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Bjorklund Arnold

Arnold Bjorklund
First Lieutenant
Serial Number:
0- 39375753
142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Division
Date of Death:
Washington State
Willamette National Cemetery Portland, Multn
: Section O, Grave 3446
Medal of Honor

From the Tales of Honor Website: Arnold was born on the 14th of April, 1918, in Clinton, Washington, and lived there with his family until the age of 4. His parents had emigrated to the States from Finland and his father was a carpenter. Arnold was one of seven children and the family moved to Seattle where he attended Ballard High School. At the age of 23, he joined the US Army and after completing Basic and Advanced training, he was selected for Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning in Georgia. He completed the school and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in July of 1942 before deploying to Europe with the 36th Infantry Regiment. It was his actions after landing at Salerno and establishing a beachhead that would earn him the Medal of Honor. The CITATION READS: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Altavilla, Italy, September 13, 1943. When his company attacked a German position on Hill 424, the first platoon, led by 1st Lt. Bjorklund, moved forward on the right flank to the slope of the hill where it was pinned down by a heavy concentration of machine gun and rifle fire. Ordering his men to give covering fire, with only 3 hand grenades, he crept and crawled forward to a German machine gun position located on a terrace along the forward slope. Approaching within a few yards of the position, and while continuously exposed to enemy fire, he hurled 1 grenade into the nest, destroyed the gun and killed 3 Germans. Discovering a second machine gun 20 yards to the right on a higher terrace, he moved under intense enemy fire to a point within a few yards and threw a second grenade into this position, destroying it and killing 2 more Germans. The first platoon was then able to advance 150 yards further up the slope to the crest of the hill, but was again stopped by the fire from a heavy enemy mortar on the reverse slope. 1st Lt. Bjorklund located the mortar and worked his way under little cover to within 10 yards of its position and threw his third grenade, destroying the mortar, killing 2 of the Germans, and forcing the remaining 3 to flee. His actions permitted the platoon to take its objective. After these actions, Arnold continued to lead his platoon but received sixteen wounds in his feet and right arm three days later. He was first sent to a field hospital and then to back to the US where he would spend the next eight months at McCaw General Hospital. While in the hospital, Arnold met the sister of a close friend who was also a patient there. Leo Sawyer's sister, Darl, began to visit him and Arnold and once Arnold was medically discharged from the Army in March of 1945, he and Darl were married and built a home next to his parents. Six months before their wedding, Arnold received the Medal of Honor from President Truman on the 6th of September, 1944. Arnold went to work for Pacific Resin Company and went on to advance to the company's assistant plant manager and eventually the plant superintendent of the company's Portland, Oregon facility. In May of 1963, he and Darl were invited to the White House by President Kennedy for a special Medal of Honor event. A special aircraft had been sent for them and the President and the First Lady greeted 234 Medal of Honor recipients and their wives for the Rose Garden event. Arnold and Darl had two children, Kent and Susan, and they had moved to Vancouver, Washington, where he died at the age of 61 on the 28th of November, 1979. Arnold L Bjorklund is buried in the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon: Section O, Grave 3446.