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Richard D Carlson

War: World War II
Parent/Wife: Richard
City: Wisc. Rapids
Birth Date: 12 Dec 1921
Death Date: 28 Nov 1943
How Died: Kia
Where Died: Italy
Where Buried:
Rank: Pfc
Branch: Army

Kia=Killed in Action
Dow=Died of Wounds
Dod=Died of Disease
Mia=Missing in Action


Richard Carlson

The date is December 12, 1921. The air is cold, snow covers the ground, and no one realizes that a true American hero is to be born on this day. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Richard Dewayne Carlson first enters the world. Two months later, his life will change when he is adopted by Richard and Edith Carlson. This American hero lives his childhood years with five other siblings, Archie Phelps, Dorothy Carlson, Leon Carlson, Donald Carlson, and Herbert Carlson.

Richard grew up close to Ray Pribbenou, who he considered his best friend. Richard attended Lincoln High School. He developed the nickname of ďCarpĒ, and from his yearbook one can deduct that he was admired by his peers. Richard gained the respect of his classmates throughout high school, by participating in many sports, including boxing, football, and hockey. During his driving days, Carp drove around town in his prestigious Model A Ford, which he was very proud of.

Richard was employed by Consolidated Papers after high school. When Richard decided to enlist in the Army, he did so with his best buddy, Ray Pribbenou. Richard appeared to be gung-ho about becoming a soldier for the United States. He had a girlfriend, Lucille Bell Schmidt. In his letters home, it was clear that Richard intended to marry Lucille; sadly, however, Richard would never have the chance.

Private Carlson joined the U.S. Army in August, 1941. He consistently wrote home to his family, and wished greatly that he would receive more mail himself. In his letters, Richard always began with the same line, ďJust a few lines to let you know I am OK and hope you are the same.Ē He talked about the war, and where he happened to be stationed. Never did he forget to mention Lucille, the girl he loved.

On November 28, 1943, Richard was killed in action, after being struck by a land mine, in defense of his country. Within two weeks, his family received the following message through telegram:

The Secretary of War desires me to express his deep regret that your son Private Richard D. Carlson was killed in action in defense of his country on 28 November in Italy. Ulio the Adjutant General

Throughout the next month, his family members received Christmas cards that Richard had written before he passed away. These cards exhibited nothing but overwhelming love and cheerfulness. This included a card from the 40th Engineers in Italy which wished all of the world, the free and oppressed, a Merry Christmas.

The last letter to be received was a letter that Richard wrote to his parents on October 24, 1943. This letter was the last Richard wrote to his family or friends.

Dearest Mother and Dad,

Just a few lines today to answer the letter I received the other night. I sure was glad to hear from you folks, the first I heard from you in almost two months. I have written you and Lucille quite a lot but I guess the mail is slow at times. But donít worry because I take as good care of myself as possible. My back is pretty good now buy my knee is stiff, I have to walk stiff legged. Iíve been off work for almost 7 weeks. But the medical Captain said it would be O.K. but it would take time to get well. I have been exceptionally busy that last month and havenít had time to do anything. Iím sorry I canít tell you where I am or anything concerning the war. But as long as you get letters you will know I am alright. About that allotment I have been having it taken out since June, but I will see the Company Clerk and find out about it and let you know. I thought I was going home. But now I will look into it. So Leon got his questionnaire I sure hope he doesnít have to go across. Because it isnít so sweet over here, and I just hope I get home before next fall. I am sure glad to hear that you folks had a good garden this year. It sure will help a lot this winter, wonít it? So you are going to move in town. That sure is swell. Didnít I tell you we should have stayed on 11th Street ha ha! Say mother if you can will you send me some air mail envelopes and stamps. I told Lucille to send me some ink and a pen, because I lost everything I owned and canít get any stuff. Tell Herb I got him and Don a little present but I canít send it. So when I get a chance I will. Well say hello to all the folks and tell Lucille you heard from me. Give my love to dad, the boys and Grandpa. Well goodbye and write soon.

As Ever Your Loving Son, Richard

After giving the supreme sacrifice for his country, Richard was honored with the Purple Heart on January 14, 1943. He also received the American Legion Gold Star Citation on December 22, 1943. The last sentence of this award states ďThis death occurred so that others might live.Ē Richard died in order to let others continue their own journey through life. He realized that although his journey may end, the others may live on for many more years. Five years later, Richardsí remains were transported back to the U.S., and he received a proper burial, which all of his family and friends attended.

Richard cannot be considered dead, however. He lives inside every soldier to this day. His lives in the wind, he lives in sunlight. He watches us all, and makes sure that we take the proper trails on our journey of life. Private Richard Carlson gave the ultimate sacrifice, inspiring all of us, and we identify him as a true American hero.

Written by: Matt Stoltz, East Junior High School


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