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PIERRE, SD —World War II hero of the “Battle of Midway” John C. Waldron will be honored with a memorial dedication at the Pierre Municipal Airport on Friday, June 3 at 5:30pm. The event is open to the public.
The ceremony will feature the dedication of “Dakota Warrior,” an original print of the Douglas TBD-1 Devastator flown by LCDR John C. Waldron during the Battle of Midway. The dedication will occur on the 74th anniversary of the historic event which took place June 3-7, 1942.
Waldron is a native of Ft. Pierre, a Naval Academy Graduate and of Oglala-Lakota heritage. Dubbed a hero by numerous war historians, Waldron led fifteen aircraft to an attack of the Japanese carrier fleet during the Battle of Midway. Although 29 of the 30 American crew members lost their lives during the attack, Waldron’s squadron played a crucial role in finding the Japanese fleet which allowed US Naval forces to eventually claim victory in the Pacific.
Fort Pierre Mayor, Gloria Hanson stated, “Waldron’s story possesses all of the challenges and opportunities of life compressed into a few fateful moments. It's important that we remember our Fort Pierre native son for the true war hero he is, and the implications of his actions on the outcome of World War II.”
"Waldron is an important historical figure on a national, state, and local level," said Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill. “I'm pleased that thanks to this donation of artwork, the City of Pierre will be able to recognize Waldron's contributions for years to come.”
The Waldron memorial consists of artwork created by award-winning artist and filmmaker, John Mollison, specially commissioned by Dr. Dave West of Sioux Falls, SD.
Weather permitting, World War II aircraft may be available for public viewing after the ceremony.