In Memory of
U.S. Army Private First Class Lebanon, South Dakota
Potter County

October 28, 1927 -- September 4, 1951
Killed in Action in Korea


James Wesley Potts, Jr. was born October 28, 1927, in Lebanon, South Dakota. James was born to James Wesley, Sr. and Dora F. (Smith) Potts. James had one brother, Billy, and one sister, Shirley. James went to rural schools and then Gettysburg High School in Gettysburg, SD. James was a farmer and a carpenter; he married Helen Meis on December 26, 1950, at Gettysburg. The couple had a son, Gary, whom James never saw.

James was drafted and entered active service on January 5, 1951, at Sioux Falls. James had his basic training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, and then went home on leave before being sent overseas in May of 1951, as part of the 9th Infantry, 2nd Division. He arrived in Korea on June 5.

Private First Class James W. Potts was killed while fighting the enemy in the Battle of Yanggu in Korea on September 4, 1951. Potts was in the “ ‘Iron Triangle’ in east central Korea, where the heavy fighting had been going on.” He had been on the front lines since August 3. His body was later returned to the United States, arriving aboard the General Allegheney at San Francisco, and brought to South Dakota by train and military escort.

Pfc. James Potts, Jr. was buried with military honors in December of 1951, at the Gettysburg Cemetery. Private First Class Potts was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, and the United Nation’s Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Kellen Thomas, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, SD, May 21, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and obituaries supplied by Kathleen Nagel, Dakota Sunset Museum, Gettysburg. Profile approval by Billy Potts, brother.