In Memory of
Army Sgt.
Melvin Conrad Carlson
Sisseton, South Dakota
Roberts County
Sept. 27, 1924 – April 17, 1945
Killed in Action

Melvin Conrad Carlson

Melvin Conrad Carlson was born on September 27, 1924, on a farm south of Sisseton, South Dakota, to August and Annie Carlson. Melvin and his siblings went to a one-room school, where all eight grades were taught. Melvin’s sister, Florence Shurtleff, remembers that because it was during the Depression, all of their toys were homemade, they had many books that they read over and over, and they had three jigsaw puzzles that they put together a lot. Melvin’s chores were bringing in wood and corncobs for the firestove.  He also had to feed the farm animals, such as cows, horses, and pigs.   He and his siblings also herded the cows, which was not always an easy task. 

Melvin volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps on October 16, 1943, and was inducted at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, on December 8, 1943.  He received his training at several camps until about February 10, 1945, when he left the states for overseas combat duty, stationed in England.

While there, Carlson was promoted to Sergeant, serving as a Tail Gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. On April 17, 1945, Army Sgt. Melvin Conrad Carlson was reported missing in action, and later on April 18, 1946, was declared presumed dead.

Around 1950 his grave was found in a little church cemetery in Germany. Then his body was moved to a military cemetery in Belgium.

Sgt. Carlson was awarded decorations as follows: the Combat Crew Member Wings, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Ribbon,  European Theatre of War, the Presidential Citation, and the Purple Heart.

Sgt. Melvin Carlson’s memorial service was held at the Goodwill Lutheran Church, where he was baptized and confirmed. His name appears on the honor roll and star on service flag of the congregation. His sister, Florence, said, “He was next older than I and after all these years I still think of him often.”

We will remember the service and sacrifice of Army Sgt. Melvin Conrad Carlson.

Melvin Conrad Carlson, leaning against a car

This entry was respectfully submitted by Amanda M. Niemi, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 11, 2000.  Information for this entry was provided by Mrs. Florence Shurtleff, Mendota, Minnesota, sister of Army Sgt. Melvin C. Carlson.