In Memory of
U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Custer, South Dakota
Custer County

May 26, 1931 - August 17, 1950
Killed in Action in Pusan, Korea


Laurence Edward “Eddie” Masters was born in Custer, South Dakota on May 26, 1931, to Martha and Laurence “Bud” Masters. He had two sisters, Dana and Martha. Edward attended both elementary and high school in Custer, South Dakota. He enjoyed participating in rodeos; he rode Brahma bulls and bareback broncos. Edward worked on combine crews, as a truck driver, and as a logger. On March 4, 1950, Masters married Lorrene Welsh, at Las Vegas, Nevada. Eddie’s family remembers him as being adventuresome and always lived life “head on.” His sisters say he was an awesome big brother.

Edward Masters volunteered for the Marine Corps and entered active service on February 2, 1949. He was trained at Camp Pendleton, California as a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Before being sent to Korea, Private Masters was officially cited by the Navy in November of 1949 when he risked his life to save a Navy lieutenant on a submarine who was swept overboard during maneuvers near Hawaii. Masters shipped out for duty in Korea on July 14, 1950, and after arrival on August 3 was promoted to Corporal and then to Sergeant in the First Provisional Marine Brigade, which “went into action shortly after the outbreak of war.” In his last letter home, dated August 17, the day of his death, Eddie wrote that his unit had been in action for six days without rest.

In Pusan, Korea, on August 17, 1950, Sgt. Masters’ platoon leader was injured. Sgt. Edward Masters volunteered to lead his fellow men to “take the hill.” He did succeed, but many people were injured or killed, including Sgt. Masters. His body was returned to the United States and he was later buried with military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. He earned the Navy Presidential Unit Citation, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Purple Heart.

Sgt. Masters is currently survived by his two sisters, Martha Colyer and Dana DeBerard, of Custer.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Allyx E. Mattern, 8th Grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 21, 2004. Information and approval for this entry was provided by Dana DeBerard, Custer, South Dakota, sister of Sgt. Edward Masters.