In Memory of
U.S. Army Private First Class Edgemont, South Dakota
Fall River County

September 13, 1930 – August 17, 1950
Killed in Action in South Korea

    

Polito Gregory Gallegos was the fourth son born in Edgemont, South Dakota, on September 13, 1930, to Esquipula and Leonor Gallegos. His siblings were Dolores, Leonor, Sylvania, Louisa, Esquipula, Jr., Patrick, John, and Margarita. Early on in Edgemont, the Gallegos family was a part of “Little Mexico.” Esquipula worked as a boiler washer on the steam locomotives and Leonor was a midwife, besides caring for her own family. Leonor died in 1932. As did all of the Gallegos children, Polito went to school in Edgemont. In the two years he was at Edgemont High School, Polito played football. He was a member of the Edgemont National Guard as well.

Polito Gregory Gallegos entered active service while he was vacationing in California in the fall and winter of 1948. He did basic training in Fort Ord in California. Polito was sent to Japan to serve with Occupation forces in June of 1949 as part of the 19th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, so he was one of the first troops to be sent to Korea when the war broke out.

Shortly afterwards, Private First Class Polito Gregory Gallegos was killed in South Korea. His father had died months earlier so the Army’s letter to the family was sent to Louisa, Polito’s sister. It said in part:

It is with regret that I confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your brother, Private First Class Polito G. Gallegos, who was killed in action 17 August 1950 in Korea…. I fully realize there is nothing I can say or do that will minimize the great loss you have sustained, but I feel the knowledge that he gave his life for his country will to some extent alleviate the sorrow you are experiencing and in time prove of sustaining comfort to you…

PFC Gallegos’ body was later returned to the United States and he was buried with military honors at Edgemont Memorial Cemetery on September 24, 1951. PFC Gallegos was award with 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 entry was respectfully submitted by Amanda Nelson, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 25, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, the Edgemont Centennial 1890-1990, and the Edgemont Tribune, 11/15/50, 11/29/50, and 9/19/51 issues. Memorial stone photo by Esther Porter, Edgemont. Profile approval by Louisa Deleon, sister.