Arlo L. Olson Medal of Honor citation

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR (Posthumously) to

CAPTAIN

ARLO L. OLSON

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Captain (Infantry) Arlo L. Olson (ASN: 0-386969), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, in action at the Volturno River, Italy. On 13 October 1943, when the drive across the Volturno River began, Captain Olson and his company spearheaded the advance of the regiment through 30 miles of mountainous enemy territory in 13 days. Placing himself at the head of his men, Captain Olson waded into the chest-deep water of the raging Volturno River and despite pointblank machine-gun fire aimed directly at him made his way to the opposite bank and threw two hand grenades into the gun position, killing the crew. When an enemy machinegun 150 yards distant opened fire on his company, Captain Olson advanced upon the position in a slow, deliberate walk. Although five German soldiers threw hand grenades at him from a range of five yards, Captain Olson dispatched them all, picked up a machine pistol and continued toward the enemy. Advancing to within 15 yards of the position he shot it out with the foe, killing nine and seizing the post. Throughout the next 13 days Captain Olson led combat patrols, acted as company No. 1 scout and maintained unbroken contact with the enemy. On 27 October 1943, Captain Olson conducted a platoon in attack on a strongpoint, crawling to within 25 yards of the enemy and then charging the position. Despite continuous machinegun fire which barely missed him, Captain Olson made his way to the gun and killed the crew with his pistol. When the men saw their leader make this desperate attack they followed him and overran the position. Continuing the advance, Captain Olson led his company to the next objective at the summit of Monte San Nicola. Although the company to his right was forced to take cover from the furious automatic and small arms fire, which was directed upon him and his men with equal intensity, Captain Olson waved his company into a skirmish line and despite the fire of a machinegun which singled him out as its sole target led the assault which drove the enemy away. While making a reconnaissance for defensive positions, Captain Olson was fatally wounded. Ignoring his severe pain, this intrepid officer completed his reconnaissance, Supervised the location of his men in the best defense positions, refused medical aid until all of his men had been cared for, and died as he was being carried down the mountain.


Born: Apr. 20, 1918, Greenville, Iowa… Killed in action on Oct. 28, 1943… Medal presented to his widow Mrs. Myna Olson at Camp Ban Dorn, Miss. on September 16, 1944… Interred: Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minn.

Author: Real American Heroes

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