In Memory of
U.S. Army Corporal Dell Rapids, South Dakota
Minnehaha County

September 28, 1927 - February 20, 1952
Killed in Action while fighting the enemy in North Korea


Reuben Cyrus Erickson was born in Eckman, North Dakota on September 28, 1927, to Ole A. and Annetta Marie (Otterness) Erickson. He was the second oldest of four children. Reuben had two brothers: Milton and Eugene, and one sister, DeLoris. After the death of his father in 1935, the family moved to Dell Rapids, South Dakota to live with their maternal grandfather. Reuben went by his middle name, Cyrus, as a child. Reuben attended elementary school in Dell Rapids. Rueben had dyslexia, and left school when he was in the eighth grade. After leaving school, he started working on the R.E.A. (Rural Electric Association), constructing power lines. He enjoyed working with cars and was especially proud of his 1934 Ford.

Reuben Cyrus Erickson was inducted into the United States Army on October 26, 1950. He was a member of Company F, 279th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. After training in Louisiana, he was sent overseas to Japan in March 1951. While there, he wrote to his brother Eugene, telling him he was going to buy jackets from the Japanese to send home. Eugene was to sell each jacket for at least $14.00, send Cyrus $10.00, and keep the rest. At Christmas time that same year, Corporal Erickson was sent to Korea.

On February 20, 1952, Cpl. Erickson was operating a Browning automatic rifle against the Chinese Communists who were dug into a hillside on a mountain called Old Baldy. Joe Diffendale was with him when he was hit. Mr. Diffendale writes:

The night I was wounded, Rueben was alongside me. He was hurt by the same 60 mm mortar shell that caught me. Four of us were hurt. I went over to Reuben, about 8 ft. from me. He was very still. I called Medic, and passed out… …He (Reuben) was the cleanest, nicest, honest and up right young man I ever have known and will ever know. Reuben read his Bible every chance he could. All our buddies in the 2nd squad and the platoon liked and respected him.

Reuben’s sister, DeLoris, tells us that Cpl. Erickson’s buddies who fought alongside him said he fought courageously.

Corporal Reuben Cyrus Erickson was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal with one bronze star, the Occupation Medal (Japan), the Good Conduct Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal for his actions in the Korean War.

Cpl. Erickson was buried with military honors in the Dell Rapids cemetery. At the time of this writing, all of his siblings were living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His family describes him as a good storyteller, who was a kind and compassionate man.

Reuben’s friend, Marlin Arneson, was also in the army with Reuben. In a letter to Cpl. Erickson’s family, he wrote:

…Cy and I attended (church) services together often when it was convenient for us to meet each other. I’m sure he believed in Jesus, and has found the way to Salvation….



Jason Davis Cornelison, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, April 21, 2004 respectfully submitted this entry. Cpl. Erickson’s sister, DeLoris Erickson, and brother, Gene Erickson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, provided information for this entry. Profile approval by DeLoris Erickson, sister.