In Memory of
U.S. Army Sergeant Carpenter, South Dakota
Clark County, South Dakota

September 12, 1924 – May 5, 1953
Died of Injuries Received in Combat in Korea


Kenneth Eugene Madsen was born September 12, 1924, at Carpenter, South Dakota, to Sanford Wright and Susanna (Hoey) Madsen. He had one brother, Gordon, and a sister, Lorraine. He graduated from Donald High School in 1942. He served his country in WW II including service in Japan and the Philippines, where he was in almost all the battles of the Islands. His sister, Lorraine, remembers that Kenneth “loved the Army and was in the first wave of troops after the Atom Bomb was dropped in Japan,” and that “he was so good about writing to his family and friends.” He then returned home to Carpenter to continue farming. He became a member of the Carpenter American Legion Post No. 153, and had even served as the Commander of the post.

Madsen reenlisted to serve in the Korean War. He entered active service on February 21, 1951, in Sioux Falls. He was a member of Company K, 27th “Wolfhound” Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division and left almost immediately for Korea on April 8, 1951. Two years later, Madsen was promoted to Sergeant and wrote home telling his parents that “he had been on a 20-mile night hike, and the trip was cool and slippery underfoot.”

On May 5, 1953, after being wounded on the front lines and then evacuated, Sergeant Kenneth Eugene Madsen died of injuries received when a mine exploded several days earlier. First his parents received a telegram telling of his injuries and then soon after they received word of his death. He was 28 years old. His body was later returned to San Francisco and then put on a train to Watertown, South Dakota, where his parents met the train. For three days, his body was at the family farm in Union Township before being taken for his funeral and subsequent military burial at Union Cemetery, Union Township (4 miles west of Carpenter, 3 miles north on County Road #1). His parents were later buried beside him as is his brother, Gordon, a WW II veteran.

Sergeant Madsen was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Austin C. Kuenzel, 8th grade Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 24, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the SDNGM, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, and the Clark County Courier, 5/21/53 and 7/9/53 issues. Additional information and profile approval by Lorraine Marie (Madsen) Beutner, sister.