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



 In Memory of US Army Private First Class

Fred Duane Larson

Pollock, South Dakota, Campbell County

 June 22, 1949 - April 24, 1970

Killed in Action in Vietnam

Fred Duane “Freddie” Larson was born in Mobridge, South Dakota, on June, 22, 1949, to Helmer and Bertha Larson. His siblings were Gary and Kathleen. He was raised and educated in Pollock, South Dakota, in Cambell County. He graduated from Pollock High School in 1967. He was interested in cars and in mechanics. In fact, he went to a Denver trade school after high school. Fred then worked in the oil fields in Montana and the Homestake gold mine at Lead before returning home to work as a mechanic at the local service station before entering the service.

Fred Larson was drafted for the service on August 19, 1969, in Sioux Falls. He had his basic training at Fort Lewis in Washington. He had additional training in heavy artillery at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. He was a Private First Class in the US Army, 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery when he left for Vietnam on January 15, 1970.

Army Private First Class Fred Duane Larson was killed in action in Vietnam on April 24, 1970, which was also his mother’s 55th birthday. According to reports, he “apparently stepped on a land mine after volunteering to go in advance of his unit” near the village of Lang Dong Ban in the Quang, Ngai Province. “He was searching a suspected enemy dwelling when an enemy explosive device was detonated.”

His commanding officer sent a letter to the family, which began with, “It is with deepest sorrow that I extend to you the sympathy of the men of the 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery, for the loss of your son, Fred.” He went on to say, “I sincerely hope that the knowledge that Fred was an exemplary soldier who gave his life assisting his fellowman and in the service of his country will comfort you in this great hour of sorrow.”

PFC Larson’s body was returned to the United States and escorted home by Sgt. Rick Pudwill, a life long friend from Herreid. He was buried with military honors at the family lot in the cemetery in Pollock.

At the dedication at the wall in Washington, D.C. on July 19, 2003, the speaker assigned to speak about Fred was K. Lance VanderVorst, who told of Fred’s service and sacrifice.

Current survivors are his mother, Bertha Larson, Pollock; his brother, Gary (Brenda) Larson, Herreid; his sister, Kathleen (Larson) LeDoux, Ham Lake, Minnesota.

In closing, at the dedication, VanderVorst also said,

Fred gave the last full measure of devotion to his Country and comrades. It was partly through his actions, as well as the service of all Vietnam Veterans, that the United States won the Cold War. As the annals of history are written let us never forget Fred Duane Larson’s service to the United States of America. This Country was given birth by the soldier, has been sustained by the soldier, and continues to be protected by those who go where others fear to tread.

SD Vietnam Memorial Wall in Pierre

This entry was respectfully submitted by Brad North, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, October 4, 2005. Information and approval for this entry were provided by Gary and Brenda Larson,


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