In Memory of
U.S. Army Captain Pierre, South Dakota
Hughes County

June 26, 1924 – August 25, 1954
Killed in Helicopter Crash near Lawton, Oklahoma


Kenneth Russell Scurr, Jr. was born to Col. Kenneth R. and Lucille (Pettijohn) Scurr on June 26, 1924, in Hughes County of South Dakota. His father for many years was a bridge engineer for the state highway department and had also been commander of the South Dakota National Guard. Kenneth, Jr. attended schools in Pierre and graduated from Riggs High School. He played the trumpet in the school band. From high school he went to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and then won an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating with the class of 1945. After graduation, he is believed to have entered service to his county.

Captain Kenneth Russell Scurr, Jr. again served his country in battle during the Korean War as a member of the 5th Light Aviation Section of the U.S. Army. In fact, according to the Daily Capital Journal, “he had been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with five clusters” for his heroic service in the Korean War. While he was still in Korea, Captain Scurr started taking helicopter flying lessons. He returned to the United States in 1951 and served as an aviation instructor at the base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

On August 25, 1954, Captain Kenneth Russell Scurr, Jr. was killed when the helicopter he was piloting “crashed and burned three miles northwest” of Lawton, Oklahoma. His body was returned to South Dakota, and he was buried with military honors at Riverside Cemetery in Pierre.

Besides his other awards, Captain Scurr received the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Cali Ewing, 8Th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, July 29, 2004. The information for this entry was provided by the Daily Capital Journal, 8-28-54 issue, and the SD National Guard Museum. No family contact made.