6, 1969, he received orders transferring them to LZ Professional near Chu Lai.

When asked about a planned assault by the NVA, Frank is said to have offered this advice: “Well, you got to use your feelings, your intuition, not be distracted for a minute. Chances of hitting a booby trap are greater than seeing any NVA…so watch the ground, then before you step, look up…really look at the trees. If there is a cluster of leaves or a dark spot that shouldn’t be there, it could be a sniper or a wired shell. The wires are small, so move slow, keep an eye on the men to your flanks so we move at the same speed.”

Towards the end of his life, Frank apparently always took the point. Shortly before his death, in a confrontation with another soldier, he was quoted as saying, “Whether I’m fighting for you whites or whether I’m just trying to get home alive, I’m not even sure. You white boys got a world to go back to. If I make it home, it will be to poverty …”

On June 9, 1969 in the evening, Specialist Jealous of Him went out on patrol, and it seemed quiet. He is said to have remarked, “If anything bothers me, it’s that either there’s really no one out here, or they know we’re here.” Soon after they stopped for water. Frank’s friend, Karl Schofer, volunteered to fill canteens, so Frank went with him to the river. As they were leaving, Karl was shot by a sniper. Frank dove for him, yelling, “I’m here, man, I’m here for you, white boy. Hang on to me; I’m going to get you out.” Picking him up, he tried to get them both to safety. Instead they were both killed.

Army Specialist 4 Frank William Jealous of Him died from small arms fire on June 9, 1969, in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. According to the Epilogue in Of Uncommon Birth by Mark St. Pierre, on Friday, June 13, 1969, four days after Frank was killed, the former company was “overrun and wiped out. 55 men were killed or wounded.”

When the tribal policeman located Clayton Jealous of Him and his wife in Pine Ridge, he told them to go the County Store in Wounded Knee right away as there was an Army sergeant looking for them. He and Bernice tried to think maybe Frank was coming home early or that he was being awarded a medal. In the meantime people gathered around the store waiting. Finally after hours of waiting, the sergeant delivered the devastating news and telegram to Clayton.

Word was received on June 19, 1969, that Frank’s body was on its way from Washington, DC to Rapid City. There was a memorial service first in Rapid City since Frank had been such a popular musician with the students at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Then, led by highway patrolmen, the hearse, escorted by 30 airmen serving as honor guards, made its way across the prairie toward Wounded Knee—with about 150 cars following and people lining the roads. After an emotional three-day wake, the body of Frank Jealous of Him was buried with military honors on June 24, 1969, at a cemetery at Porcupine. “As male relatives took turns, Billy was laid to rest one shovelful at a time.”

Among his awards, Frank Jealous of Him is believed to have been awarded the Silver Star posthumously for trying to rescue his friend and comrade.

Brady Cole Thelen, 8th Grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, February 18, 2006 respectfully submitted this initial entry and Mrs. Hansen, Spearfish Middle School, updated the entry. Information and photos were provided by the exceptional book, Of Uncommon Birth by Mark St. Pierre and an application for a SD veterans’ bonus. (Editor’s Note: we were unable to locate any relatives to collaborate or approve this profile.)

 


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