In Memory of
U.S. Army Private First Class New Holland, South Dakota
Douglas County

November 30, 1928 – March 8, 1951
Killed in Action in Korea



John Peter Lieuwen was born in New Holland, South Dakota, on November 30, 1928, to Peter Lieuwen and Nellie (Gerritsen) Lieuwen. John had two brothers, Cornelius and William, and one sister, Margie. John grew up in New Holland, and he attended the New Holland Christian School and graduated in 1942. After graduating from the Christian school, he worked with his father in their garage business, doing auto mechanic work. He received all the training he needed from his father. Fixing cars was one of John’s interests. The people who knew John describe him as funny, very likeable, and helpful. John married Charlotte Teeselink on December 30, 1948, in Corsica, South Dakota. He had one child, whom he never saw, named Judith Kay. She was only three months old at the time of his death.

John Peter Lieuwen entered the U.S. Army on September 11, 1948. After being honorably discharged for only nine months, he re-entered the service on October 2, 1950. He trained in Fort Lewis, Washington before being sent to Korea. He arrived in Korea on Christmas Day in 1950. Pfc. Lieuwen was stationed in Seoul, South Korea, as part of the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division after he arrived. While in Korea, he wrote many letters to his family at home. One of these describes the situation in Korea.

This past week has been really hard. The first two days we didn’t have a bite to eat, and climbing those snow-covered hills loaded with ammunition is no easy job even on a full stomach. We can’t carry our sleeping bags because they’re too much extra weight to lug up and down mountains. So we sleep on the ground when we can sleep. The last two nights we were expecting attack, so everyone was on guard. You wouldn’t think you could go two nights without sleep, but when it gets dead still, you hear something that makes your hair stand on end and you aren’t sleepy anymore…

Pfc. Lieuwen was killed on March 8, 1951, while fighting the enemy, after he had been on the front lines for two months. In his last letter home, he said that he had been near the Han River area, and friends who had been fighting with him say that they had been attacking east of Seoul, South Korea. His friends claim that there was a lot of resistance from the enemy, but they did not give up. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon and his company had almost accomplished their mission when the Chinese launched an attack on the company. When the attack began, Pfc. Lieuwen was in the front of his company with his radio. The company was ordered to move back, but as soon as they tried to retreat, the battle broke loose. Artillery rounds where landed very close to Pfc. Lieuwen. He was hit in the back by a .30 caliber round which went through his radio and hit him in the spinal column. He died instantly.

Pfc. Lieuwen’s body arrived in the United States on October 6, 1951, and the memorial service was held three days later on October 9, 1951. Pfc. Lieuwen is now buried in the New Holland cemetery. Pfc. Lieuwen was awarded with the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal Pfc. Lieuwen left the following people behind: his parents, Nellie and Peter; his wife Charlotte; his daughter, Judy; and his siblings, Cornelius, William and Margie. Margie is now deceased.

While on the battlefield, Pfc. Lieuwen expressed his love and faith in his Saviour in a beautiful comforting testimony. Pfc. Lieuwen’s mother also wrote to a paper after Pfc. Lieuwen died and said, “I am glad that Johnny is face to face with Christ instead of the enemy.”

    


This entry was respectfully submitted by April G. Goodson, 8th Grade East, Spearfish Middle School, May 12, 2004. Information for this entry was submitted by Charlotte Uilenberg, widow, Judy Veurink, daughter, the American Battle Monuments Commission, South Dakota National Guard Museum, and an application for a South Dakota veteran’s bonus. Profile approval by Charlotte Uilenberg, widow.