In Memory of
U.S. Army Corporal Beresford, South Dakota
Lincoln County

August 18, 1931 – November 28, 1950 (MIA)
                                December 31, 1953 (FOD)
Missing in Action, Presumed Dead in Korea

Richard “Dick” Frederick Clay was born August 18, 1931, in Pleasant Township, Beresford, Lincoln County of South Dakota, to Cecil and Hazel M. (Eager) Clay. He had two brothers, George Forest, and Cecil “Bud” E., and one sister, Helen “Sis.” Richard first went to North Star Grade School, Beresford, and then attended Beresford High School. Before he entered the service, Richard farmed with his father. His sister, Helen, remembers Richard’s “big dimples, beautiful blue eyes that always had a twinkle in them, his coal black hair, a grin that would melt any heart, and a really big love for life.” Richard always wanted to be where the action was.

On August 3, 1948, Richard enlisted and entered active service at Sioux Falls. Since he was underage at the time, later the Red Cross contacted his mother and told her she could have him returned home. She decided against it. He went overseas on July 7, 1950, as part of the Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. His brother, George, was in the Navy during the war and was the last family member to see Richard. George commented to the family that “he had really grown and was about 6 foot tall.” Corporal Clay was first wounded in battle in Korea on September 9, 1950, but returned to active duty on October 5, 1950.

Not long afterwards, on November 28, 1950, Corporal Richard F. Clay was reported missing in action in North Korea. No further word was received about his fate, and on December 31, 1953, Richard Clay was declared presumed dead. His name is listed on the Memorial at Punchbowl in Hawaii.

Richard Clay was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, 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.

His sister said in closing that Richard “loved his family and could not wait to get home and away from what he referred to as the ‘hell hole.’”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Slade Marlin Hansen, 6th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, July 22, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, the ABMC, the SD National Guard Museum, and the Beresford Republic, 1/11/51 issue. Additional information and profile approval by Helen C. Kennedy, sister.