In Memory of
U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist's Mate Second Class Oacoma, South Dakota
Lyman County

May 15, 1932 – December 30, 1953
Died in a Car Accident near Kennebec


Robert Burdell Ransford was born May 15, 1932, to Otto and Mildred Ransford at Sibley, Iowa. The family at some point moved to Oacoma in Lyman County of South Dakota. It is thought that Robert went to school in Kennebec.

Ransford enlisted in the Navy on October 17, 1950, in Omaha, Nebraska. From November 15, 1951 until August 5, 1952, Navy AD/2 Ransford served outside the continental United States. He returned to the United States until February 25, 1953, when he once again left the continental U.S. until November 27, 1953. After coming ashore the final time, Ransford returned home to South Dakota for a leave. His mother, Mildred, had married Woodrow Peterson and was living at Artesian in Sanborn County. Ransford spent time with his mother in Kennebec and was to return to duty on January 1, 1954.

On December 30, 1953, Aviation Machinist’s Mate Robert Ransford and four passengers were following another car; both cars were on their way to a Kennebec High School reunion dance after attending the annual banquet. On Highway 16, about 4 miles east of Kennebec, the car of AD/2 Ransford struck the back of the other car. Both cars went into the ditch, burst into flame, and were completely destroyed by fire. Ransford was trapped in the burning wreckage. All of the other occupants of both cars were thrown from the cars or rescued. Two others, one from Ransford’s car, and one from the other car, were killed in the accident. They were Mrs. Leslie (Irene) Mellegard, cousin of Woodrow Peterson, the husband to Ransford’s mother, and Ellen Mohmen, a young nurse.

This entry is respectfully submitted by Hillary Stevens, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish South Dakota, August 1, 2004. Information for this entry was obtained from the Advocate – Leader, January 7, 1954, Artesian Commonwealth, January 7, 1954, and an application for a South Dakota veteran’s bonus. No family contact made.