Born in Chicago to Swedish immigrants, Carl Lennart “Len” Thorson grew up in Nebraska. The Army drafted Thorson in February 1941. He went to Wyoming before serving with the 134th Medical Detachment, 35th Division of the Nebraska National Guard. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Thorson went to California to guard against a possible Japanese invasion as well as finish his medical training. There, he married Geraldine Pieper in 1942.
Thorson’s division arrived in England, landing at Omaha Beach a month after D-Day. Thorson saw combat for the next few months as the Allied forces advanced. He was near St. Lo for four days in the fighting to secure Hill 122, a high point over the town. In September 1944, friendly mortar fire injured Thorson. Sustaining a shrapnel wound to the head, Thorson lay on the ground for nearly 10 hours before receiving care. Thorson needed a metal plate put in his head because of this injury. He eventually returned to the U.S. for recovery.
Thorson honorably discharged in September 1945 at the rank of staff sergeant. During his service, Thorson received a Bronze Star Medal, a Purple Heart and various campaign medals.
After his discharge, he and Geraldine worked in Colorado Springs and Mitchell for a few years. They later bought a farm in Hay Springs where they raised a family. Thorson was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. He was also a parishioner at two local Catholic churches. After 57 years of marriage, Geraldine passed in 1999. Thorson passed away in January 2013 at the age of 95.
We honor his service.
More can be learned about his story at the Veteran’s History Project at: https://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.43134/
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Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Editor: Michelle Cannon
Fact checker: Vivian Hurney