The University of South Dakota
The Prairie Fire Battalion Cadets are always a mainstay of the USD homecoming celebration each fall. The Cadets help with many community service projects during homecoming week and are always present at the parade and homecoming football game to post the nation’s Colors. Dakota Days present an opportune time to reconnect with graduates and friends from the past. The Cadre and Cadets of the Prairie Fire Battalion welcome back our alumni to visit us during Dakota Day or at any time. We would love hear your stories.

USD ROTC Color Guard leads the Dakota Day homecoming parade

The Prairie Fire Battalion Cadets are always a mainstay of the USD homecoming celebration each fall. The Cadets help with many community service projects during homecoming week and are always present at the parade and homecoming football game to post the nation’s Colors. Dakota Days present an opportune time to reconnect with graduates and friends from the past. The Cadre and Cadets of the Prairie Fire Battalion welcome back our alumni to visit us during Dakota Day or at any time. We would love hear your stories.

Captain Arlo Olson

Medal of Honor Recipient Captain Arlo Olson

Arlo Olson graduated from high school in Toronto, SD and attended the University of South Dakota from 1936-1940.  He graduated from USD in 1940 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant through Army ROTC.  He entered military service in 1941 and subsequently deployed with the 15th Infantry Division.  He was killed in battle in Italy in October 1943 after leading a gallant and valorious attack.  Here is his Medal of Honor citation: 
 

OLSON, ARLO L.

Rank and Organization: Captain, U.S. Army, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division.Place and DateCrossing of the Volturno River, Italy, 13 October 1943.Entered Service at:Toronto, S. Dak.Birth:Greenville, lowa.G.O. No.:71, 31 August 1944.

Citation:For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 13 October 1943, when the drive across the Volturno River began, Capt. Olson and his company spearheaded the advance of the regiment through 30 miles of mountainous enemy territory in 13 days. Placing himself at the head of his men, Capt. Olson waded into the chest-deep water of the raging Volturno River and despite pointblank machine-gun fire aimed directly at him made his way to the opposite bank and threw 2 handgrenades into the gun position, killing the crew. When an enemy machinegun 150 yards distant opened fire on his company, Capt. Olson advanced upon the position in a slow, deliberate walk. Although 5 German soldiers threw handgrenades at him from a range of 5 yards, Capt. Olson dispatched them all, picked up a machine pistol and continued toward the enemy. Advancing to within 15 yards of the position he shot it out with the foe, killing 9 and seizing the post. Throughout the next 13 days Capt. Olson led combat patrols, acted as company No. 1 scout and maintained unbroken contact with the enemy. On 27 October 1943, Capt. Olson conducted a platoon in attack on a strongpoint, crawling to within 25 yards of the enemy and then charging the position. Despite continuous machinegun fire which barely missed him, Capt. Olson made his way to the gun and killed the crew with his pistol. When the men saw their leader make this desperate attack they followed him and overran the position. Continuing the advance, Capt. Olson led his company to the next objective at the summit of Monte San Nicola. Although the company to his right was forced to take cover from the furious automatic and small arms fire, which was directed upon him and his men with equal intensity, Capt. Olson waved his company into a skirmish line and despite the fire of a machinegun which singled him out as its sole target led the assault which drove the enemy away. While making a reconnaissance for defensive positions, Capt. Olson was fatally wounded. Ignoring his severe pain, this intrepid officer completed his reconnaissance, supervised the location of his men in the best defense positions, refused medical aid until all of his men had been cared for, and died as he was being carried down the mountain.

Major General Lloyd R. Moses

U. S. Army, Retired; Former Director of the Institute for American Indian Studies, USD

From his humble beginnings at White Thunder Indian Day School in Mellette County and Colome High School, in Colome, South Dakota through two wars and a subsequent second career as the Director of the Institute for American Indian Studies at USD,  Lloyd R. Moses left his mark on South Dakota and the USD ROTC program.

From 1925-1927, Moses was a rural schoolteacher for the Rosebud School District and later he was the Deputy County Superintendent of Schools.  He then studied Chemistry at the University of South Dakota from 1927-1931.  He was a member of the USD ROTC and received a commission of Lieutenant in the Army Reserve. 

In 1932, Moses was employed as an instructor of Chemistry at Sioux Falls College and he also worked for the Witte Paint and Chemical Company. Moses served in the Army Reserves until 1940.  One of his tours of duty included working with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Breckenridge, Minnesota.  In 1940, he was called into active duty.  Moses trained soldiers in Missouri and Alabama until 1945 when he was sent to Europe to serve with the 507th Parachute Regiment.  He worked on the European theater staff and was included in the airborne assault over the  Rhine.

At the end of World War II (1939-1945), he became post commander at Sendai, Japan.

Moses was once more in combat while commanding the 31st Infantry Regiment during the Korean War (1950-1953).  He served again in Japan from 1953-1954 and then returned to the United States to serve at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Dix.
 

In 1957, he was assigned to the Southern Area Command in Munich, Germany.  Moses commanded the 8th Infantry Division from 1959-1960 and U.S. Fifth Army (1960-1964).  He retired from the Army as a Major General in 1964 and settled in Vermillion, South Dakota.

After retirement, Moses served as the director of Institute of Indian Studies (the current Institute for American Indian Studies) at the University of South Dakota from 1967-1974.  He was instrumental in developing Indian related Courses at USD and overhauling the direction and purpose of the Institute.  Moses was a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and he was given the Indian name of Tokaha Waste Wicasha (good leader).

Moses died on August 22, 2000.  Moses and his wife are buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C. 

Throughout the years after graduating from USD,  Major General Moses kept an active interest in the ROTC program at USD.  He was present at nearly every Military Ball until his death and he endowed a scholarship through the USD foundation for future ROTC Cadets to help them complete their studies.  His example of leadership and selfless service is a model for all Prairie Fire Cadets to emulate.