In Memory of
U.S. Army Corporal Wakpala, South Dakota
Corson County

March 24, 1922 -July 23, 1950
Killed in Action, Yongdong, Korea


Wilmer on the left; Wilmer's widow and General Paige on the right

Wilmer George Fleury was born in Pierre, South Dakota, on May 9th, 1927, to George and Bessie (St. Pierre) Fleury. He lived on a farm near Wakpala, South Dakota. Wilmer married Rita Gabe on March 26, 1946. They had a son, Wilmer Ambrose Fleury, born January 3, 1947 in Fort Thompson, South Dakota. Wilmer worked in Wing, North Dakota, at A&K Implement Company from July 1947 to March 1948.

On March 22, 1948, Wilmer G. Fleury entered the army in Bismarck, North Dakota. After training, he was sent to Korea, and attached to Company A, 71st Heavy Tank

Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. The 1st Cavalry was responsible for stopping the enemy along the Taejon-Taego corridor near Yongdong. On July 23, 1950, they were hit by heavy artillery and mortar fire. It was during this attack that Corporal Wilmer George Fleury was killed. He was the first Native American to die in Korea.

Cpl. Wilmer G. Fleury received the Korean War Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Purple Heart. In a letter to Rita and Terry Fleury on July 20, 2000, the then Governor of South Dakota, William J. Janklow, wrote:

You have lived the last fifty years absent a husband and father because Corporal Wilmer G. Fleury believed in duty. Because he honored his oath to defend his country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, he lost his life thousands of miles from home. After half a century, it is inspiring that his memory remains so strong in the hearts of his family and friends that he is being honored for his ultimate sacrifice.

Taylor Cowan, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, May 13, 2004, respectfully submitted this entry. Information was gathered from the application for a veteran’s bonus, SD National Guard Museum, and from Herman Kraft, Timber Lake, South Dakota. (P/S/F/A 5/13/04.)