South Dakota veteran to receive Purple Heart

FLANDREAU, S.D. (AP) - A World War II veteran from South Dakota is set to receive his Purple Heart medal, nearly three-quarters of a century after serving in the Navy.

The Argus Leader reports that a ceremony for 94-year-old Sylvan Vigness, of Flandreau, is scheduled Saturday afternoon at the Flandreau Community Center. His 89-year-old wife, Iona, is presenting the award.

Sylvan Vigness served on the USS Hinsdale as petty officer and signalman. He injured his left eye in 1945 during a Japanese kamikaze plane crash onto his ship headed to the initial landings at Iwo Jima in the western Pacific. He wasn't treated until months later.

Vigness is a longtime South Dakota educator who spent most of his time in Flandreau, where he taught agriculture and served as school superintendent. He retired in 1988.