LLOYD C RUNDELL
Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: WWII
Home Town: Columbia Township, Polk County
Lloyd Rundell’s marker in the Manila American Cemetery
Lloyd C. Rundell was born September 6, 1917 in Turner County, South Dakota to parents Clyde Cephas and Mabel Elliott Rundell. Clyde and Mabel had both grown up in Turner County. They married October 3, 1907, and rented a farm in Swan Lake Township in Turner County. By 1920 Clyde had purchased his own farm in Norway Township and he and Mabel had started a family: Edgar (1909), Ethelyn (1912), Robert (1915), Lloyd (1917), Dorothy (1920) and Harold (1922).
Lloyd attended country school through the 8th grade, then went to work as a hired hand on local farms. In 1940, Lloyd was a farm laborer on the A. D. and Alice Sanborn farm in Turner Township.
The years of the Great Depression were hard on South Dakota farmers and Clyde became one of many, many farmers who lost the farm they had worked so hard to attain. Clyde’s brother Merle farmed near Lengby, Minnesota and he knew of a farm Clyde could rent in his area. By 1940 Clyde, Mabel and family were farming near Lengby in Columbia Township, Polk County, Minnesota.
Meanwhile, Lloyd had enlisted in the Army. He became part of the 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. In February of 1943, the 1st Cavalry Division was alerted that they were to receive an overseas assignment as a dismounted unit, there no longer being a need for large horse-mounted formations. Summer of 1943 found the division departing Fort Bliss, Texas to board the SS Monterey and the SS George Washington bound for Australia and the Pacific arena. In Australia, the Division trained for six months in intense combat jungle warfare in Queensland with amphibious training at Moreton Bay. From there they were staged in New Guinea for Los Negros, a Japanese-occupied island in the Admiralties. Their job was to capture Momote Airdrome and secure a beachhead. By March 10th they had succeeded and mop-up operations were underway. In mid-March the 1st Cavalry Division captured Lorengau Airdome in the Manus Island invasion. The 7th underwent 96 hours of bitter combat driving the enemy from Lorengau and Rossum villages and Salsia Plantation. They sustained losses of 43 dead and 17 wounded in the Admiralty Islands campaign.
After five months of rehab and more combat training, the Regiment was ordered to begin the assault on Leyte Island in the Philippines. On October 20 the first wave landed at White Beach at 10:00 a.m. with the assignment of securing the Tacloban Airstrip. Unfortunately, the Japanese had skillfully prepared defensive positions on solitary hills and foothills and at strategic villages and bridges. They even drilled gunports through stone in above-ground cemetery crypts. Although the capture of Leyte was eventually successful, Sergeant Lloyd Rundell did not survive initial assault. He was killed in action of the second day of the offensive, October 21, 1944. He was 27 years old.
Sgt. Rundell’s body was buried in the Manila American Cemetery at Fort William McKinley in the Philippines. His family also erected a stone marker in his memory in the Hurley Cemetery, Hurley, South Dakota, where many members of his family are buried.