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



In Memory of U.S Army Private First Class 

Gary Lee Sundet

Lake Preston, South Dakota, Kingsbury County

 July 5, 1944-July 12, 1966

Killed in Action near Cu Chi, Vietnam


Gary Lee Sundet was born in DeSmet, South Dakota, on July 5, 1944, to Ernest and Bertha Sundet. Gary had two brothers, Ernie and David, and two sisters, Peggy and April. He lived with his family in Lake Preston, South Dakota, and attended Lake Preston grade school and graduated at Lake Preston High School in May of 1965. He was interested in the arts and his goal was to go on to school to learn interior decoration and upholstery when he returned from the military. It was said of him that although “things never came easy for Gary, he had perseverance and applied himself completely to any task assigned him.” Gary even saved enough money doing various jobs around Lake Preston to take the family to the Black Hills, something they had long wanted to do. He is remembered for “his smiling face, friendly spirit and willingness to pitch in and help.” He wanted to be a chaplain’s assistant.

Gary Sundet entered the service in September of 1965 in Sioux Falls and was trained at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri and had additional training at Ft.Gordon in Georgia for Special Forces. Before being deployed, PFC Sundet came home on leave at the end of May of 1966. PFC Sundet then went overseas on June 10, 1966 from Oakland, California, to Vietnam. He was in the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Infantry. The following is taken from a last letter from Gary; it arrived two days after the family was notified of Gary’s death.

This is my prayer Mother: Dear Lord my God, you have helped me in so many ways. I shall now do my very best to serve You. My knowledge is imperfect, but through faith and love I will grow to help the people of all nations. I glorify my Lord and I shall help Him live in me and I in Him. Mother, I am including in my letter these things I feel and how my Lord can help all of us. To explain everything is impossible but at least you can understand how our Lord can bring a family closer and He knows how He can strengthen our faith. God bless all of you. Love, Gary.

PFC Gary Lee Sundet was killed in action near the town of Cu Chi, Vietnam on July 12, 1966, “as a result of wounds received when hit by fragments from a hostile claymore mine while on combat operation.” The following is a letter sent to Gary’s family from the Commanding Officer of the 14th Infantry:

On the morning of 12 of July 1966, your son was serving with the Security and Assault Platoon on an outpost near the town of Cu Chi, Republic of Vietnam, when he was fatally wounded by fragments from an enemy land mine that exploded near his position. It may be of some comfort to known that death came quickly and he was not subject to any unnecessary suffering.

After the body of PFC Gary Sundet was returned to the United States, he was buried with military honors at the De Smet cemetery.

Current survivors are Ernie Sundet (brother) of Park, Rapids, Minnesota; April Rauscher (sister) of Pierre, South Dakota; and Peggy Sundet (sister) of Watertown, South Dakota.

In closing comments Gary’s mother once made a statement, “Gary had strong feelings about freedom and knew it was something worth fighting for. For or he never would have enlisted.” Gary Lee Sundet was killed just a week after his 22nd birthday.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Emillio Alcaraz, 8th grade student, Spearfish Middle School, South Dakota, October 6, 2005. Information for this entry was provided by Ernie and Cheryl Sundet, Park Rapids, Minnesota, and April Rauscher, Pierre, South Dakota. Profile approved by April Rauscher on 10/18/05.


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