'South Dakota Warrior' documents heroic war efforts of SD man

In this photo, Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron, of Pierre, S.D., is taking off in his TBD Devastator from the USS Hornet on 4 June 1942, the first day of the Battle of Midway. (U.S. Navy photos)

ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. (KEVN TV) - Premieres of “South Dakota Warrior,” the newest episode of the award-winning web show, Old Guys and Their Airplanes (OGTA), are scheduled for Oct. 6 at the Fort Pierre Community Center and Oct. 7 at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum in Box Elder.

The episode highlights the life of Fort Pierre native, Lt. Cmdr. John C. Waldron. Waldron was World War II Navy torpedo bomber pilot who played a pivotal role in the Battle of Midway (1942) - one that not only helped establish a timely American victory but also drew upon the man’s Native American (Lakota) heritage.

To this end, Francis Whitebird—decorated combat medic from the Vietnam War—contributes his explanation of the Lakota warrior ethos.

Noted historian Barrett Tillman provides important commentary on the Battle of Midway itself.

Francis Whitebird is scheduled to appear at both premieres along with Mollison. Dan Kuecker, executive director of the Ellsworth Heritage Foundation will be present at the Oct. 7 event.

The Fort Pierre Premiere begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Pat Duffy Community Center; the South Dakota Air and Space Museum Premiere begins 10 a.m. and will be held at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum, just outside the main entrance of Ellsworth Air Force Base.

South Dakota Warrior will also premiere on South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Vimeo (on-demand) on November 6, 2017.

South Dakota Warrior was produced, in part, by grants from The South Dakota Community Foundation, Dr. David West, Sanford Health, Monsour Karim, the Fort Pierre Tourism & Promotion Council and the Ellsworth Heritage Foundation.

The ”South Dakota Warrior” trailer is available here.