In Memory of
U.S. Army Corporal Lead, South Dakota
Lawrence County

January 9, 1930 -- June 13, 1951
Died as a Prisoner of War in Korea

Julian Alvin Guerrero was born on January 9, 1930, in Newell, South Dakota, to Felix and Carmen (Odel) Guerrero. Julian started his education in Newell but later moved with his family to Lead, South Dakota, where he attended high school. While in high school, Julian was chosen for the bookkeeping award and the Current World Affairs award which was sponsored by Time magazine.

On January 8, 1949, Julian enlisted in the United States Army and took his basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, and extra training at Fort Bliss in Texas. He was then released from active duty and came home and worked for Homestake Mining in Lead. In October of 1950, Guerrero was recalled to active duty and was sent overseas in December as part of the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, where Corporal Guerrero served in the artillery guard.

According to a newspaper clipping, Corporal Guerrero was sent to the front lines in Korea with Company C, and on February 10, 1951, while breaking up a road block, there was a retreat because the Communists were overrunning the area. While retreating, Corporal Guerrero was “hit in the back of the head with a piece of shrapnel from a mortar shell. He was placed in a litter jeep but the Company was overrun before returning to their station.”

Corporal Julian Guerrero was taken prisoner of war on February 13, 1951, and was held by the Communists until June 13, 1951, when he reportedly died of “eruptive typhus” while a prisoner of war in Camp Number 2 in North Korea.

Major General Bergin, Adjutant General of the Army, wrote to Julian’s mother: “…I fully realize the deep sorrow that such a report brings to the loved ones of our gallant soldiers, and we want you to know that you have our deepest sympathy….Let us all pray that the actions and sacrifices of your son will help lead to a more peaceful world.” This letter was dated August 28, 1953, some two years after Julian had actually died. In the time between when he was declared missing and when he was known to have died, his father, Felix, passed away in Lead.

The body of Corporal Julian Guerrero was later recovered and returned to the United States for reburial in 1955, when he was laid to rest with full military honors at Holy Cross Cemetery in Lead. Corporal Guerrero was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Prisoner of War Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean War Service Medal.

Julian was survived by his mother, Carmen, four brothers: Julian L., Frank, Cecil, and Leonard, and three sisters.

President Eisenhower sent a citation to Julian’s mother with the following words:

It is with the unbroken lives of patriots who have deeded to die that freedom might live and grown and increase its blessings. Freedom lives and through it he lives in a way that humbles the undertakings of these men.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jason Klein and Zachary Otterness, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, SD, on May 15, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by Eddie Guerrero, nephew of Pfc. Guerrero, Belle Fourche, SD. Memorial plaque photo by Mrs. Hansen. (P/S/F/A 6/7/04.)