KENNETH LYLE SUTHERLAND
Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: WWII, Korean War
Home Town: Nora Township
Kenneth Sutherland’s headstone in St. Joseph Cemetery in Bagley
Kenneth Lyle Sutherland was born May 25, 1914 at Petersburg, Nebraska to parents Eugene and Maude McIntyre Sutherland. Eugene and Maude were both Nebraska natives who married and lived in Nebraska for a time before moving to Wyoming. Their children were Lyle, Aura, Wanda, Kenneth, Shirley, Eva Jean and Janice. Eugene was a skilled carpenter who built houses. In 1939 Eugene and Maude moved to Nora Township in Clearwater County where Eugene farmed and worked as a carpenter.
Kenneth attended elementary and high school in Petersburg. He was working on the family farm in Nora Township when he registered for the draft in 1940. Kenneth enlisted in the Army on January 2, 1941 where he saw action at the initial landing on the Salerno and Anzio beachhead when the U.S. joined World War II. On May 24, 1944, he married Delores Ann Burgard at St. Paul. He and Delores had two daughters: Judith and Susan. Kenneth was discharged from the Army in November of 1945 and farmed near Bagley.
Kenneth re-enlisted in the Army in January of 1948 and this time he was an officer. When he was sent to Korea, Captain Sutherland was the company commander of Company M, 3rd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regimental Combat Team. The 5th Infantry deployed to Korea on July 25, 1950 to reinforce the Eighth Army in the Pusan Perimeter. In August they took over the front-line defensive positions west of Chindong-ni where they spent a week of savage fighting.
Kenneth was a well-seasoned combat officer when the unthinkable happened on March 31, 1951. Captain Sutherland was moving his troops forward against the enemy near Kwang Daeso, South Korea when his jeep struck an enemy land mine. He was killed instantly.
A corporal who served under Capt. Sutherland at the time wrote, “He was a small man but awfully big in my eyes . . . As I am writing to you tears run down my face just remembering the awful day we lost him. We were on a push and had the North Korean Army on the run, but they had planted mines real thick all along the road. What hurts me most is that I had just scanned every foot of that road. Some of the mines were homemade, however, and could not be detected, and that is the kind of mine that took Capt. Sutherland out. Capt. Sutherland had us stop beside the road for a small break, told us to assemble and I was standing right beside him. He gave a small lecture and a few orders, then he was going back to headquarters. . . He started back to headquarters when the jeep he was riding in hit the mine. I remember I went up to a little knoll and sat under a tree and cried.” (Corporal Avis Maggard, 19 years old)
For his leadership and valor, Captain Sutherland was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
Kenneth’s body was returned to the United States and buried in Saint Joseph Cemetery, Bagley. He was 36 years old.