Reifsnyder honored by Millersville

MILLERSVILLE – Lyman “Dutch” Reifsnyder, an Altoona native who became a legend at Millersville first for abilities on the basketball court and then for his bravery in the line of duty, was elected to the Millersville University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Reifsnyder played under legendary coach John Pucillo from 1938-1942 and helped the Marauders to back-to-back “state” championships in 1938-39 and 1939-40 with records of 13-3 and 14-4. A scoring machine, Reifsnyder became the first 1,000-point scorer in Millersville history and needed only 70 games to achieve that milestone. Reifsnyder’s career average of 14.7 points per game still ranks 18th among the 35 1,000-point scorers in program history.

Reifsnyder was one of seven former Millersville athletes to be elected to the 20th annual Millersville Hall of Fame class. The class will be recognized at the induction dinner and ceremony on Friday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Lehr Center on the campus of Millersville University.

In Reifsnyder’s graduating yearbook, Pucillo called Reifsynder “a basketball coach’s dream-come-true.” As a team captain and senior in 1941-42, Reifsnyder totaled 418 points and averaged 23.2 points per game. He was the second leading scorer in the state that season and accounted for 40 percent of his team’s scoring. Reifsnyder also played tennis and majored in geography and history during his time at Millersville.

Following graduation, Reifsnyder and many of his classmates enlisted into service of the United States in World War II. Reifsnyder joined the U.S. Marine Corps on May 24, 1942 and entered Quantico as an officer candidate in September as a second lieutenant. He achieved a rank of first lieutenant in the Third Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Marines, Fourth Marine Division and was deployed into the Pacific Theater in early 1944.

After participating in the capture of Roi-Namur in the Battle of Kwajalein, Reifsnyder landed on the Saipan in the Marianas Islands in June of 1944. On June 18, Reifsnyder’s platoon came under enemy fire from Japanese forces. Reifsnyder directed the necessary withdrawal of his squads before voluntarily remaining behind to care for the wounded.

He continued to administer first aid until he was fatally wounded.

For his actions, Reifsnyder was a posthumous recipient of the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and a presidential citation. He was 24 years old.

Reifsnyder was interred in Grandview Cemetery.