In Memory of
U.S. Army Sergeant Bath, South Dakota
Brown County

October 6, 1925—November 23, 1951
Killed in Action in Korea

Marland Enos Fritz was born October 6, 1925, in Bath, South Dakota to William Jacob and Mae Frances (Plummer) Fritz. He had one brother, Lyle, and two sisters. He went to school in Bath and graduated from Bath High School in 1943. After he graduated Marland worked on the farm with his father. In 1948 he bought a gas station in Bath and worked there until he entered the service. He was engaged to Vivian Gant of Brentford.

On September 20, 1950, Marland was drafted into the Army in Aberdeen and was trained at Fort Riley in Kansas and Camp Carson in Colorado. Sergeant Fritz was sent overseas on October 22, 1951, as part of the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

Not long after his arrival in Korea, Sergeant Marland Enos Fritz was killed in action. He was 26 years old. He was the first Brown County casualty of the Korean War. His body was returned to the United States and he was buried with military honors on March 3, 1952 in Bath.

Sergeant Fritz 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.

Later, Marland’s mother wrote a letter to one of Marland’s friends in his company, asking him questions and hoping for more information surrounding her son’s death. The letter, dated October 26, 1952, from Camp Pickett, Virginia, is reproduced here:

I received your letter today and was very happy to hear from you….No, Mrs. Fritz, I do not think they are foolish questions. I am only too glad that I can answer them for you. Your son and I were very good friends…. [When] we moved, we were all in fine spirits. We were happy to have been going back on the line because in reserve we hardly had time to take care of our personal needs. We did a lot of training.

We stopped about four or five miles from the line that evening. We were supposed to stay there all night. An emergency order came through. We had to move out that night….We had two section Sgts., which was Sgt. Fritz and Sgt. Clinger. Our plt. Sgt was all good friends. He didn’t want to pick out the section to go on the Hill, so Sgt. Fritz volunteered to go. We started towards the Hill at Daybreak. The Hill was so long and steep. We finally reached the Hill that evening. It began to rain and we all spent a very quiet night on the Hill. The next morning we got up around dawn.

We all decided to go back and get some C-Rations and our bedding. The first night we had to sleep without any bedding because we were loaded with ammo and that heavy gun. We started back on the Hill with our bedding and personal things. On the way up a fellow in our section…shot hisself in the foot. That must have been a bad omen because from then on we began to get our share of the bad luck. We finally reached the top. So we all sat down and rest[ed]. The usual conversation came up. We were all talking about our families….That was about two p.m. in the evening. All of a sudden there was a [terrific?] barrage. The Chinese opened up on us, they were using artillery, rockets, guns, and tanks. They kept up a steady Bombardment until about 4:30 p.m. Meanwhile the other boys ran for holes. Sgt Fritz, Myers, Mullins, a Korean, and myself hid behind a large Rock. Finally the Chinese slacked up on their artillery. We knew then that we were going to be attacked. We could not stay there and fight. Because artillery had killed most of our Boys. We got the order to pull out.

Myers was the first one to leave. Sgt. Fritz hollered for the rest of the boys to get out of their holes. Then a round came in and got the Korean and a boy named Pugel [sp?] as they were coming out of their hole. A boy named Eklund received a large gash in his leg. He was in the hole with them. Then Sgt. Fritz told me to go on down, that he would be right behind me. When we reached the Bottom, there were only three of us.

Artillery got the Boys…. God seems to take the best… We can’t argue with God’s word. You had a wonderful brave son, Mr. and Mrs. Fritz. I will never forget. This Thanksgiving will be one year since that never forgotten battle. I have been in the Hospital with malaria fever which I caught while in Korea.…

I don’t think you will get Sgt. Fritz personal things. We all lost our bags [?] on the Hill. We had to leave the guns also. When I go home next week, I will send you a picture. I will hope you have a pleasant Thanksgiving. Thanks very much for the invitation. I would very much like to talk with you all. I guess you know my race, Mrs. Fritz. I am Negro, probably you could not tell on the pictures. Please Write Soon. Always, Richard Lewis

This entry was respectfully submitted by Amanda Nelson, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, May 21, 2004, and updated by Slade Marlin Hansen, 6th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on July 2, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by ABMC, an application for a veteran’s bonus, and an obituary sent to us by Pauline G. Davies, Aberdeen. Additional information and profile approval by the Fritz family, including Lyle Fritz, brother, Bath.