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



In Memory of U.S. Army Specialist Fourth Class

Arden Keith Renville

Sisseton, South Dakota, Roberts County

July 25, 1946 -- April 24, 1968

Died of Wounds Received While on Combat Operation in Vietnam

Arden Keith “Jackie” Renville was born July 25, 1946, in Sisseton, South Dakota, to Joseph and Naomi (Freemont) Renville. His siblings were Robin, Grady, Bruce, and Martha Renville. Arden attended Sisseton High School and graduated in 1964. He then went to Northern State College until 1967. When he was little, his elder brothers would take him down to the local gas station, and they would ask the owner if they could trade him for a pack of Black Jack chewing gum. When he was in grade school, he would get up early and read the newspaper and listen to the radio and TV news before he went to school. Arden won many awards for his knowledge and interest in current events. While in high school, Arden ran track and liked listening to the Beatles. In high school he had a Beatles’ style hair cut and was called ‘Ghandi’ by his friends. Before he entered the service in 1967, Arden had a ‘rummage sale’ at his dorm in Northern State College.

Arden Renville enlisted on February 1, 1967, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was trained as a medic. Arden was assigned to Company D, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry, and 1st Infantry Division. Before going overseas, Arden came home on leave to find his parents had just taken in a puppy, and Arden and the puppy went everywhere together while he was home. Then when Arden left for Vietnam on July 26, 1967, the puppy just disappeared. His brother, Grady, was in Vietnam at the same time as Arden, but Arden was in the South, and Grady was in the North. According to a newspaper article, “after several months in-country, Arden contracted malaria and was sent to a rear area hospital” to get better. While there he walked by another Sisseton-area veteran, Myron Williams, who was hospitalized with severe leg wounds. Myron called out, “Ghandi, is that you?” referring to Arden’s nickname from high school. When it was time to evacuate Myron out of the combat zone, Arden helped put him on the stretcher. Soon after, he returned to his company, Delta, but because they were in the “bush on another search and destroy mission,” he ended up as a medic in another company, Bravo, where he met, Cecil Lumley, a radio operator for B Company. They became friends and he was able later to tell Arden’s family more about what happened the day Arden died.

Army Specialist Fourth Class Arden Keith Renville was killed on April 24, 1968. He died in “Vietnam from wounds received while on a combat operation when hit by fragments from hostile mine.” Lumley says that as the medic Arden was passing out salt tablets up the column of soldiers; he gave one to Cecil and then kept moving up the line. About three rows up, a “blast went off sending all the soldiers to the ground. The blast killed Arden instantly.” He went on to say that he helped place Arden’s body on the helicopter and how quiet and sad B Company was that day. Grady remembers when he found out. He had returned from Vietnam and was attending college at the time.

I remember calling from the dorm [at Bacon College, Muskogee, Oklahoma] and sitting down on the floor, prepared for the worst. Several days prior I had a dream where I seen a dead soldier’s face. I called home and a military officer answered the phone and gave the news that Arden had been killed.

Strangely enough, “Arden’s mother recalled the day that Arden died she came from work and the pup that disappeared when Arden left for Vietnam had suddenly reappeared.” Several weeks later Arden’s body was returned to Sisseton and buried with military honors at the Veteran’s Circle in the Sisseton Cemetery. The local American Legion post was renamed in his honor; it is now the Otto-Quande-Renville American Legion Post #50.

Among Arden’s awards were the Army Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Combat Medic Badge, which were awarded posthumously.

Survivors at the time of his death were his parents, Joseph and Naomi Renville of Sisseton; his three brothers, Grady, Robin, and Bruce; and his sister, Martha. In closing, Grady wrote, “Sometimes those of us who lost loved ones in Vietnam feel that no one else cares. I made a vow to my brother many years ago that I would never forget him. I have done my best to honor that vow.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jamela Hafner and Brittany Mohr, 8th Graders, Spearfish Middle School, February 9, 2006. The information for this entry was provided by Grady Renville, brother, in Sisseton, South Dakota, The Sisseton Courier, May 9, 1968 and August 10, 2004 issues. Profile approval by Grady Renville.


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