In Memory of
Navy Ensign
Vernon Holt Carlson
Lake Norden, SD
Hamlin County
October 4, 1922 - June 1, 1945
Plane Shot Down near Singapore

Vernon Holt Carlson  Vernon Holt Carlson, headstone

Vernon Holt Carlson was born in Irene, South Dakota on October 4, 1922 to parents Ella Josephine and Charles E. Carlson. Vernon was the youngest in a family of five children. He had sisters named Josephine, Doris, and Hazel, and a brother named Charles. The family lived in Irene as Vernon's father worked for the Burlington Northern Railroad as a Depot Agent. Sometime before 1940, the family was transferred to Lake Norden because of this job.

Vernon attended elementary school and high school in Lake Norden. He enjoyed athletics, field sports, discus, pole vault, and baseball He had an excellent tenor voice, and was part of the glee club at Lake Norden High School He even won a superior rating at a high school music contest in Brookings. Vernon graduated from Lake Norden High School in 1940 and began an extended education at South Dakota State College in Brookings. Vernon never married or had any children.

On October 15,1942, Vernon entered the active United States Naval Reserve as an aviation cadet and was later appointed an ensign.  He was part of the patrol bombing squadron 106. His plane was lost in the Pacific Area sometime around June 1, 1945. At the time of his death, both his mother Ella and his father Charles were still living.

Vernon received numerous prestigious awards. He was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Flying Cross Air Medal, a Gold Star in lieu of a second Air Medal, a Gold Star in lieu of a third Air Medal, a Gold Star in lieu of a fourth Air Medal, and an American Area Campaign Medal He also received a Purple Heart, an Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, a Philippine Liberation Ribbon, and a World War II Victory Medal. He is listed on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines.

This profile is respectfully submitted by Adam VanderSluis, seventh grade, Mickelson Middle School, Brookings, South Dakota, with the help of his teacher, Jennifer Weber, May 2002. Information for this profile came from an application for a South Dakota Veteran's Bonus Payment, Robert Carlson, a Lake Norden resident, and Harold Lohrs, a personal friend of Vernon Carlson.