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