In Memory of
U.S. Army Private First Class Edgemont, South Dakota
Fall River County

March 29, 1928 --November 19, 1951
Killed in Action in Korea


William “Billy” Gilman Karinen was born in Watertown, South Dakota, on March 29, 1928, to Mr. John William and Mrs. Gina Bertilda (Skaim) Karinen. William had four sisters: Beatrice, Oriet, Mavis, and Charlotte. William went to school in Watertown. In 1945, he and his parents moved to Custer, where William worked at the Red Owl Store. In his spare time, William was known to go rattlesnake hunting with a .22 pistol! He also loved rodeos and telling “Shaggy Dog” jokes. The next year, they moved again, this time to Hill City, where they managed the Snack Shop. Their next move was to Lead, where William worked at the Montgomery Ward Store. At the end of 1948, William moved to Osage, Wyoming, and he worked for the State Highway Department for awhile. Among other things, William is remembered for his artistic ability; he painted portraits and did pencil-sketched portraits as well.

William Gilman Karinen was drafted into the U.S Army and reported for active duty on December 12, 1950, at Camp Roberts in California. William Gilman Karinen was a part of the 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. After his basic training, William was home for the last time in September of 1951. Corporal Karinen then returned to duty. He left from San Francisco on October 1, 1951, and arrived in Japan on October 12. From there he was sent to fight near the front lines in Korea. His last letter home arrived around Armistice Day, now called Veteran’s Day, on November 11, 1951.

On November 19, 1951, Corporal William Gilman Karinen was killed in action when “his battalion was placed in a very strategic point which they endeavored to hold. It was while they were trying to hold that point on the hill, that Billy paid the supreme price.” Corporal Karinen was 23. His body was returned to the United States and arrived by train in Edgemont on February 16, 1952; he was buried with military honors in the Edgemont cemetery the next day. Corporal William Gilman Karinen was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal.

In the local paper, William was remembered as a “devoted son” and “a very dependable boy. His kindness and helpfulness as well as his loving ways will be greatly missed by his loved ones.” This entry was respectfully submitted by Chantelle Rae Janke, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota on July 19, 2004. The ABMC, the Edgemont Tribune, 12/ 12/ 1951, 2/13/52, and 2/ 20/52 issues provided information for this entry. Additional information and profile approval provided by Oriet Gasper, Spearfish, sister, to “Billy” Karinen.