Sioux Empire Podcast 129 Veteran’s Day With Garrett Gross from Age Media

On this very special patriotic episode of The Sioux Empire Podcast hosts Robert Mehling and Seth Glover welcome Garrett Gross from Age Media, he’s here to tell us about some of the extraordinary stories about Sioux Empire veterans he’s collected.

Victory at Sea: USS South Dakota 25th Reunion

On Saturday, July 8th, 2017 surviving crew members and their families and descendants gathered at the USS South Dakota Battleship Memorial in Sioux Falls (2705 W 12th St, Sioux Falls, SD 57104) for a moving reunion ceremony.  Music was played by the Sioux Falls Municipal Band (Conductor Mr. Christopher Hill).  Seven WWII crewmembers from USS South Dakota were present. The ceremony featured Lt Gov Matt Michels as emcee and retired Navy Vice Admiral Lyle Bien as guest speaker.

USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion - Photo by Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpre.com

USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion – Photo by Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpre.com


USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion - Photo by Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpre.com

USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion – Photo by Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpre.com


USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion - Photo by Robert Mehling - TheSiouxEmpre.com

USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion – retired Navy Vice Admiral Lyle Bien – Photo by Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpre.com


USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion

USS South Dakota Crew Member Reunion –  Lt Gov Matt Michels – Photo by Robert Mehling – TheSiouxEmpre.com

Governor’s Column: Remembering South Dakota’s Ace Joe Foss

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:


“South Dakota draws an ace.” That was one headline following the gubernatorial election of Joe Foss. The plain-spoken, unpretentious South Dakota hero held many titles throughout his life, only one of which was “governor.”


Foss is best known as the Medal of Honor recipient who shot down 26 enemy planes in 63 days at Guadalcanal during World War II. The former governor served in the South Dakota National Guard, the Marine Corps and the South Dakota Air National Guard, which he founded.  Foss took down 20 zero fighters, four bombers and two bi-planes. Three times he had to make dead-stick landings when his engine was damaged from enemy fire. In another instance, his plane was shot down near the island of Malaita. Not a good swimmer, he was fortunate that some nearby natives rescued him. As it turned out, Foss would have ended up on a crocodile-infested beach, had he kept swimming


As governor, Foss emphasized a balanced budget and urged the increase of reserve funds, which he said should be used only in emergencies and not to increase spending. He described his role and the role of legislators as being the “hired hands of the people” and he became South Dakota’s “leading salesman,” touting the state’s low tax burden to outside businesses. Under Gov. Foss, the first-ever state-level economic development office was established.


His down-to-earth manner remained intact while in office. On one occasion, he dressed as a clown for the Shriners parade to raise money for children with disabilities. He also knew he was the governor of all South Dakotans, not just those within his political party or social class. When first elected, the Governor-Elect held a press conference where he was asked about plans for the traditional inaugural ball. Gov. Foss surprised reporters, as well as members of his staff, when he said all were invited to attend. When asked what people should wear, Foss responded, “I don’t care as long as they’re comfortable. It’ll suit me fine if the men wear overalls, cowboy gear, business suits or tuxedos.”


After serving as governor, Joe Foss went on to become the first commissioner of the NFL and president of the National Rifle Association. In 2001, he founded the Joe Foss Institute which today promotes American history, patriotism and service.


Looking back on it all, Foss concluded in his auto biography that, of all the things he had experienced, his faith was what mattered most. When asked by reporters what the highlight of his life was, he’d say, referring to heaven, “It hasn’t happened yet.”

Joe Foss

Joe Foss


In 2004, the year following his passing, the state Legislature designated April 17 as Joe Foss Day in South Dakota. The day is a working holiday to remember, as it says in the statute, “South Dakota’s favorite son and war hero.” It’s an occasion to tell the story to our children and grandchildren – the story of South Dakota’s ace.

School Kid Discovers German Messerschmitt With Pilot’s Body Still Inside

When Klaus Kristiansen tried to bring his son’s history homework to life, he probably wasn’t expecting the boy to unearth a buried German Messerschmitt (a World War Two warplane).

Or for excited TV crews, forensic police and explosives experts to descend on his family’s farm in Birkelse, Denmark.

But that’s what happened when 14-year-old Daniel Rom Kristiansen found the remains of a German Messerschmitt plane, and its pilot, in an unremarkable field.

According to Mr. Kristiansen, his grandfather once told him that a plane had crashed there in November 1944.

“When my son Daniel was recently given homework about World War Two, I jokingly told him to go out and find the plane that is supposed to have crashed out in the field.”

Father and son joined forces with a metal detector but never expected to find anything.

Mr. Kristiansen, an agricultural worker, believed the wreckage had been removed years before.

But then, a telltale beeping on a patch of boggy ground.

The pair began digging but realized they needed to go deeper.

They borrowed an excavator from a neighbor, and around four to six meters down, the plane’s carcass began to reveal itself.

Read more about it here.

Hemp For Victory 

If you’re a history nerd like me you might enjoy this WWII propaganda film “Hemp For Victory”.  We’ve come a long way from the days when the federal government was begging farmers in the US to grow hemp.


Last Plains Indian war chief dies at age 102

Joseph Medicine Crow, an acclaimed Native American historian and the last surviving war chief of Montana’s Crow Tribe, has died. He was 102.

Medicine Crow died Sunday, Bullis Mortuary funeral home director Terry Bullis said. Services will be announced Monday, he said.

A member of the Crow Tribe’s Whistling Water clan, Medicine Crow was raised by his grandparents in a log house in a rural area of the Crow Reservation near Lodge Grass, Montana.

His Crow name was “High Bird,” and he recalled listening as a child to stories about the Battle of Little Bighorn from those who were there, including his grandmother’s brother, White Man Runs Him, a scout for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

The National Parks Service claims Medicine Crow was “the last living person with a direct oral history from a participant of the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.”

His grandfather, Yellowtail, raised Medicine Crow to be a warrior. The training began when Medicine Crow was just 6 or 7, with a punishing physical regimen that included running barefoot in the snow to toughen the boy’s feet and spirit.

Medicine Crow in 1939 became the first of his tribe to receive a master’s degree, in anthropology. He served for decades as a Crow historian, cataloging his people’s nomadic history by collecting firsthand accounts of pre-reservation life from fellow tribal members.

“I always told people, when you meet Joe Medicine Crow, you’re shaking hands with the 19th century,” said Herman Viola, curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Indians.

Read more of Joseph Medicine Crow’s incredible life at CBS News.