In Memory of
U.S. Army Private Irene, South Dakota
Clay County

August 18, 1930 – March 25, 1953
Killed in Action in Korea


Olin Lyle Johnson was born near Irene, Yankton County, South Dakota, on August 18, 1930, to Edius and Randina Johnson. He had one older brother, Donald, and one older sister, Evelyn (Adams). He attended schools in Irene. Before he entered the service, he farmed with his parents. He is remembered by his sister as a “very kind and quiet man who loved farming” and recalls that she “never can remember him angry.”

On September 8, 1952, Olin entered active service at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He was a member of Company B, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. After his training and before he was sent overseas, he came home on leave and married Lois Bennington at Centerville, South Dakota, on January 14, 1953. A week later he left for duty and arrived in Korea on February 1.

Less than two months later, on March 25, 1953, Private Olin Johnson was killed in action in North Korea. His last letter home indicated that he was about to return to the front lines again.

Although his body was not recovered, there is a memorial marker for Pvt. Johnson at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jean Kingsley, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, May 24, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the SD National Guard Museum, an application for a veteran’s bonus, and a newspaper clipping. Memorial stone photo provided by Mrs. Hansen. Additional information and profile approval provided by Evelyn Adams, sister, Beresford.