In Memory of
U.S. Army Private Watertown, South Dakota
Codington County

September 5, 1928 – January 11, 1951
Killed in Action in South Korea

Roger Thomas Coyle was born in Lily, South Dakota, on September 5, 1928, to Ralph and Freda (Herr) Coyle. He had two brothers and two sisters. Roger graduated from Watertown High School and then enlisted in the service on July 16, 1946, and served until June of 1948 in Korea. In 1949, his family moved to Aberdeen after living in Watertown for most of their lives. As a member of the Reserves, before he was recalled to the service, Roger Coyle did construction work in and around Watertown.

Coyle entered the service again on October 2, 1950. He was sent overseas on November 14, 1950, as part of Company E, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division and landed in Korea on December 3. His last letter, which was found on him after he died, was to his brother, Bert, dated January 9, 1951:

…I’ll clue you it is rough over here. We’ve been sleeping in a foxhole and any place we can find, about 2 hrs. a night and moving all day, and I mean it’s colder than hell. My feet are froze and blistered so bad I can hardly walk except when we ran into a trap yesterday…I mean to tell you I’m scared. We haven’t got much of a chance if they hit us now; we lost just about all our ammunition and all but one mortar and a couple jeeps….

Two days later, Private Roger Thomas Coyle was killed in action in South Korea on January 11, 1951. His body was later returned to the United States and he was buried with full military honors at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Watertown. Private Coyle was awarded medals like the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Tessa Ann Keifert, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish South Dakota, May 14, 2004. Information for this entry came from the South Dakota National Guard Museum, an application for a veteran’s bonus, ABMC, newspaper clippings, and Bert Coyle, brother of Roger, Aberdeen. Profile approved by Bert Coyle.