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



In Memory of  Army Sgt.

Terry Gene Rada

Geddes, South Dakota, Charles Mix County

 September 23, 1948 – June 9, 1969

Killed in action in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam

Terry Gene Rada was born in Mitchell, South Dakota, on September 23, 1948, to August John and Norma Opal (Tronvold) Rada. He was the older of two children, having a younger brother Gary. His family lived on a farm in rural Charles Mix County until he was eight, when they moved into Geddes. Terry attended rural schools, and graduated from Geddes High School in 1966. He was active in his church, becoming a youth leader and a member of the church choir. Terry attended the Universal Trade School in Omaha, Nebraska, where he graduated from the Auto Mechanics course. Terry was employed as a mechanic until he entered the Army on April 10, 1968.

Sgt. Terry Gene Rada completed his basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then went on for advanced training at Fort Ord, California. On October 17, 1968, Sgt. Terry Gene Rada arrived in Vietnam, and was attached to Company D, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.

Sgt. Terry Gene Rada died of wounds received in combat on June 9, 1969.

The following is a letter the Rada family received from Terry’s friend Scott Norman in November 2004:

Rada family,
After so many years, I write this letter with little hope but high in expectations that it will reach a member of Terry’s family. On account of Veterans Day, I was looking through an old album and noticed a photo, which I had a duplicate of and thought someone on your family might like to have it.

In the scheme of things, there is nothing remarkable about it but to me it represents comradery we had in ‘Nam. Days in the boonies – and not fun days – we could still laugh, joke, and enjoy living and our brothers – in – arms. That’s one of the reasons I liked Terry from the start – nothing got him down and no problem was insurmountable. His head and duty were in Vietnam but there was no doubt his heart was in Geddes. I don’t mean to dwell on or remind you of bad times; I just want to assure you that some things and some people are never forgotten. Thirty–some years later, I still remember, salute, and mourn a fallen friend.

Best to the Rada family

Scott Norman
“Doc” – 150 1st, 101st Airborne

Army Sgt. Terry Gene Rada was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Infantry Rifleman’s Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star, and the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon. The Republic of Vietnam posthumously awarded the Military Merit Medal and the Gallantry Cross with Palm, which were considered with the highest regard by the Vietnamese Government and were presented for gallantry and meritorious service rendered while working with the Vietnamese Army. The recommendation from the Chief of the Joint General Staff states:

He was a serviceman of courage and rare self-sacrifice and displayed the most tactful cooperation while aiding the armed forces, and at all times set a brilliant example for his fellow soldiers.

His mother says he was “a wonderful soldier son – who wrote often and called by telephone when he could.”

Sgt. Terry Gene Rada is buried at Pleasant Lawn Cemetery in Geddes, South Dakota. Sgt. Terry Gene Rada’s name can be found on panel 22w, line 007 of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.


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