In Memory of
U.S. Army Corporal Madison, South Dakota
Lake County

January 4, 1930 – November 28, 1950 (MIA)
                               December 31, 1953 (FOD)
Missing in Action, Prisoner of War, Presumed Dead in North Korea


Melford Eugene Johnson was born January 4, 1930, in Madison, South Dakota, to Oscar and Lena (Killian) Johnson. He had five sisters and four brothers: Raymond, Virnis, Dewayne, and Darold. He was raised and educated in Madison and was a student at Madison High School before he entered the service.

Johnson enlisted in the Army while he was 16, on May 7, 1946, and then went through six weeks of basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, before going overseas to Germany where he was part of the D8 Combat Engineers and later the 54th Combat Engineers. He returned to the United States on July 7, 1947, and was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington before going to Hawaii for Operation Miki in the summer of 1950 and then returning to Fort Lewis before being shipped to Korea in the fall of 1950 as a member of Company C, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division.

Army Corporal Melford Eugene Johnson was reported missing in action while fighting the enemy near Kunu-Ri, North Korea, on November 28, 1950. The Army later reported to his parents that he was a prisoner of war. He was presumed dead on December 31, 1953, just a few days short of what would have been his 23rd birthday.

The body of Corporal Melford Johnson was never recovered. His name is on a memorial at Punch Bowl, Hawaii. He was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Nick B. Bierschenk, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 23, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the SD National Guard Museum, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, and newspaper clippings. (P/S/F/A 6/20/04).