Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  Private First Class

   Status: Killed in action

   Date of Service: Korean War

   Home Town: Clearbrook

Richard Bergland and his headstone in Silver Creek Cemetery, Clearbrook

Richard Darrell Bergland was born December 6, 1930 in Clearbrook to parents Leonard and Dorothy Mildred Huff Bergland of Clearbrook, Minnesota. Both Leonard and Dorothy had come to Clearwater County as small children and had lived there most of their lives. Richard had two sisters, Elaine and Gloria, and one brother Robert. Leonard was a WWI veteran who worked as a rural mail carrier his entire career.  Dorothy was a teacher in the county’s rural schools until her children were born and then again during the teaching emergency of 1944 – 1947. She was teaching at the time of her death in 1947. Leonard and Dorothy were active members of the First Lutheran Church in Clearbrook, as were their children.

Richard was an outdoor boy at heart and spent as much time as he could in the open, where he became known as an expert trout fisherman. Fly-tying was one of his hobbies. He loved trapping and hunting and was an expert rifleman. During school vacations and in his spare time he worked at the McReynolds Honey Farms. He graduated from Clearbrook High School in 1948.

Richard joined the Army on October 7, 1950 and became a member of Company A, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.

The 2nd Division deployed to Korea in late July of 1950. The division became the first unit to reach Korea directly from the U.S. The call to Korea had come so unexpectedly that training and equipment upgrades had been neglected and even ammo was in short supply. The 2nd Division was committed as a unit to relieve the 24th Infantry Division at the Naktong River Line. In mid-August they were the first unit to break out of the Pusan Perimeter and drive to the Manchurian Border. There, the Chinese entered the picture and they became one of the targets of the Chinese “Winter Offensive.”  When the 2nd Division was within 50 miles of the Manchurian border, the Chinese attacked at the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River. The 2nd Division had been given the task of protecting the rear and right flank of the Eighth Army as it retired to the south. It became surrounded and had to fight its way through “the gauntlet,” a Chinese roadblock six miles long. This fighting around Kunu-ri cost the division nearly one third of its remaining strength.

Among those killed was PFC Richard Bergland, who was killed in action on January 11, 1951. His family received a telegram from the Adjutant General of the Army telling them of their son’s death.  Memorial services were held for Richard at the First Lutheran Church in Clearbrook and he was buried in Silver Creek Cemetery near Clearbrook. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. Richard Darrell Bergland was 20 years old.