In Memory of
U.S. Army First Lieutenant Springfield, South Dakota
Bon Homme County

August 10, 1927 – September 19, 1951
Killed in action in North Korea

Peter Howland Monfore was born in Yankton, South Dakota, to Howland Swift and Gertrude Margaret (Kositzky) Monfore. Pete had three brothers, Robert, James, and Thomas, and one sister, Diana. Pete won academic honors and excelled in football and boxing while attending Washington High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Upon graduation, he entered U.S. Navy Officers’ training, and continued boxing at intercollegiate level. In 1946, Pete received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he became captain of the boxing team, eventually achieving the title of Eastern Intercollegiate light heavyweight champion in 1949 and 1950.

Peter Howland Monfore graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1950, and in August that same year was sent to Korea, and assigned platoon leader of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, which had been engaged in heavy fighting while breaking out of the Pusan perimenter. He was seriously wounded in this action, and was evacuated to Japan. After treatment and recovery, 1Lt. Monfore returned to combat duty on 7 October 1950, and fought with his division all the way through North Korea to the Yalu River. When Chinese forces swarmed across the river, his heavy weapons company provided rear guard security for the 23rd Infantry Regiment, inflicting heavy casualties upon the attacking Chinese.

In August 1951, 1Lt. Monfore turned down an opportunity to be Aide-de-Camp to General Ridgeway. Instead, he chose to command an infantry company. He was made commander of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment. 1Lt. Monfore fought in more intense combat, and received the French Croix de Guerre award for rescuing the encircled French Battalion. On 19 September 1951, his company was ordered to lead a night assault on Hill 851 during the battle of Heartbreak Ridge in North Korea. His company was successful in capturing Hill 851. Immediately, 1Lt. Monfore set about retrieving weapons and ammunition from dead enemy soldiers, showing his men how to use them as they established defensive positions.

1Lt. Peter Howland Monfore was killed in action while defending his position on Hill 851 on 19 September 1951. In a letter dated 21 October 1951, Colonel J. Adams, Commanding Officer of the 23rd Infantry, wrote these words to Peter’s father:

…Your boy was certainly as fine a soldier as West Point has produced. He lived up to every part of Duty, Honor, and Country. Among all the fine men we lost in this grinding battle, it is hard to say who could be the hardest to lose, but Pete had every attribute of greatness, and was potentially one of the Army’s bright young stars. For several hours we couldn’t believe he was really gone, and kept praying for his return. However, it was in vain; he was killed, and his body recovered from the top of Heartbreak, at the northern limit of our advance.

…Mr. Monfore, as a soldier, there is little in war to recommend itself to me. The only recompense is the sense of duty performed for our country, and the great comradeship and respect engendered for our fighting brothers. Your son, Sir, exemplified every fine attribute of a great soldier and a real man….

For his leadership, 1Lt. Monfore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. 1Lt. Peter Monfore is buried in Springfield, South Dakota. 1Lt. Monfore truly was a great U. S. Army leader.

Tyler John Reiman, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, May 5, 2004, respectfully submitted this entry. Information for this entry was provided by the 11 October 1951 Springfield Times, and retired Colonel Robert P. Monfore, brother to 1Lt. Monfore, who served three tours of duty in Korea. Additional information and a second photo provided by Diana Monfore Neil, sister, Yankton. Approval of profile by both Robert Monfore and Diana Neil.