Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Phillip James Iyotte.

Philip, a member of the Lakota tribe in South Dakota, enlisted in the Army in 1950. After boot camp, he was sent to Korea with the 21st Infantry Regiment. While fighting in Operation Thunderbolt on Feb. 9, 1951, Philip was captured by Chinese soldiers outside of Seoul. He was brought to the prisoner of war camp, Changsong. During his time at the camp, Philip developed gangrene due to a bullet wound in his stomach. Two of his fellow soldiers found an escape route from the camp, but Philip, unable to walk, could not join them. Philip is believed to have passed away after seven months in captivity.

Philip is remembered as a true Lakota warrior. On Sep. 12, 2003, Phillip’s family was awarded honors on behalf of his service, including the Purple Heart, POW Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and Combat Service Award. In August 2017, Philip’s remains were identified. They will be reburied in South Dakota on Oct. 25, 2017. South Dakota Governor Daugaard has directed flags at the State Capitol to fly at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the day of his burial.

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Graphic By Damin Jung: Damin Jung is a student studying Web Design. She has a BS in International Relations and Politics.

Share this story

Published on Oct. 25, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.9 min.

Views to date: 89

One Comment

  1. Dera K Iyotte November 7, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    My uncle, America’s hero and our Warrior. Finally he has returned home and our family is together again spiritually. Thank you for this honor.
    Wopila Tanka

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Army Veteran Hank Welzel served in the Korean War, but his military experience began in the German Army during World War II.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Ronald L. Green, who was the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.

  • Navy Veteran Calvin Leon Graham became the youngest World War II soldier at the age of 12, and the youngest recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.