In Memory of
U.S. Army Private Elk Point, South Dakota
Union County

September 14, 1933 – February 24, 1955
Killed in an Explosion in Korea


Richard A. Cates was born September 14, 1933, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Ernest and Leota (Harmon) Cates. He had two brothers, Larry Lyle and David LeRoy. Richard attended Elk Point High School.

April 20, 1953, Richard Cates entered active service and was trained at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri with the engineer corps of the 6th Armored Division. Private Cates went overseas to Korea on October 31, 1953.

On February 24, 1955, Private Richard A. Cates was killed at Kohyon-ni, Korea, “as the result of a brain concussion suffered while he was engaged in road construction.” He was hit on the head with a board when a demolition charge exploded. According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, Private Cates and his comrades were under fire from the North Koreans at the time. This was well after the Armistice had been signed, ending the Korean War.

The body of Private Cates was returned to the United States, and he was buried with military honors at Memorial Park Cemetery in Sioux City, Iowa. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean Defense Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Justice Hansen and Mrs. Sheila Hansen, Spearfish School District, Spearfish, SD, July 22, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the American Battle Monuments Commission and the Leader Courier, March 3, 1955 issue. (P/S/F/A 7/22/04.)