A Soldier's Story: Captain Arlo Laverne Olson


Captain Arlo Laverne Olson was born on April 20, 1918, in Greenville, Iowa. He moved to Toronto, South Dakota, with his family when he was 10. Captain Arlo Laverne Olson attended Toronto High School and earned his Eagle Scout. After his 1936 graduation, he enrolled in the University of South Dakota, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and the ROTC program.

He graduated in the spring of 1940 and was immediately called to active duty with the US Army in response to the troop build-up for WWII.

Captain Arlo Laverne Olson was assigned to the 15th Infantry Regiment and deployed to Italy.  

On October 13, 1943, Captain Arlo Laverne Olson led his unit across the Volturno River, intending to take the summit of Monte San Nicola.  He and his men were under heavy fire. Captain  Arlo Laverne Olson earned a Congressional Medal of Honor by leading offensive forrays against enemy troops, where Captain Arlo Laverne Olson returned live grenades thrown at his men and attacked enemy strongholds.  On October 27, 1943, near the summit and severely wounded, Captain Arlo Laverne Olson secured defensive positions for his men before allowing himself to be medically evacuated.  He died on October 28, 1943, during his rescue.

He rests at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Toronto, South Dakota, has also created a memorial for Captain Arlo Laverne Olson on the corner of Dakota Street and Louis and Clark Ave.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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