In Memory of
U.S. Army Sergeant Leola, South Dakota
McPherson County

September 23, 1927-- December 3, 1950 (MIA)
                                         December 31, 1953 (FOD)
Missing in Action, Presumed Dead, in North Korea


Raymond Phillip Schaffer was born on September 23, 1927, to Phillip Schaffer and Mathilda (Merkel) Schaffer. He had a brother and two sisters. Raymond’s mother died in 1935, and his family then grew to include four half-sisters and four half-brothers. Raymond graduated from Leola High School in 1946. Right after graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served over two years in Japan with the Occupation forces as a medical aid man. After being put on inactive status on May 6, 1948, Raymond attended the University of South Dakota and worked on the construction of the Fort Randall Dam project at Pickstown.

Raymond Phillip Schaffer was recalled to active duty in the United States Army on September 29, 1950, at Fort Lewis, Washington. He became a member of Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. He was trained only briefly as an infantryman before being sent overseas again to Japan about October 10, 1950.

On December 3, 1950, Sergeant Raymond Phillip Schaffer became missing in action, while fighting the enemy near Huksu-Ri, North Korea. There was no further word as to his fate, and on December 31, 1953, Sergeant Raymond Schaffer was presumed dead. His body has never been recovered, but there is a memorial stone for him at the Green Mound Cemetery in Leola and his name is on the memorial at the Punch Bowl, Hawaii.

In January of 1990, a family member located Captain Ed Bruger, Commander of “G” Company. In Captain Bruger’s words:

25 Jan 1990

Dear Mr. Schaffer.
A few days ago I received a letter that you sent to a Mr. Cook. Yes, your brother Raymond was in my company (I was the Captain) on the very bad day and night of 2-3 Dec. 1950. Enclosed you will find a roster of my company that I have kept all these years. You will see I put a PW along side of the names (8) that I found were captured when I read the newspaper at the end of the war when they were released.

I don’t remember the platoon Raymond was assigned to but I honestly can tell you and sorrowfully, that he was undoubtedly killed at Hucksu-ri, n.k. on 2-3 Dec. 1950. Since many others were killed and the Chinese over-ran the positions, dog tags were never recovered to my belief.

Here’s what happened. Company G was told to stay on this hill. We did and the Chinese attacked us all that night and early the next day. At daylight I went to check our positions and immediately came under fire from the Chinese in what was our shallow fox-holes. When I started back I was hit by a couple of machine gun bullets from a Chinese a few feet from me. I got hit in the thigh and while it knocked me down I got up and managed to get back to my command Post. Some men managed to get back and I told the First Platoon Leader, Lt. Worth, to send these men down to me at the foot of the hill where we could then go as a group, maybe ten men, back in the direction of the Battalion. I took my 1st Sgt and a radio operator with me.

That would have worked fine except the three of us came under heavy small arms fire from the Chinese and we were forced to a different route. We got completely cut off from anything and went our separate way for a couple of days avoiding Chinese patrols on several close calls. Two medical men joined us but they were killed when we were fired on. My 1st Sgt went snow blind and had frozen feet, one later cut off in the hospital, and the radio operator became mentally dis-arranged. With luck we did make it back to a South Korean unit who took us back to our unit not too far from them. I was sent back to Japan and the States and was in the hospital for 4 months. I received my own notice in the hospital that I had been killed in action. It was meant to go to my wife but was mis-directed, thank God.

That’s what happened Mr. Schaffer. Your brother was a good soldier along with many others who did what they were asked to do under very bad conditions. I wish I could tell you more but I really hope this will somehow shed some comfort to you knowing exactly what and where and when things happened.

Sincerely,
Col. (ret.) Ed Bruger

Sergeant Schaffer received the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Army of Occupation Medal, WW2 Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the ROK War Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Michaela K. Fuerstenau, 8th Grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, July 29, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the family, American Battle Monuments Commission, the South Dakota National Guard Museum, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, and the McPherson County Herald, 2/11/54 issue. Additional information and approval provided by the Schaffer family, via Ron Schaffer, brother.