In Memory of
U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Parker, South Dakota
Turner County

January 19, 1931–January 13, 1955
Killed in a T-33 Jet Plane Crash in Texas, United States


Fred Loren Petersen was born in Hurley, South Dakota, on January 19, 1931, to Fred and Gladys Caroline (Nowstrup) Petersen. Fred had four brothers: Lorimer, Frisco, Gilbert, and Paul, plus a brother, Lawrence, who died in infancy. He also had two sisters: Minerva (Morris) and Gladys (Ayres). Fred was raised and educated in Turner County, graduating from Parker High School in 1949. While in high school, Fred participated in sports and Future Farmers of America and was Salutatorian of his class. Fred then graduated from South Dakota State College in Brookings in 1953 with a degree in agriculture education.

Fred Loren Petersen enlisted in the Army Air Corps on January 18, 1954. He earned his wings and commission as a second lieutenant at Spence Air Base in Moultrie, Georgia. He was later stationed at Webb Air Force Jet Base in Big Springs, Texas, where he was in the 3560th Student Squadron, learning to fly jet planes.

On January 13, 1955, Second Lieutenant Fred Petersen was killed while on a routine training flight, when his T-33 Jet Plane crashed about fifteen miles northwest of Sterling City, Texas. Since both his parents were deceased, the telegram informing his family of his death was sent to his sister, Minerva, from the base commander at Big Springs. Fred was just 24 years old.

Lt. Fred Petersen’s body was returned to South Dakota with a military escort and he was buried with military honors beside his parents at the Turkey Ridge (Spring Vally) Baptist Cemetery west of Hurley. He is currently survived by his sister, Minerva Morris, and his brother, Paul.

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 American Battle Monuments Commission, the South Dakota National Guard Museum, the New Era, issues 1/20/55 and 1/27/55, and the Petersen family, via Mrs. Minerva Morris. Profile approved by Minerva Morris.