In Memory of
U.S. Air Force Captain Rapid City, South Dakota
Pennington County

March 19, 1917--May 15, 1952
Missing in Action, Presumed Dead in North Korea

Arthur “Bud” Delbert Callan was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota on March 19, 1917, to Delbert Owen and Alda Cora (Larive) Callan. He had a brother and two sisters. His mother was a landscape artist who owned and managed the Riverside Arms Apartments in Hot Springs and his father owned and operated a rock quarry. Arthur went almost exclusively by his nickname “Bud.” One of his interests was astronomy.

After Bud graduated from Hot Springs High School, he attended Chillicothe Business School in Missouri. He was with the National Guard at Hot Springs and was sent to Camp Claiborne in Louisiana as part of the 109th Engineers in February of 1941. In January of 1942, he became a cadet in the Air Corps. He then served as a navigator with the Ferry Command, stationed first in Delaware and then transferred to New York City because the civilian airline crews were understaffed at LaGuardia. While there, Bud sent for his fiancée, Regina Ruth Barney, who had been staying with his mother in Hot Springs. Ruth took the train to New York City, and they were married on June 12, 1944. A year later they had their first son, Arthur Delbert, Jr., later nicknamed “Del.” Following his discharge in 1946, Bud ranched near White River, South Dakota. He then sold insurance and vehicles in Rapid City. He built a house at 128 Cleveland Street and lived there with his family, which grew to include a second child, Caron Renee.

Because the Air Force needed navigators for its operation in Korea, Bud was “called to active duty as a reserve officer.” His daughter was four when her father left and can still remember hanging onto his legs as he stood in the closet and packed.

He reported for duty on July 23, 1951, to the Kelly Field in Texas and then was sent to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where his family was allowed to accompany him. He served in the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. He went overseas from California in January of 1952, while they were expecting their second son, Casey Clement. Captain Callan’s family returned to Rapid City at that time.

On May 15, 1952, at 8:00 PM, Captain Callan and two other men took off in a B-26 Aircraft from Kimbo Air Base, South Korea. They were to do a night time photo reconnaissance mission of the western coast of North Korea. An hour after the plane took off, a radio message was received, reporting that it was severely damaged and on fire. The plane was west of Anju, in the Sanchon area and was told to land at a nearby airbase. However, the plane never arrived. Six planes were sent out for the search and rescue efforts, but none of them reported anything. Captain Callan was listed as missing in action and was finally presumed dead on December 31, 1953. His family then received a box of his belongings which included a camera and photos; silk pajamas and slippers for his family; letters from home; and shells which were probably collected along the West China Sea. His daughter requested a casualty report in 1997. In it were these words:

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 5, of the Act of 7 March 1942, Pl 490, the 77th Congress is amended, upon direction and delegation by the Secretary of the Air Force, finds subject person to be dead. He was officially reported as missing in action as of 15 May 1952. For the purposes states in said Act, death is presumed to have occurred on 31 December 1953.

Memorials were held at Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota; Portland, Oregon; and Punchbowl, Hawaii. His body was never recovered. During his time of service, Captain Callan was awarded the Air Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Purple Heart.

Captain Callan’s daughter Caron has a fond memory of her father, when he made her a sailboat out of driftwood. When it floated away into the surf, he jumped into the ocean in all his clothes to retrieve it. She describes her dad as a “funny magician who was devoted to his family.” She still misses him today and asks us all to “Please honor our veterans today by simply seeking peace and promising to always do our best to bring our soldiers home.”


This entry was respectfully submitted by April G. Goodson, 9th Grade, Spearfish High School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on July 15, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by American Battle Monuments Commission, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, South Dakota National Guard Museum, Caron Klopping, daughter of Captain Callan via the Oregonian, issue 11/11/97. Additional information and profile approval by Caron Callan Klopping.