In Memory of
U.S. Army Sergeant Aberdeen, South Dakota
Brown County

July 28, 1925 - October 20, 1950
Missing in Action, Presumed Dead in South Korea

Frank Wallace Torigian was born in Rockham, South Dakota, on July 28, 1925, to Arshog and Julia (Ostraski) Torigian. He was the born in a family of nine children; Frank had four brothers and four sisters, one of whom died in infancy. He attended schools in Aberdeen, including Sacred Heart and Central High School. Along with three brothers, Frank Wallace Torigian served his country in WW II. Frank’s oldest brother was granted a hardship exemption in order to help run the family business during the war. Enlisting on November 18, 1943, Torigian served in the Pacific Theater. While a member of the 24th Infantry Division, Torigian, although in a non-combat role as a wireman, “helped wipe out a Jap ambush” in Mindanao in the Philippines.” He and several others saw enemy forces putting down mines on roads where American convoys traveled. They shot and “killed four Japs and drove the others off into the jungle.” After the war, Frank returned to Aberdeen where he worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Aberdeen.

Torigian reenlisted in the Army on the 16th of November in 1948 as a member of Company M, 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, the same division he was in during WW II. He went overseas on June 25, 1950, and according to family “was in the occupation forces in Japan which were the initial US Army forces sent into Korea when North Korean forces invaded South Korea.”

Sergeant Torigian was declared missing in action, south of Taejon, Korea, on July 20, 1950, less than a month after he shipped out for overseas duty. According to his family, Sergeant Torigian’s remains have never been recovered even with lots of investigation from the Army over the years. Not too long ago, DNA was given by Frank’s sister in an attempt to match his DNA with remains found in Korea. So far, no match has been found.. There are memorial markers for Frank Torigian at Punch Bowl, Hawaii, and a bronze marker at the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Aberdeen. His death date was fixed at October 20, 1950.

Sergeant Torigian was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

This information was respectfully submitted by Timothy Norman Reed, and Austin Curtis Kuenzel, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, SD on May 24, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, SDNGM, an obituary provided by Pauline Davies, Aberdeen, and Marian Hofland and Avis Heupel, Aberdeen, sisters of Frank. Profile approved by Marian Hofland, sister.