Pvt. William J. Bremer

Published in today’s St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Pvt. William J. Bremer died in World War II. Now a Forest Lake teen researcher is telling his story

May 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

On June 6, 1944 — D-Day — more than 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches in German-occupied France to start one of the most famous battles in history: the invasion of Normandy.

Pvt. William J. Bremer was not among them.

The complete piece is available here:

http://www.twincities.com/2017/05/28/forest-lake-teen-to-tell-world-war-ii-veterans-story/

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The Letter – Part II

It was two weeks after sending a letter to Sr. Louise, I was in the middle of a typical day of conference calls when my personal mobile phone began to vibrate. Other than a Wisconsin area code, the number calling wasn’t recognizable to me, and I let the call ring through to voicemail. In the hours before I had an opportunity to check my voicemail built the anticipation of hearing the weathered voice of a 90-year old providing the missing pieces of the mystery of Arnold Rahe. The kind voice on the message was not Sr. Louise, but someone calling from the convent. The voice was calling on “the behalf of Sr. Louise Rahe (pron. “Ray”), the sister of Arnold “Bud” Rahe.” The voice went on that Sr. Louise wanted me to know that she received my letter and information on Arnold “Bud” Rahe was on its way.  A few days later a letter arrived. Inside the handwritten envelope were six typewritten pages with the artifacts showing the effects of photocopy after photocopy. In the pages told the story of the friendly fire incidents in July of 1944, and the Rahe family story of The Letter.

In July of 1965, Bud’s mother, Clara, was looking through the box of his personal effects among which was a scrap of paper, or so she thought, yellow with age. She was about to dispose of it, but, on second through opened it. To her surprise she found a type written letter folded into size two and one half by four inches which was the size of Bud’s military prayerbook and also one of his personal effects.

Why had the letter not been found earlier? Conclusion: Owing to the fact that the prayerbook was badly bloodstained which had caused the pages to stick together, Clara never opened it. This is understandable, since the blood was that of her blood and it would have been very painful for her to try to page through it.

It is quite a coincidence that Bud’s father, John, had never read the letter, but his last gesture as he was dying on December 16, 1950 was to raise his eyes heavenward, lift his arms upward, and with a radiant smile said, “Bud, I’m coming!” Why a coincidence? Bud had written, “… now I do my part for you and await your coming to me.” Prophetic? No doubt about it.

Along with the story of how The Letter was discovered twenty-one years after Bud Rahe’s death was the original text not published in the  The 50 Greatest Letters from America’s Wars and The Mammoth Book of War Letters & Diaries publications. Regardless, Sgt. Rahe’s raw words conveying his fear, devotion to his family and his faith stand the test of the time.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Strange thing about this letter; if I am alive a month from now you will not receive it, for its coming to you will mean that after my twenty-sixth birthday God has decided I’ve been on earth long enough and He wants me to come up and take the examination for permanent service with Him. It’s hard to write a letter like this; there are a million and one things I want to say; there are so many I ought to say if this is the last letter I ever write to you. I’m telling you that I love you two so very much; not one better than the other but absolutely equally. Some things a man can never thank his parents enough for. They come to be taken for granted through the years: care when you are a child, and countless favors as he grows up. I am recalling now all your prayers, your watchfulness — all the sacrifices that were made for me when sacrifice was a real thing and not just a word to be used in speeches. I know how you had to do things to put me through school. You through I didn’t realize these things, but I did.

For any and all grief I caused you in this 26 years, I’m most heartily sorry. I know that I can never make up for those little hurts and real wounds, but maybe if God permits me to be with Him above, I can help out there. It’s a funny thing about this mission, but I don’t think I’ll come back alive. Call it an Irishman’s hunch or a pre-sentiment or whatever you will. I believe it is Our Lord and His Blessed Mother giving me a tip to be prepared. In the event that I am killed you can have the consolation of knowing that it was in the “line of duty” to my country. I am saddened because I shall not be with you in your life’s later years, but until we meet I want you to know that I die as I tried to live, the way you taught me. Life has turned out different from the way we planned it, and at twenty-six I die with many things to live for, but the loss of the few remaining years unlived together is as nothing compared to the eternity to which we go, and it will be well worth while if I give my life to help cure a sickened world, and if you and I can help spare our mothers and fathers and younger generations from the griefs of war.

As I prepare for this last mission, I am a bit homesick. I have been at other times when I thought of you, when I lost a friend, when I wondered when and how this war would end. But, the whole world is homesick! I have never written like this before, even though I have been through the “valley of the shadows” many times, but this night, Mother and Dad, you are so very close to me and I long so to talk to you. I think of you and of home. America has asked much of our generation, but I am glad to give her all I have because she has given me so much.

I could write pages and never get said all I want to But whatever happens we shall never be split up, for through our prayers we shall always be together. So, Mother and Dad, bravely change my star from blue to gold, and I do hope my brother’s star will keep shining blue until the day of peace. Pray for me, be proud of me, for I am proud of you. As you have done through the years for me, so now I do my part for you and await your coming to me. The Soldier and I shall be standing by your side to support and comfort you when the message comes… WE REGRET TO INFORM YOU.. The Mother of the Soldier will also be there to sustain and comfort you, for she is the Mother of all soldiers.

Goodnight, dear Mother and Dad. God love you.

Your loving son,

Bud (Arnold)

 

– Thank you to Sr. Louise for your assistance.

 


From the Cornfields to the Hedgerows Soldiers

Sgt. Arnold (Bud) A. Rahe

Hometown: Dubuque, IA

Born: October 26, 1917
Died: July 24, 1944
Unit: Co. G, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
Awarded: Purple Heart
Battle: Sgt. Rahe was killed in the Friendly Fire incident in Normandy, France. .
Buried: Plot H Row 20 Grave 15 Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer, France
 
Sgt. Rahe was one of five children born to John and Clare Rahe of New Vienna, IA, near Dubuque. 
 
More information about Sgt. Rahe
 
Find-a-Grave

Post Script

The question of why there was confusion over Sgt Rahe’s service was not solved in my research. A common sense analysis points out a few plausible reasons for inaccuracies in the historical artifacts.

– Many of the references to Sgt Rahe had him as a member of the Army Air Forces. Why? Looking at the August 23, 1944 news clipping reporting Sgt Rahe’s death, the sub-heading reads “Announce Air Medal Award to Missing Dubuquer.” The Air Medal Award was given for meritorious achievement in air battle. The sub-heading in the news clipping actually refers to a Lt. Robert Lundin of the Army Air Forces who was missing in action. A plausible explanation that a careful researcher perhaps misread the sub-header to assume Sgt. Rahe received the Air Medal Award, assuming he was in the US Army Air Forces.

The Letter – Part I

The Discovery

I discovered Dubuque County, Iowa’s Arnold A. Rahe in blogging about the Friendly Fire  incident in July of 1944. The post recounted the tragic friendly fire incidents July 24th and 25th 1944. In listing the men from the upper Midwest killed in this tragedy, I can across an interesting Find A Grave page for Sgt. Arnold A. Rahe. The page seemed to confirm that this was the Sgt Rahe from Iowa and killed in action on July 24, 1944. The tribute page added a bit of intrigue, as it included touching quote attributed to Sgt. Rahe of the US Army Air Forces. Inaccuracies in birth dates, date of death, and where the men were killed are quite common in researching the WWII generation. However, confusing the branch of service is not a common inaccuracy. The ABMC.gov listing is as close to an official record listed by the US Government and happens to list Sgt. Rahe as an infantry man with the 30th Infantry Division at the time of his death.

The search for Sgt. Rahe using words quoted from the Find a Grave page resulted in in the first indication to me that I was not the only person to be touched by these words. Further searches found that these quotes were part of something much bigger. Several hits quoting these words are inscribed at the US Air Force memorial in Washington, DC. Subsequent searches discovered The Letter in what I thought was its entirety. I found the letter touching and provided a heart wrenching reminder of the real meaning of the Memorial Day holiday. This remarkable letter was published in two separate books, The 50 Greatest Letters from America’s Wars and The Mammoth Book of War Letters & Diaries. Neither book provided clear insight into who Rahe was, including his service and rank. The Mammoth Book simply called out Arnold Rahe, USAAF, no rank, and referenced that the letter was written in September 1943 in England. The 50 Greatest Letters, provided a preface to the letter, theorizing that a Sgt. Arnold Rahe has been shot down after a mission in Germany in October 1943.

The poignancy of the letter and the mystery in the facts were just enough to pique my interest in tracking down who Sgt. Rahe was if he was the Bud (Arnold) Rahe were one in the same.

The Trail to Sgt. Rahe

The Google Newspaper Archives are a wealth of history and information from many city newspapers across not only the United States, but the world can be found in the archives, including the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald from 1944. News did not travel fast in 1944. When soldiers were killed, their families often were not notified for weeks, followed by a news story in the hometown paper featuring the military personnel photo. As Rahe was killed on July 24, 1944, the search through the July and August 1944 archives of the Telegraph-Herald turned up results in the August 23, 1944 edition.

Under the headline of Paris’s liberation, John and Clara Rahe were mourning the death of their son Sgt. Arnold A. Rahe. The story was familiar, but no mention of his last letter to his parents. The trail to learn if Sgt Rahe was the Bud (Arnold) Rahe who wrote The Letter suddenly ran cold. Could there be another Arnold Rahe who was killed in World War II? With the conflicting information, perhaps the surviving members of Sgt Rahe’s family would be the only ones who would truly know. Quick searches of Sgt Rahe’s brother and sisters brought me towards an obituary for his sister Rose. The obituary identified the last living child of John and Clara Rahe, his sister, a nun living in Wisconsin. I took the leap of faith, reached out to Sr. Rahe and the story of The Letter took a remarkable turn.

 

Memorial Day

Private Arnold Rahe was credited for this letter published in the 2002 book The 50 Greatest Letters from America’s Wars – edited by David H Lowenherz. Rahe’s letter, credited to be written during the allied liberation of France during World War II, embodies the love of his parents by a young man who was all too aware of his destiny. Without a doubt, this glimpse into the soul of a soldier in the field captures the humanity surrounded by inhumanity helps us understand the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Dear Mom and Dad,

Strange thing about this letter; if I am alive a month from now you will not receive it, for its coming to you will mean that after my twenty-sixth birthday God has decided I’ve been on earth long enough and He wants me to come up and take the examination for permanent service with Him. It’s hard to write a letter like this; there are a million and one things I want to say; there are so many I ought to say if this is the last letter I ever write to you. I’m telling you that I love you two so very much; not one better than the other but absolutely equally. Some things a man can never thank his parents enough for; they come to be taken for granted through the years; care when you are a child, and countless favors as he grows up. I am recalling now all your prayers, your watchfulness — all the sacrifices that were made for me when sacrifice was a real thing and not just a word to be used in speeches.

For any and all grief I caused you in this 26 years, I’m most heartily sorry. I know that I can never make up for those little hurts and real wounds, but maybe if God permits me to be with Him above, I can help out there. It’s a funny thing about this mission, but I don’t think I’ll come back alive. Call it an Irishman’s hunch or a pre-sentiment or whatever you will. I believe it is Our Lord and His Blessed Mother giving me a tip to be prepared. In the event that I am killed you can have the consolation of knowing that it was in the “line of duty” to my country. I am saddened because I shall not be with you in your life’s later years, but until we meet I want you to know that I die as I tried to live, the way you taught me. Life has turned out different from the way we planned it, and at 26 I die with many things to live for, but the loss of the few remaining years unlived together is as nothing compared to the eternity to which we go.

As I prepare for this last mission, I am a bit homesick. I have been at other times when I thought of you, when I lost a friend, when I wondered when and how this war would end. But, the whole world is homesick! I have never written like this before, even though I have been through the “valley of the shadows” many times, but this night, Mother and Dad, you are so very close to me and I long so to talk to you. I think of you and of home. America has asked much of our generation, but I am glad to give her all I have because she has given me so much.

Goodnight, dear Mother and Dad. God love you.

Your loving son,

(Bud) Arnold Rahe

—-

Sgt. Arnold A. Rahe from Dubuque, IA was killed in action July 24, 1944 near St. Lo, France on the first of two successive days of horrific friendly fire incidents decimated the 120th Regiment of the 30th Infantry division. Sgt. Rahe was 26 years of age. Sgt. Rahe was listed as Arnold (Bud) Rahe in the 2002 obituary for his sister Rose. The above letter was attributed Pvt. Arnold Rahe of the Army Air Forces. Sgt. Rahe’s story will be told as the details of his service are uncovered.

Friendly Fire

The July 26, 1944 edition of The Daily Iowan read:

1,500 Allied Bombers Hit 10-Square Miles On Normandy Front

The carpet bombing mission to soften up the German defenses near St. Lo had begun. The objective of carpet bombing is to obliterate every inch of a selected position. Hundreds and thousands of bombs are dropped in succession on the position to bomb the enemy into submission. Operation Cobra was Gen. Omar Bradley’s plan to pierce a hole in the German position west of St. Lo, allowing the Allies to breakthrough and advance south. The plan called for the carpet bombing of a ten square mile area to allow Gen. George Patton’s Third Army to roll south. Normandy’s unpredictable June weather delayed the launch of Operation Cobra from July 18 until July 24. Even then, the operation was called off, but not before a handful of bombers had dropped their bombs. However, these bombers made a fatal mistake. They dropped the bombs short, on to the members of the 30th Infantry Division holding their positions.

Positions on July 24th, 1944 Source: http://www.oldhickory30th.com

25 men of the 30th Infantry Division were killed, 131 were wounded. Many were assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 120th Regiment, including Pvt. Reuben Wacker of Wahpeton, ND & Sgt. Arnold A. Rahe from Dubuque, Iowa

The next day, Operation Cobra was launched with full fury. 1,500 allied bombers unleashing a carpet bombing operation to pierce the enemy lines. As Gen. Omar Bradley awaited nervously at his allied headquarters the results of the bombing campaign, he was handed a note by his staff officer who grimly added, “They’ve done it again.” Bradley cried out “Oh Christ, not another short drop?

They’d done it again.  In a 1992 report “Friendly Fire: The Inevitable Price” Charles R. Shrader detailed how the Operation Cobra bombings went wrong.

Although the weather improved on 25 July, short bombing again took a heavy toll and nearly wrecked the offensive. No less than three formations of heavy bombers dropped their loads on friendly positions. In one case a lead bombardier made a visual release after failing to synchronize his bomb sight, and 12 B-24’s thus dropped their bombs within friendly lines. Another group of 11 B-24s dropped their fragmentation bombs on friendly troops when the lead bombardier failed to identify the target properly and released his bombs at the point where the bombs of a previous strike, made in error, were seen to explode. In another instance, a command pilot, believing that the bombing was to be by wing rather than by group, ordered bombs away while his bombardier was still sighting for range. Forty-two medium bombers also failed to identify their targets properly through the thick smoke and dropped their bombs on friendly positions.

July 25th, 1944 Operation Cobra Bombing Source: http://www.oldhickory30th.com

The thousands of allied bombs obliterated both enemy and friendly positions on the opening bombing campaign of Operation Cobra. The area in yellow on the above map highlights the area the 9th and 30th Infantry Divisions positions on the 25th of July, 1944. In blue was the intended target drop area. Among the dead was the highest ranking American officer to be killed in combat in the European Theater, Lt. General Lesley McNair of Verndale, MN. McNair was a highly respected infantry man whose was responsible for developing training to be used on the front lines. McNair visited the front lines on July 25th to observe his training in action as Operation Cobra was beginning.

In 2014, a veteran of the 743rd Tank Battalion Cpl. Eston Collins told his story of Lt. General McNair’s death

On July 25th, the 743rd lined up to get ready for the big push. “Our battalion was among those bombed by friendly aircraft which dropped their bombs short of the intended targets.” Sometimes planes would drop explosives too soon and allied troops were bombed. The infantry was known to open fire at the planes during such incidences. On this day, ‘we were sitting on top of our tank watching planes with binoculars. The sky was just full of them. I told an ole boy sitting beside me ‘I’m glad that it’s not us they’re going after.’ In a few minutes, three-star General McNair’s command car came within ten feet of us. We saluted as he passed on the road. He was about sixty feet away from us when the planes open up the bomb bay doors and released their bombs. We jumped in our tanks like a bunch of rats in a hole, but General McNair got killed. There were a lot of the infantry boys that didn’t have anywhere to go.

Veterans like Cpl Collins have surely tried to forget the unimaginable. These infantry men were in their foxholes, looking to the sky above as scores of friendly bombers soared overhead. Their emotions of trepidation ahead of the mission, turn on a dime to extreme fear when the explosions moved closer and closer to their foxholes. There view of the sky was quickly enveloped with massive clouds of dust, smoke, and fire. An utter helplessness and strange isolation surely overcame the men, as even the cries of the dead were likely drown by the sound of the explosions and bombers overhead. The unimaginable feelings of horror, helplessness, and entombed in their foxholes and simply praying that the bombing stops, not caring that they hit their target, just that they stop.


All told, the death toll of the deadly friendly fire incident claimed the lives of 120 soldiers, another 400-plus wounded. For the second time in two days, the 30th Infantry Division was hit hard, nearly decimating the 120th Regiment. The 30th ID was not alone, the 9th Infantry division, and the attached 743rd Tank Battalion and 957th Field Artillery Battalion all felt the pain of the friendly fire.

  • The 30th Infantry Division suffered another 662 casualties,  64 killed, 374 wounded, 60 missing, and 164 with combat fatigue.
  • The 9th Infantry Division, 46 killed,
  • The 957th Field Artillery Battalion  suffered casualties of 13 killed, 22 wounded.
  • The 743rd Tank Battalion 2 killed, 14 wounded

Despite the tragic consequences of the July 25th bombing, Operation Cobra achieved its military objective. The enemy line was pierced and the allies began their breakout from Normandy inland towards Paris. The shock from that day led Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to vow (later to relent) to never use heavy bombers to support ground operations again. (Shrader)


Headlines such as these were carefully controlled by the war department. The Internet did not exist, twenty-four-by-seven cable news outlets were still decades away from being coming into their own. Right, wrong or indifferent, the American public was spoon fed information about what was happening on the front. But no headline could sugarcoat horror for the sixteen Midwestern soldiers buried in the Normandy American Cemetery.

Cornfields to the Hedgerows Soldiers

Iowa
Private Robert E. Burnes 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
 Sergeant Arnold A. Rahe 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
Private Robert  Seddon 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
Minnesota
Private First Class Leslie L. Dudas 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Private First Class Raymond H. Hanson 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
 Lt. General Lesley James McNairVerndale’s Most Famous Citizen Army Ground Forces
Private First Class Kenneth C. Tibbetts 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Private First Class Arnold W. Voth 957th Field Artillery Battalion
North Dakota
Staff Sergeant Leo F. Baumgartner 957th Field Artillery Battalion
Technician Fifth Class Lloyd J. O. McLean 957th Field Artillery Battalion
Staff Sergeant Julius A. Skavlan 957th Field Artillery Battalion
Private Reuben  Wacker 119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
South Dakota
Sergeant John M. Peterson 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division
  Technician Fifth Class Karl W. Wegehaupt 957th Field Artillery Battalion
Wisconsin
 Private Edward D. Dodge 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Private First Class Donovan A. Petts 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division

 

Tractors to Tanks Part VI – The Norman County Boys – C Company 743rd Tank Battalion

The American War Library estimates that friendly fire resulted in 21% of US military deaths in world war II.  Although Allied air power ruled the sky over Normandy in August 1944, the margin for error in discharging bombs intended for enemy positions was razor thin. The smallest miscalculation caused by weather or human error ended with tragic results. The 743rd Tank Battalion escaped catastrophic harm in friendly bombings on both July 24 and 25 of 1944. However on August 8th, the 743rd’s good fortune ended, marking the first of three friendly fire incidents to impact the 743rd.

On August 8th, near Mortain, France, RAF Hawker Typhoons attacked two Sherman tanks of ‘C’ Company, US 743rd Tank Battalion with rockets, killing 5 tank crewmen and wounding 10 soldiers. Later that day, two Shermans from ‘A’ Company, US 743rd Tank Battalion were destroyed and set ablaze by RAF Typhoons near Mortain. One tank crewman was killed and 12 others wounded. RAF Hawker Typhoons once again fired rockets at Shermans of ‘A’ Company, US 743rd Tank Battalion, near Mortain, France, on August 12 causing damage to one tank and badly injuring 2 tank crewmen. On 23 January 1945, a group of Royal Air Force fighters strafed the assault gun platoon (105mm Sherman tanks) of US 743rd Tank Battalion, near Sart-Lez-St.Vith,Belgium, killing 6 men and wounded 15. (The View from the Turret)

Move Out and Verify conveyed that the battle for the Mortain corridor was as intense as any that the 743rd encountered in the war. The enemy was attempting to make a dash across the Normandy Peninsula to divide the allied forces. A constant barrage of artillery and overhead bombings kept all on edge. After Action Reports are devoid of many of the details we want to know 70 years later, but offer the reader a broad picture of the day’s events. On August 8, 1944 the account of  743rd’s actions was a disjointed 30 lines, uncharacteristically unstructured and random in describing the fast and furious action of the day. Buried in the report were two lines that were all too common in AARs, but only scratched surface of the story of two crewman from Norman County, MN.

Two Tanks knocked out. 1 man-MIA, 1 man WIA, evacuated.

S/SGT Petersen died of wounds in hospital.

The two men of C Company referenced in the AAR are believed to be the Norman County boys, Sgt. Walter Grosfield of Shelly and S/Sgt. Gerard B. Peterson of Perley. UPDATE – Sgt. Grosfield’s IDPF stated that he was identified as missing in action, but was later confirmed as killed in action in the fall of 1944. Sgt. Grosfield was killed in his burning Sherman M4 tank. Initial news clippings of S/Sgt. Petersen’s death indicated he died on August 11, but later official documents (backed by After Action Report journals) confirmed his death on August 8.

4,156 mile miles between Norman County and Mortain, France

While the tiny towns of Perley and Shelly are separated by less than twenty miles, over 4,000 miles separated Norman County, MN from the Norman countryside in France. It is quite easy to imagine these two men sharing stories about life being raised in the Red River Valley, hoping to make it back home where their bond would have surely traveled from the battlefield. Unfortunately both men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

From the Cornfields to the Hedgerows Soldiers

Sgt. Walter Grosfield

Hometown: Shelly, MN

Born: October 14, 1907
Died: August 8, 1944
Unit: Co C, US Army 743rd Tank Battalion
Awarded: Purple Heart
Battle: Sgt. Grosfield was killed in action on August 8, 1944 autside of Mortain, France, likely in a friendly incident.
Buried: Plot H Row 28 Grave 10 Normandy American Cemetery Colleville-sur-Mer, France
 
Sgt. Grosfield was one of five children born to T. J. and Gemalia Grosfield. Sgt. Grofield was preceded in death by his Mother in 1912.
More information about Sgt. Grosfield
Source: Twin Valley Times, October 1944
Moorhead Daily News, October 18, 1944
 

S/Sgt. Gerard B. Petersen

Hometown: Perley, MN

Born: May 1, 1917
Died: August 8, 1944
Unit: Co C, US Army 743rd Tank Battalion
Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart
Battle: S/Sgt. Petersen died of wounds  August 8, 1944 likely in a friendly incident outside of Mortain, France.
Buried: Plot I Row 17 Grave 3, Brittany American Cemetery, St. James, France
 
S/Sgt Petersen was one of six children born to Nels and Bertha Petersen. Petersen was preceded in death by brother, Allen. S/Sgt Petersen received a battlefield commission and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions on D-Day. 
More information about S/Sgt. Petersen
Find-a-Grave
Geniweb 
 
Details of S/Sgt Petersen’s Distingushed Service Cross award

(Citation Needed) – SYNOPSIS: Staff Sergeant Gerard B. Petersen, United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 743d Tank Battalion, attached to the 1st Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, at Normandy, France. Staff Sergeant Petersen’s intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

  • General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 37 (1944)
  • Action Date: 6-Jun-44
  • Service: Army
  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Battalion: 743d Tank Battalion
  • Division: 1st Infantry Division
 
S/Sgt was cited in the August 12, 1944 edition of Stars & Stripes
Source: Moorhead Daily News, Sept 14, 1944