In Memory of
U.S. Marine Corps Private First Class Leola, South Dakota
McPherson County

October 13, 1929 – August 13, 1952
Killed in Action in Korea


Warren Eugene Christian was born October 13, 1929, to Roland W. and Lola E. (Bell) Christian in Leola, South Dakota, and attended Leola High School. He had a sister, Lila. Before he entered the service, Warren farmed with his father near Leola.

On October 24, 1951, Warren entered active service at Omaha, Nebraska. He had his basic training at San Diego, California, and further training as a B.A.R rifleman at Camp Joseph Pendleton in Oceanside, California; he was assigned to Company F, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, 2nd Battalion. Pfc. Christian was sent overseas on April 13, 1952. He “served in continuous combat duty after his arrival in Korea,” according to a newspaper.

Marine Pfc. Warren Christian was killed in action August 13, 1952, in Chindong-Myon, Korea, as a result of “missile wound sustained while engaged in combat.” The Commandant of the Marine Corps wrote a letter to his parents, which stated in part: “It is a source of profound regret to me and to his comrades in the Marine Corps that your son lost his life in action against the enemy and I wish to express my deepest sympathy to you and members of your family in your great loss.”

The body of Warren Christian was returned to the United States and he was reburied with military honors at Green Mound Cemetery in Leola on October 6, 1952. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal.

Col. (Ret.) George M. Van Sant, who temporarily commanded Pfc. Christian’s platoon, remembered Warren this way: “He was tall, spare, light complected [sic], and clearly a man with strong rural roots. He was absolutely a disciplined Marine.” He also recalled writing to Warren’s mother, and that “her response was beautiful.” He ended by saying, “I have never forgotten Warren Christian. He was a young man whom any parents would have been proud to have produced. He was a good Marine.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jean M. Kingsley and Amy Christian, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 21, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the SD National Guard Museum, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, and McPherson County Herald, issues 8/28/52 and 10/16/52. Profile approved by Lila Smalley, sister.