Olson, Harvey Sigurd
B: 12 Dec 1920, Lake Bronson, MN
D: 06 Sep 2002, Kittson Memorial Nursing Home, Hallock, MN
Buried: Riverside Cemetery, Lake Bronson, MN
M: 06 Mar 1946, Arlet Measel

FN: Herbert Olson
MN: Ida Hanson

Children of Harvey Olson and Arlet Measel:

Patti Olson
M: Rick Sele

Rita Larson
M: Bob Anderson

Children of Rita and the late Roy Larson:

Kevin Larson
M: Michelle

Jeffrey Larson
M:

Greg Larson
M:

Paul Olson (Pastor)
M: Carol Stuart

Curtis Olson

Terry Olson
M: Sandy

Children of Terry Olson:

Dylan Olson

Mason Olson

Jaggar Olson


See article in Kittson County Enterprise, Nov. 13, 2002 about Harvey receiving the Silver Star for gallantry in action on the German Front from Maj. Gen. Lawton Collins during a ceremony in Belgium. He also received two Purple Heart medals for receiving wounds during the battle crossing the Rhine River.

See article in Kittson County Enterprise, Nov. 13, 2002. Became one of the first four amphibious soldiers to land on French soil on DDAY, June 6, 1944. Armed only with a knife and swimming to mark the beaches with flashlights, his landing on Iles St Marcouf off the coast of Utah beach earned him the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the invasion of fortress Europe. He received two Purple Heart medals at the battle of Mortain and at the battle of Villedieu. Fought in the Hurtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and crossing the Rhine River. Re-enlisted and served with the 8th Ranger Battalion in Korea, which disbanded due to heavy casualities. Retired in 1963 after 22 years of service.

In Columbia, S.C., as a part of the 4th Cavalry reunion at Ft. Jackson in 1994 in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, a plaque and a tree was planted at Heise Pond in honor of these "4 Horsemen". Here is what the inscription on the plaque reads:

Dedicated to the memory of the first Americans to land on French soil, D Day, June 6, 1944.

CPL HARVEY S. OLSEN, TROOP A, 4TH CAVALRY
PVT THOMAS C. ELLERAN, TROOP A, 4TH CAVALRY
SGT JOHN W. ZANDERS, TROOP B, 4TH CAVALRY
CPL MELVIN F. KENZIE, TROOP B, 4TH CAVALRY

These four brave men swam ashore at 0430 (2 hours before the invasion) armed only with knives to secure and mark the beaches for the landing of troops on the St. Marcouf Islands. These islands had to be secured before the landings at Utah Beach could begin at 0630. Harvey was inducted on Doolittle's Woodfire Grill's Wall of Heroes in Fargo, ND on February 22, 2004. Harvey's great nephew, Shane Olson, wrote an essay about Harvey, and was one of the 5 chosen to be read live on air on KFGO radio in Fargo, and to be inducted premanantly on the Wall of Heroes.

 

MORE -

The Doolittle's Woodfire Grill's Wall of Heroes Dedication Ceremony took place on Sunday, February 22, 2004, in Fargo, North Dakota. Shane Olson recently wrote an essay about his Uncle Harvey Olson of Lake Bronson and was one of the five selected to be read live on KFGO radio on December 17th, 2003. As part of Doolittle's weeklong Grand Opening celebration, a short awards luncheon was held Sunday afternoon when the Wall of Heroes was unveiled. All 18 entrants for the Wall of Heroes were included. For the winning essay entry, Shane was awarded a $100 donation to any charity of his choosing. Shane is donating the money to the Halma-Lake Bronson Sons of American Legion Post War Memorial Fund in Harvey's name.

Here is Shane's winning essay...."Lake Bronson, Minnesota's, 4th Cavalry Reconnaissance Sgt. Harvey Olson, armed only with a knife and swimming to mark beaches of Iles St Marcouf, became the first man to amphibiously land on French soil on D-DAY at 0430 Hours and was awarded the Silver Star for this mission during the invasion of fortress Europe. Harvey's heroics of fighting in the bloodiest battle of WWII, Hurtgen Forest, and awarded two Purple Heart's at the battles of Mortain and Vielldieu; weren't enough as he re-enlisted with the 8th Ranger battalion in the Korean War and was a career man, retiring with 22 years service."

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Harvey S. Olson may have been the first soldier to land by sea on French soil the morning of D-Day. Before dawn, he and three other commandoes of the 4th Cavalry swam ashore on St. Marcouf island off Utah beach. Later in the day, he and his comrades were among the first to link up with the airborne troops fighting inland from Utah.

The article below was written by Shane Olson, Harvey's great-nephew. Shane says, ""I am very proud of my Uncle Harvey for the nearly countless times that he almost gave the supreme sacrifice, as well as Harvey's father, who was also my Great Grandpa Herbert, who nearly died at St. Mihiel, France in WWI and Harvey's brothers Ivan and Lloyd, my Grandpa Luverne who fought in other battles, so that we can remain free. Because of them, and my other Grandpa, Richard "Dick" Weiler, who was a medic with the 381st Infantry of the 96th Division, who nearly lost his life on Okinawa, I am devoted to the Sons of American Legion and getting Harvey's story told."

At 4:30 AM on D-Day, Corporal Harvey S. Olson, Private Tommy Killeran, Sergeant John W. Zanders and Corporal Melvin F. Kenzie of the 4th Cavalry swam ashore on the Iles St. Marcouf. On the left is the actual newspaper clippings from the 1944 Lake Bronson Budget. Below is the overall account of the action from Utah Beach to Cherbourg.

The Seaborne Assault: Task U Moves In

While parachutists attempted to assemble in the labyrinth of the Normandy hedgerows and marshes, troops aboard transports prepared to transfer into landing craft for the assault on the beach. At 0430 (H minus 2 hours)

detachments of the 4th and 24th Cavalry Squadrons under Lt. Col. E. C. Dunn landed on the Iles St. Marcouf to capture what was suspected to be a hostile observation post or casemate for mine-field control. Prior to the landing four men armed only with knives swam to what was supposedly an enemy-held shore to mark the beaches. No enemy was encountered, although both islands were found to be heavily mined and some casualties were suffered. All elements of the detachment (numbering 132 men) were ashore and the island occupied by 0530.

In 1996 Harvey Olson, of Lake Bronson, Minnesota was interviewed by the Karlstad North Star News and he talked about one of his buddies Tommy Killeran. They volunteered for a hazardous mission, in which they practiced

with the Navy. Day after day, they were taken out several miles, by what Harvey referred to as a real "hot shot Navy man" and dumped off the boat to swim to mock up beaches in preparation for when the D-Day invasion would take place. He talked about going ashore with only a knife and flashlight and the first man he saw killed that morning after Harvey handed him a rifle. His name was John Onken .

In Columbia, S.C., as a part of the 4th Cavalry reunion at Ft. Jackson in 1994 in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, a plaque and a tree was planted at Heise Pond in honor of these "4 Horsemen". Here is what the inscription on the plaque reads:

Dedicated to the memory of the first Americans to land on French soil, D Day, June 6, 1944.

CPL HARVEY S. OLSEN, TROOP A, 4TH CAVALRY

PVT THOMAS C. ELLERAN, TROOP A, 4TH CAVALRY

SGT JOHN W. ZANDERS, TROOP B, 4TH CAVALRY

CPL MELVIN F. KENZIE, TROOP B, 4TH CAVALRY

These four brave men swan ashore at 0430 (2 hours before the invasion) armed only with knives to secure and mark the beaches for the landing of troops on the St. Marcouf Islands. These islands had to be secured before the landings at Utah Beach could begin at 0630.

Later that morning Harvey fought at Utah Beach and was one of the 4th Cavalry troops to link up with the 82nd Airborne. He talked about this fact in his 1996 North Star News interview. Harvey was always at the frontlines because after carrying out his first mission on D-Day, he was attached with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions throughout the rest of the war in battles such as Hurtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge and crossing the Rhine River into Germany. Harvey was awarded the Purple Heart at the battle of Mortain and at the battle of Vielldieu from grenade shrapnel with Oak Leaf Clusters for wounds received. All of these were at the very frontlines, all major battles in the European Theater of WWII. After the war, he returned home, but then volunteered and fought with the 8th Ranger Battalion in Korea, which Harvey said had heavy causalities and later joining a tank outfit. After the Korean War he became an MP until his retirement.

NARRATIVE FOR AWARD OF SILVER STAR MEDAL

Sgt. Harvey S. Olson, Troop A, 4th Cavalry Reconnaisance Squadron, Mechanized

On June 6, 1944, Sgt. Olson with one companion, displaying the highest courage in the face of unknown dangers, became one of the first American Soldiers of the ground forces to land on French soil. He volunteered for the mission of the landing on D-DAY on the .....(should read Iles St Marcouf) a strategically placed island commanding the beach where assault was to be made. Sgt. Olson and his companion paddled through heavy surf and mined waters in a small two-man rubber boat to within 100 yards of the island.

Sgt. Olson then destroyed his craft by slashing it open, and swam the remaining distance armed only with a knife. Once on the island, which was heavily covered with anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, Sgt. Olson and his companion signaled the assault forces and marked the beach with lights. The skill and courage with which he carried out his hazardous assignment, made possible the successful landing on schedule of his detachment; denying the use of the island to the enemy. This was a vital factor in the opening phase of fortress Europe.

Harvey retired from the Army in 1963. He lived in Lake Bronson, MN, with his wife Arlet until his death on September 6, 2002, after a long battle with failing health.

My Uncle Harv should have his own little corner in the Education Center of the D-Day Memorial as well as the D-Day Museum in New Orleans along with the thousands of stories and displays!

See article in Kittson County Enterprise, Nov. 13, 2002. Became one of the first four amphibious soldiers to land on French soil on DDAY, June 6, 1944. Armed only with a knife and swimming to mark the beaches with flashlights, his landing on Iles St Marcouf off the coast of Utah beach earned him the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the invasion of fortress Europe and see the photo of him receiving his Silver Star from Maj. Gen. Lawton Collins during a ceremony in Belgium. He received two Purple Heart medals at the battle of Mortain and at the battle of Villedieu. Fought in the Hurtgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and crossing the Rhine River. Re-enlisted and served with the 8th Ranger Battalion in Korea, which disbanded due to heavy casualities. Retired in 1963 after 22 years of service.

Submitted by:

Shane Olson
Halma, Minnesota