In Memory of
Army Air Force Captain
Zane Elwood Carlson
Holmquist, South Dakota
December 22, 1921- November 4, 1944
Killed in Action in Italy
Zane (Bud) Elwood Carlson was born to
Edwin and Zena (Paulson) Carlson on December 22, 1921, in Pierpont, South
Dakota, at the home of his maternal grandparents. He was the only son and had
one younger sister, Lois. Zane is survived by one aunt, Rachael Paulson
Wittnebel, living in Nassau, MN, and many cousins on his motherís side. Lois is
deceased and Buddy had no nieces or nephews.
Zane grew up in Holmquist, SD, where the
Carlson family owned a bank and a hardware store. He attended grade school near
Holmquist and graduated from Webster High School in 1939.
He attended Augustana College in Sioux
Falls for two years. While at Augustana, he took civilian flying lessons and
received his civilian pilotís license. He then persuaded his parents to allow
him to join the US Army Air Corps in the summer of 1942.
Zane took primary and basic training in
California, and advanced fighter training at Luke Field, Arizona, where he
received his Silver Wings. He was transferred to Tallahassee, Florida, for
advanced officer training. He was assigned to the 346th Fighter
Squadron for duty in North Africa, the Mediterranean, up through Sicily,
Sardinia, and eventually up the boot of Italy.
On November 4, 1944, he was flying out
of Pisa, Italy, on a bombing mission in a P-47 Thunderbolt. After bombing
missions, pilots would look for targets of opportunity on their way home. On his
final mission, Capt. Carlson went down with his wingman to strafe a German truck
convoy. On their first pass, they hit one truck and set it on fire, but on the
second pass, Captain Zane Carlson was hit by a 20 mm. flak gun and was severely
wounded. He tried to bail out, but was too low and his parachute didnít fully
deploy. He was killed on impact on his motherís birthday, November 4, 1944.
After the war, his remains were returned
to South Dakota and buried in the family plot in the New Sweden Cemetery north
For his service to his country, Capt.
Carlson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf
Clusters, and the Purple Heart. He also received the coveted Presidential
Citation for Meritorious Service.
On November 4, 2000, the Italians of the
area and three former squadron members held a memorial ceremony and erected a
bronze plaque set in concrete in a vineyard which was the exact spot in Italy
where Capt. Carlson was killed. Plaques were also placed on the municipal
buildings in two nearby villages to commemorate both Capt. Carlson and an
Italian partisan named Donato Rivello, who died the same day. The Italian
villages are Castlenuovo in Asti Province and Bergamasco in Allessandria
This entry was
respectfully submitted by Matt Gill, 11th grade Waubay High School,
Waubay, South Dakota, March 22, 2002. Information for this entry was provided
by Robert F. Wittnebel, Nassau, MN, first cousin of Captain Zane Carlson