Date of Interview
Ossie Olson was born 21 August 1923 in Warroad, Roseau County, in far northern Minnesota. The youngest son of Norwegian immigrant parents, Ossie attended schools in Warroad and graduated from Warroad High School in 1942. He was working a factory job in St. Paul when in February 1943 he received his induction notice for military service. Drafted into the US Army Air Corps, after Basic Training Ossie ended up in the Signal Corps. He spent time in training at Camp Crowder, Missouri, and then worked stateside in telephone installation and repair. In 1944 Ossie, who had suffered from polio as a child that left him with decreased use of his legs, was re-assigned when he could no longer manage difficult climbing duties. He ended up in training as a tail gunner for B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers, and in April 1945 was shipped overseas to an US Eighth Air Force base near London. Although the war was drawing to a close, Ossie flew several missions over Germany before V-E Day in May 1945. He returned to the US in August 1945 and was discharged in January 1946 with the rank of sergeant. A civilian again, Ossie got married (wife Mildreth Nelson), settled in St. Paul, and raised a family. He worked as a cabinet maker, and for many years was part owner of Pre-Hung Door of Eagan, Minnesota. He retired in 1986. Ossie Olson passed away on 6 January 2009.
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Saylor, Thomas, "Oral History Project World War II Years, 1941-1946 - Ossie Olson" (2002). Oral History Project: World War II Years, 1941-1946. 166.