October 23, 2017
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard is ordering flags to fly half-staff at the State Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, to honor the life of Army Sgt. Philip J. Iyotte of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, whose remains have returned home after 66 years.
“Philip served his country honorably,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “I hope his return home will bring some closure and healing to the wounds borne by his family over these many long years.”
Sgt. Iyotte of White River, S.D., served in the 8th Army as a member of Company E, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, during the Korean War. Iyotte’s battalion was one of the first sent into battle. The sergeant was first wounded in 1950, but returned to the front lines less than three weeks later.
While fighting in Operation Thunderbolt on Feb. 9, 1951, Iyotte was taken by Chinese forces and was later moved to a camp at Changsong. Fellow prisoners of war have said that though Iyotte was wounded while in captivity and could not walk, he sang the Lakota honor song for his fellow soldiers. Iyotte is believed to have passed away after seven months in captivity.
Gov. Daugaard has directed flags at the State Capitol to fly at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday, the day of Sgt. Iyotte’s burial.