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



In Memory of U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class

Ronald Andrew Olesen

Presho, South Dakota, Lyman County

 December 17, 1941 -- July 22, 1970

Died in Aircraft Accident in Phuoc Long, S. Vietnam

Ronald Andrew Olesen was born on December 17, 1941, in Gettysburg, South Dakota, to Oge and Eleanor (Ramser) Olesen. Oge worked as a farmer and Eleanor was a house wife. He had two brothers, Roger and Kenneth. Ronald grew up and went to grade school in Presho, South Dakota. Ronald graduated from Riggs High School in Pierre in 1959. He married Dagmar Schultz in July of 1961 in Germany. Dagmar and he had three daughters, Heinke, Diana, and Michele.

Ronald joined the service in December 23, 1959, shortly after high school. He was sent to Germany soon after joining the service. In December of 1969, he was stationed in Vietnam. Ronald’s rank was U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class. He was in the HHC, First Battalion, 21st Artillery, First Cavalry Division. He was in the service for a total of 128 months. He was in Vietnam for 8 of those 128 months.

Specialist Fourth Class Ronald Andrew Olesen died in South Vietnam in July 22, 1970, when “he was a passenger on a military aircraft which crashed into a river.” It is believed that Ronald was the forward observer. The details are as follows, according to

Aircraft 67-17551 had just departed FSB Granite to the south. While climbing, at about 700 feet, the engine quit. The aircraft commander made a May Day call and entered autorotation and landed in the river. Upon striking the river the aircraft rolled to the right and submerged quickly coming to rest on its right side. The aircraft commander, the door gunner, and one passenger were killed as a result of the crash. One passenger suffered back injuries from an undetermined cause.

Survivors at the time of his death included his parents, Oge and Eleanor Olesen of Fort Pierre; his wife, Dagmar, and his three daughters: Heike, Dianna, and Michell of West Germany; and his two brothers, Kenneth and Roger of Grand Island, NE.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Ali Ellingson, 8th Grader, Spearfish Middle School, February 7, 2006. The information for this entry was provided by Weekly Capital Journal, August 6, 1970, the SD Veterans bonus application, and The photo was provided by the SD State Archives. Profile approval by Kenneth Olesen.


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