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



In Memory of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class

Earl John Overacker

Faith, South Dakota, Meade County

January 9, 1939 Ė August 15, 1969

Died of Wounds in Action in Vietnam

Earl John Overacker was born on January 9, 1939, in Faith, South Dakota, to Merle and Eloise (Novey) Overacker. Earl had six younger siblings. They included four brothers and two sisters: Margie, Gene, Roger, Phyllis, Calvin, and Jan. He attended Faith High School and graduated around 1957. Earl is remembered for his interest in race-car driving.

Earl Overacker was drafted into the service on February 11, 1957, and had his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri; he had additional training at Fort Carson, Colorado. He was trained as a chef and helicopter mechanic. After his initial two year tour, he reenlisted for four more years and went overseas to Germany in 1960. While in Germany, he reenlisted for a six Ėyear tour. On August 16, 1962, he married his wife Erika in Fuerth, Germany. They had two children, Edward and Susan. In 1964, the family returned to the United States where Earl was again stationed at Ft. Carson, Colorado until 1966 when he was sent to Korea from January of 166 until March of 1967. From 1967 until 1969, SFC Overacker was back in the United States with his family, stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia before being sent to Vietnam in 1969 as part of the Headquarters Company, 11th Aviation Group of the 1st Cavalry Division.

The following letter was written from Earl to his sister, Phyllis, before his death:

I guess itís time to get a letter off to you. I donít have much time for writing and I have trouble getting this pen to fit my hand. Iím still working on helicopters, about 14 hours a day. Itís a pretty good job if it werenít in the army. Iím getting sick of the army and most of the people in it. Iím a technical inspector for all army helicopters now. I made SFC while I was at Ft. Eustis, VA going to school. Thatís it for a couple years. Iím getting out of the army in November of 1970. I got here 14 Feb., only about 228 days to go. Iíll be going to meet Erika in Hawaii August 16th. What is Darrell taking in school? We finally bought a house in Savannah. I really like it there, especially that warm weather the year around. Iíll sure be glad to get back there. I guess I better sign off now, itís past my bedtime; be good and write again.

Earl John Overacker, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class, died in the Republic of South Vietnam, on August 15, 1969, at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon ďin a surprise raid on his camp by the Viet Cong.Ē The following portion of a letter was written by Earlís Commanding Officer to Earlís wife Erika, about Earlís death.

Earl was standing in the pay line at approximately 12:30 p.m. on 15 Aug. í69 when a missile from an enemy 107 millimeter rocketÖ from the exploding missile seriously wounded your husband in the left frontal area of the head. He was immediately evacuated to the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh, Republic of Vietnam. Despite all possible efforts to save his life, he succumbed at 4:30 pm that day. The cause of death was determined to be a penetrated wound to the left frontal parietal area of the head with extensive brain tissue damage, causing cardio - respiratory arrest.

His body was returned to the United States, and his mother, Eloise Carney, and his sister, Margie Hansen, both attended the funeral, which was held in Savannah, Georgia. He is buried at Greenwich Cemetery Forest Lawn in Savannah.

Among the awards Earl received were the Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal with Two Bronze Loops, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Aircraft Crewman Badge, Expert Badge with Automatic Rifle Bar, and the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar.

The current survivors of the Overacker family are his mother, Eloise Carney of St. Maries, ID; his sisters, Margie Hansen of St. Maries, ID; and Phyllis Carr of Belle Fourche, SD; his brothers, Gene of Doyle, CA; Roger of Groton, SD; Calvin of St. Maries, ID; and Jan of Post Falls, ID. Also surviving him are his widow, Erika Overacker, his daughter, Susan (Overacker) Hansen, and his son, Edward Overacker. Earl John Overackerís father, Merle, preceded him in death at the age of 53 in January of 1960.

The Overackerís closing comments of Earl is ďWe miss him still!Ē


This entry was respectfully submitted by Nicole Maltaverne and Roni Mollman, 8th Graders, Spearfish Middle School, February 8, 2006. The information was provided by Phyllis Carr, sister, Belle Fourche, SD. Additional information was provided by an application for a SD Vietnam Veterans bonus and the Faith Independent, 8/27/69 issue. Profile approval by Phyllis Carr.


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