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

 

 



In Memory of U.S. Army Specialist Fifth Class

Dennis Richard Volk

Aberdeen, South Dakota, Brown County

March 25, 1947 – June 5, 1968

Died of Wounds in Lai Khe, Binh Duong, Vietnam

Dennis Richard “Denny” Volk was born March 25, 1947, in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to John and Vivian Volk. He had one sister, Kathy. He graduated from Central High School in 1965. According to his sister, “He’d let me tag along when he would go to someone’s house, so I was pretty much ‘one of the boys’.” He enjoyed going to baseball games. “He would go to a lot of Pheasant baseball games with a few dollars in his pocket in case he wanted something to drink or eat, but he always came home with the money in his pocket. I never felt he was cheap for not spending his money, he just wasn’t wasting it unnecessarily for stuff he didn’t want or need.” He started training at the Sacred Heart Brothers Novitiate before he entered the service.

Dennis Richard Volk entered the service in April of 1966. He completed basic and advanced training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, and was stationed in Germany for 18 months prior to going to Vietnam. He was a Company Clerk in Company B, 34th Armor, 1st Infantry Division. “His job was pretty much like Radar on MASH.” Kathy remembers getting a letter from Dennis and told us about it: “He liked it better in Nam because their was no harassment there compared to the daily harassment the guys got in Germany. However, he said their barber and housekeeper were friends by day and Viet Cong by night.”

After serving two years in the service, on June 5, 1968, Specialist Fifth Class Dennis Richard Volk was hit by shrapnel in a lunch line and died in a hospital the same day. Kathy recalls how the family found out that Denny had been killed: “Mom and I were in the kitchen that June morning when we looked out the window and saw our priest and a soldier at the door.” She continued, “Mom was so excited to see the soldier who was probably a friend of Denny’s coming to meet us. I’ll never forget the blood-curdling scream I heard next.” According to later reports, Denny had been in the lunch line already but decided to wash his hands before he got his food. “Finding that out bothered our mom for the rest of her life because she felt it was her fault for teaching Denny to always wash his hands before he ate.” Dennis’s body was flown to Bismarck, North Dakota, because Aberdeen’s airport wasn’t big enough (or so the family was told), so his father and the mortician, a family friend, drove up to get him. Even though Denny’s mom at first did not want to believe it was Denny, the mortician said it was and later when the family viewed his body in the glass-topped casket, they knew it was him but weren’t able to touch him which was the hardest part. He was buried at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Aberdeen with military honors.

Specialist Fifth Class Volk received the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service, and Vietnamese Medals. He also received the Vietnamese Campaign Ribbon, Expert Badge with Rifle Bar.

Dennis is currently survived only by his sister, Kathy, and her family who live in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In closing, she told us, “When he was home on leave before going to Vietnam, his best friend’s girlfriend introduced him to a very nice girl. They talked a lot about their future, but that never happened. She kept in contact with us for a while after Denny’s death. We often wonder what might have been…”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jordan Louks, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on February 8, 2006. Information for this entry was provided by Kathy Job, Aberdeen, sister of Dennis; the Aberdeen American News June 6, 1968 edition. Profile approval by Kathy Job.

 


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