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Graduate to be honored in bridge naming ceremony

Sign honoring 1941 graduate Elmer A. Rusch

South Dakota State University’s DePuy Military Hall will be the site for an Oct. 8 event to announce the naming of the Elmer A. Rusch Memorial Bridge, which will be located on the South Dakota Highway 14 Bypass, west of Medary Avenue.

The 11 a.m. ceremony, which is hosted by the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, will be held in the hall’s gymnasium.

Rusch, a U.S. Army Air Corps captain, graduated from South Dakota State in 1941 and was commissioned an officer through its ROTC program. In June 1944, he was stationed in England with the 101st Airborne Division and was part of the glider force participating in the D-Day invasion. He was killed in action when his glider landed in a field completely covered by German fire. He received a Purple Heart for his actions.

The South Dakota Highway 14 Bypass Bridge over the east branch of Six Mile Creek, just west of Medary Avenue, will be dedicated to Rusch.

In 2019, Gov. Kristi Noem ‘11 and the state departments of Veterans Affairs, Military and Transportation launched the Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication Program. This program dedicates state bridges to South Dakotans who died while in active service or classified as missing in action. Naming South Dakota bridges in honor of the fallen gives the opportunity of remembrance, reflection and respect—to honor the men and women who gave their lives in service to this nation.

The Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication Committee meets annually in April and selects heroes to honor and the bridges to dedicate that year.