Date of Interview
Lester Osvold was born 24 August 1921 on a farm near Randall, Morrison County, Minnesota. One of twelve children, he lived with his family during the 1930s on several rented farms in the Brainerd area. After a year with his family in Arkansas (1937-38), Lester hitchhiked back to Minnesota and ultimately ended up at a CCC camp in northern Minnesota, where he remained until the end of 1941. He was working at Diamond Match in Cloquet in October 1942 when he was drafted into the US Army. Lester did Basic Training at Camp Roberts, California, and then was assigned to the 104th Engineer Combat Battalion, Ft. Ord, California. With this unit, Lester participated in the reoccupation of Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands (July 1943); landings at Eniwetok and Majuro Atolls, Marshall Islands (February 1944); the invasion of Leyte, Philippines (October 1944); and the invasion of Okinawa (April 1945). Lesterâ€™s duties included loading and unloading ships, driving trucks, and repairing roads, at times under dangerous conditions. Lesterâ€™s unit was stationed on Okinawa, preparing for the forthcoming invasion of Japan, when the Pacific war ended in August 1945. Lester then returned to the US, where he was discharged in November 1945 with the rank of tech sergeant. Back in Minnesota, Lester settled in the Cloquet area, got married (wife Vivian), and raised four sons. He took a job with Northwest Paper (later Potlatch, then Sappi); he retired in 1984 with 35 years of service. Lester remained active with VFW Post 3979, Cloquet, and enjoyed several hobbies as well as his eleven grandchildren. He passed away on 15 March 2006, aged 83.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Lester Osvold" (2002). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 158.