Dale Vernon Olson was born on September 27, 1918, at Hetland, Kingsbury
County, South Dakota. Raised as a Lutheran, Dale helped on the farm
until entering the service on June 2, 1942. The following is his
story, told in his own words.
Service Record: I was drafted into the Army and sworn in at Ft. Snelling,
Minnesota. I had my basic training at Ft. Francis Warren at
Cheyenne, Wyoming. After some schooling at Normoyle Ordinance Base
at San Antonio, Texas, and awhile at Barlsdale Field, Texas, I was
put in the 11th Armored Division, which was at Camp Polk, Louisiana.
We had maneuvers and I was sent to tank maintenance school at Ft.
Knox [Kentucky] and also mechanic training at GM in Detroit and
White Motor in Cleveland. We had desert maneuvers at (tent) Camp
Ibis in California. From there we went to Camp Cooke, California,
where we got our equipment ready for overseas shipment. I was in
England for a couple months getting everything ready for combat
before we crossed the English Channel. We crossed the Channel and in
3 days we were up in Belgium and our Division was in combat in the
Battle of the Bulge. I did mechanic work and drive 6 x 6 truck in
convoy and tanks some.
Camp Encounter: I did not participate in the liberation of Mauthausen.
Mauthausen is located near Linz, Austria, and was liberated by the
Swiss delegate of the ICRC, Mr. Lewis Hafliger and Staff Sgt. Al
Kosiek, commander of 1 Platoon (23 men), Troop D, 41st Cavalry
Reconnaissance of the 11 Armored Division. I was there 2 days later
and do not have words to express how horrible it was. Sometimes I
wondered while in the Army why I was there but after viewing these
camps I had no question why I was there and felt grateful that I had
done my little part to stop these atrocities. Gusen was liberated on
May 5, 1945, and Mauthausen on May 6, 1945.
Awards: I earned 3 battle stars.