In Memory of
U.S. Army Private First Class Mosher, South Dakota
Mellette County

June 24, 1931 – October 9, 1951
Killed in Action near Homang-ni, Korea

Walter Baptist LaPointe was born June 24, 1931, at Mosher, South Dakota, to Albert and Elizabeth (Ringing Shield) LaPointe. Walter was the youngest of eight children. His siblings were Kermit, Calvin, LaVern, Evangeline, Margaret, Marcella, and a sister who died in infancy. Walter attended Little Crow Day School in Mosher. For two years before he entered the service, Walter was employed by the Fullerton Lumber Company in Winner.

On January 1, 1951, Walter LaPointe enlisted in the Army at Winner. He was a member of Company F, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was sent overseas June of 1951. On October 9, 1951, while fighting the enemy near Homang-ni, Korea, Private First Class Walter Baptist LaPointe was killed in action. He was only 19 years old. In addition to other awards, by order of the President, Pfc. LaPointe was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for “gallantry in action.” His citation reads:

As Company F attacked Hill 347, Private LAPOINTE moved ahead of the company line, seeking out and firing on enemy emplacements. Ignoring the intense fire the foe was directing on the area, Private LAPOINTE displayed superb courage and determination by advancing whenever possible and setting up his weapon in unprotected but commanding positions. He bravely continued in this manner, providing much needed automatic weapons fire for his comrades, until mortally wounded. Private LAPOINTE’s gallantry reflects the highest credit on himself and the military service.

The body of Pfc. LaPointe was later returned to the United States and buried with military honors at the Advent Cemetery in Mosher. At that time, his mother, Elizabeth, started a tradition of serving lunch every Memorial Day to the members of the Wood Legion Post. The luncheon is held in Mosher at the former community building located in close proximity to the Advent Cemetery. The LaPointe family does this as a way to thank the Legion members and families for honoring the fallen soldiers’ memories. Because of this long-standing tradition, many Legion members are friends with the LaPointe family. As the family stated, “In this manner, we will forever preserve his memory.” Now, in addition to Walter’s memory, the tradition also honors the memory of his mother, Elizabeth, and the other LaPointe siblings who have passed away.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen, teacher, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, August 9, 2004. Information for this entry was generously provided by Margaret Geboe, surviving sister of Walter, via Sheila White Horse, niece of Walter (daughter of Marcella Miller, another of Walter’s sisters). Profile approved by Sheila White Horse.