In Memory of
U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Kimball, South Dakota
Brule County

October 29, 1911 – July 12, 1950
Killed in Action in Korea

Carl C. Jensen, known as Cliff to family and friends, was born in Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, on October 29, 1911, to J.L. and Mary Jensen. He had a brother and two sisters. The family moved to Kimball where Cliff attended school, graduating from Kimball High School in 1929 and later from South Dakota State College in Brookings where he was a member of the ROTC. In 1936, he married Marjorie Richards; they had two children: William (Bill) and Barbara.

In April of 1940, Jensen entered active service and was sent to Greenland for eleven months. In February of 1944, he went to Italy for a ten-month tour of duty during WW II. In August of 1948, his orders were for Japan, where his wife and children were allowed to join him in December of that year. As a member of the Headquarters, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, his was one of the first divisions ordered into combat.

On July 12, 1950, Lt. Col. Carl Clifford Jensen was reported missing in action while fighting the enemy near Chochiwon, South Korea. As details of the battle emerged, Lt. Col. Jensen’s status was changed to killed in action. Because of his heroism that day, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. The citation reads in part:

…when a numerically superior enemy force supported by artillery and armor attacked the 3rd Battalion’s position, he displayed outstanding leadership ability and personal courage. He voluntarily exposed himself to the intense artillery mortar, and small arms fire, and reorganized small groups of withdrawing troops and replaced them in the defense line. By his calmness under extremely heavy enemy fire, he inspired his men to the highest possible degree of determination and confidence. When the order to withdraw was issued, Colonel Jensen remained behind and personally directed the withdrawal of all units of his Battalion….. His utter disregard for personal safety, his exceptional leadership ability, courage, and devotion to duty, were directly responsible for saving the lives of many of the men in his command….

The body of Lt. Col. Cliff Jensen was returned to the United States and he was reburied at the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis on July 12, 1951, exactly a year after his heroic death. He was also the first South Dakotan to be returned to the state for reburial, according to the Mitchell Daily Republic. In addition to his DSC, Jensen was awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal.

This writer would like to say thank you so much to Lieutenant Colonel Carl Jensen for fighting for our freedom and liberty. I will never forget you as long as I live.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Cody A. Silvernagel, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 12, 2004. Information was provided by Daily Republic, 7/10/51, Brule County News, 5/3/51, and the SD National Guard Museum. Carl Jensen’s photo provided by Barbara Vanek, daughter; memorial stone photo by Mrs. Hansen. Profile approval by Barbara Vanek.