William Dean “Bill” Sturdevant was born August 16, 1949,
in Brookings, South Dakota to Clarence and Verna Sturdevant.
He had three brothers: his twin, Robert, and his two younger
brothers, Raymond and Mark. He also had one sister, Diane.
William lived in Brookings and received a high school
diploma from Brookings High School in 1967. While in high
school, William enjoyed cross country and wrestling. He
volunteered for the Army on August 17, 1967, and entered the
service September 20, 1967.
After entering the Army, William was trained at Fort
Lewis in Washington for his basic training. He had some
Paratrooper training at Fort Benning in Georgia. He was a
member of Company. C, 1st Battalion (Airborne) 327th
Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Corporal
Sturdevant was sent to Vietnam August 19, 1968. Corporal
Sturdevant wrote that after being in combat for awhile, he
said the Morning Offering everyday.
Corporal William Dean Sturdevant and was killed in action
on November 2, 1968. He was hit “by fragments of an enemy
land mine on a search and destroy mission near Hue, Republic
of Vietnam.” In the same letter to William’s family members
after his death, Captain Thomas J. Kinane said, It may
afford you some degree of comfort to know that death came
quickly to William and he was not subjected to any undue
suffering.” The letter contained even more information:
…William drove himself in combat, so
enthusiastically closing with the
enemy, so as to be unequaled by other members of this
unit. He performed all his assigned duties in a truly
professional manner. No mission or sacrifice was too
great for this soldier, not even the ultimate sacrifice
of his life…
Corporal Sturdevant was awarded the Bronze Star, the
Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Military Merit Medal, and the
Vietnamese Gallantry Cross posthumously. Prior to his death,
William had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal,
Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Parachutists
Badge, and the Sharpshooter Badge with rifle bar.
This is a letter from the President of the United States
concerning Corporal Sturdevant’s death:
William was buried at Calvary Cemetery with full military
honors by the National Guard and ROTC members. His parents
received Williams’ personal effects that included:
Zippo lighter, a watch (broken), an
ink pen, a bundle of photos, a letter, a postcard, a
notebook, an address book, pay vouchers, a dictionary, a
pair of jump boots, a writing kit, a sewing kit, two
jump backgrounds, and a pair of low shoes.
He is survived by his mother, Verna, and his brothers,
Mark, Raymond, and Robert Sturdevant, and his sister, Diane
This entry was respectfully submitted by Mallory Young,
8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota,
October 11, 2005. Information for this entry was provided by
the Sturdevant family via Mark Sturdevant. Profile approval
by Mark Sturdevant.