This week in S.D. National Guard History

In recognition of the South Dakota National Guard's 150 years of service to the state and nation from 1862-2012, the SDNG will be publishing significant dates in the history of the organization all year long for the media's use in your publications or broadcasts.

For more information on these events, please contact the SDNG Historian, CW5 Duke Doering at (605) 737-6581, or e-mail

On this date in SDNG history:

April 24, 1991

On this date in SDNG history -Maj. Gen. Duane L. "Duke" Corning: Many friends and relatives attended a visitation, prior to the funeral the next day, for General Corning who passed away on April 22, 1991, at the age 74. One of the Air Guard's favorite stories about General Corning was back when he was a young officer in the Air National Guard. On January 18, 1955, Lt. Col. Duke Corning flew a T-33 jet trainer from Faulkton, S.D., to Sioux Falls. Two Air Force pilots had landed the T-33 on a grass runway after they had become disoriented and run low on fuel. Col. George Funston remembered that the plane just needed fuel and was convinced that Corning could get the T-Bird in the air. "We calculated the weight and balance of the airplane and the distance it would need to break ground. We went up to the highway and measured the calculated distance for the airplane break ground and painted a white mark on the road. Corning did an absolutely beautiful job of taking off. We were supposed to dismantle the airplane (according to the Air Force), but there was no reason not to fly it out." Corning said the highway looked much narrower in a cockpit than in a car. They had to take the highway signs down because the wings were over the ditch. Although the Air Force crew members received royal treatment and free drinks in Faulkton, they did not fly the plane back home and South Dakota did not gain another Air Force Base in Faulkton.

April 25, 1942

On this date in SDNG history – World War II, Darwin, Australia: The Japanese, in a 24 bomber raid, dropped more than 100 bombs in the area near Darwin. As a result, Capt. Thomas J. Rozum from Humboldt, S.D., and Capt. Gerald M. Porter from Flandreau, S.D., were the 147th Field Artillery's first casualties of World War II. Porter was killed instantly and Rozum died the following day. Both were enroute to Darwin in a Jeep. Porter was killed by a bomb fragment wound in the abdomen, and Rozum attempted to take cover behind a heavy main of the water system of Darwin, but by ill chance got on the wrong side of the main and a bomb fragment dealt him the fatal blow. Both Soldiers are buried in a large American cemetery near Sydney, Australia.

April 26, 1944

On this date in SDNG history – World War II – Cisternia, Italy: "Keeping track of mine fields and locating enemy mine fields is a job that nobody particularly wants and yet has to be done, and it fell to the lot of 109th Engineer Battalion Tech. Sgt. Joe J. Manders of Hot Springs, S.D., to tend to this detail on the Anzio Beachhead. No doubt his studies of this treacherous business contributed in no small measure to the success of the mine lifting operations. Manders received a Bronze Star for his part.  It sounds sort of routine but when one realizes that 75 percent of the casualties were from mines, his work takes on a new significance. They might have been 100 percent greater except for such painstaking and dangerous work."  (World War II History Commission)

April 27, 1898

On this date in SDNG history – The 1st South Dakota Infantry Regiment was notified this date that they would be officially mobilized for the Spanish-American War on April 29, 1898, and would be moved to Sioux Falls for training. The entire regiment was encamped west of Sioux Falls near the present site of Howard Wood field by May 6, 1898. The regiment was mustered into the volunteer army of the United States on May 19, 1898, and served in the Philippines until September 1899.

The First Infantry Regiment was located in the following South Dakota


Company A, Pierre

Company B, Sioux Falls

Company C, Yankton

Company D, Worthing

Company E, De Smet

Company F, Aberdeen

Company G, Huron

Company H, Watertown

Company I, Custer

Company K, Brookings

Company L, Spearfish

Company M, Rapid City

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