Joel R. Splinter


Written Memory


My name is Joel R. Splinter. My father was Capt. Robt. Splinter commanding officer for the 740th trans. unit SoDANG. My memory of the night of June 10th... was when my mother informed us that dad could not come home from summer camp because half of Rapid City was underwater and the other half was on fire. His unit convoy had just left for home when he got the radio call to turn around and assist in evacuations and search and rescue. This was also when she told us that one of dad's officer's Lt. Gary M. Englstad had gone missing while attempting to save passengers from a stranded car. The following evening I was surprised and elated to see my father come in to the house, wearing mud caked fatigues and looking very exhausted. I thought everything was okay. I was wrong. As dad was getting ready to shower and change into his Dress uniform, He explained to me that Gary had been found earlier that day, and he did not make it. My father had flown home to make the notification to Gary's young wife and 3yr. old daughter. My father told me years later that when he arrived at their door the little girl saw him in uniform and thought it was her daddy she screamed daddy's home and latched on to my dad's leg. And through tear stained eyes he made the notification. My father retired after 20yrs of faithful service in 1973. Before he did he made sure that no one would forget the sacrifice that Lt Englstad gave his all. The new Guard Armory in Milbank SDak was dedicated in his name. I lost dad in April of 2000 to cancer. My heartfelt thanks go out to all the men who put their lives on hold to help the citizens of Rapid City. May the memories of the fallen NEVER DIE.



“Joel R. Splinter,” Flood of 1972, accessed July 2, 2022,