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



In Memory of Army 1 LT

Michael Ronald Michels

Emery, South Dakota, Hansen County

September 10, 1945 - January 26, 1969

Died from friendly fire near Cu Chi, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam

Michael Ronald Michels was born on September 10, 1945 in Mitchell, South Dakota to Ronald Anthony and Marnie Mary (Brown) Michels. He had two brothers, Paul and Stephan, and one sister, Mary Jo. Michael grew up in Emery, South Dakota, where he attended St. Martin’s Grade School. He graduated in 1963 from Emery High School. Michael excelled in football, scoring 27 touchdowns in 8 games during his senior year. He was also in track and basketball. During both his junior and senior year of high school he was the state “B” champion in the 100 and the 220-yard dash. While attending the University of South Dakota, Michael was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corp, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and was president of the Scabbard and Blade. He graduated from USD with a Business Administration Degree in 1967.

Michael Michels entered the Army on October 7, 1967, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he completed basic training and an armor-training course. Lt. Michels completed his officer’s training course at Fort Hood, Texas. On February 24, 1968, he was united in marriage to his high school sweetheart, Beverly Jane Decker, at Fort Hood, Texas. Lt. Michels arrived in Vietnam on October 10, 1968, attached to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 35th Armor, 25th Infantry Division.

On January 26, 1969 Army 1 Lt. Michael Ronald Michels was killed in Vietnam from friendly fire when a commander of a tank behind him accidentally discharged its weapon. Lt. Ronald Michels was buried with full military honors in St. Martin’s Cemetery in Emery, South Dakota. His daughter, Michelle, was born after his death.

The name of 1 Lt. Michael Ronald Michels can be found on Panel 34W, Line 086 of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. 1 Lt Michels’ brother, Paul, said he can recall vividly waking up in the middle of the night on the evening his brother died. Paul was very close to his brother and has a tremendous respect for what he did.

Derek Keller, 8th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, March 21, 2006, respectfully submitted this entry. Information for this entry was provided to Terry Janssen, editor of the Emery Enterprise, by Paul Michels, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, brother to 1Lt. Michael Ronald Michels. Army bonus records and an article from the Emery Enterprise dated February 13, 1969 were also used.


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