|Pvt. Keith Garvie, Oglala Sioux.|
Keith N. Garvie never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on April 27, 1917 in Nebraska. His mother was born in South Dakota and his father was born in Minnesota. Both his parents had Sioux parentage. His father was a day laborer and later a carpenter. Keith had five older sisters and two older brothers, plus one younger sister. By 1940 Keith and his parents were living in Yankton, South Dakota. He had completed two years of high school and had not worked for the past year.
He enlisted in the Army on March 22, 1941. He was a private in Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.
The 4th Infantry Regiment was assigned to Alaska before the war started. In mid 1942, Japanese troops had taken a foothold on some of the Alaskan islands. The 4th Infantry was tasked with eliminating the 2,300 Japanese troops from Attu Island. The G.I.s landed on May 8, 1943. The Japanese dug in at higher elevation to take advantage of the winter weather.
|The 4th Infantry Regiment on Attu.|
On May 27, Garvie's company was assigned to scale steep cliffs under fire to take the high ground from the enemy. They were successful, and defeat of the Japanese was guaranteed. Pvt. Garvie was killed two days later, one of 60 men from his regiment that died on Attu. Only 28 Japanese soldiers were captured.
After Private Garvie's death, his company commander wrote to his parents:
"Your son Keith N. Garvie, in covering an attack of a Japanese strong point on May 29, 1943, was killed by Japanese gunfire while performing his duties as a rifleman. Keith was held in high regard by all members of the Command. He was a splendid soldier and an outstanding character. His loss will be deeply felt by his many friends."
His remains were returned to be buried at Yankton City Cemetery in South Dakota.
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