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SGT Marvin L. Gilbertson
SGT Marvin L. Gilbertson

During World War II, the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army activated for service prior to U.S. entry in World War II in August of 1940 at Fort Bragg. They participated in Operation Blackstone in North Africa in November 1942. They then participated in Operation Torch and were in Spanish-controlled Morocco until 1943. They fought in Sicily and were involved in the Battle of Troina.

In November 1943, they shipped to Winchester and Alresford, England for training. They landed on Utah Beach in Normandy, France on June 10, D-Day-plus-4. They helped liberate the Cotentin Peninsula, St Lo in July, and Chateau-Thierry in August of 1944. From September of 1944 to April of 1945, they were fighting in Germany. After the war’s end in Europe on May 8, 1945, the 9th Infantry Division served as occupation forces in Germany. The regiment deactivated in December of 1946.

Marvin L. Gilbertson served with Company B of the 47th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.

Marvin Lester Gilbertson was born on Feb. 25, 1920 in York Township in Green County to Henry Tyler and Clara (Damman) Gilbertson.

From the 1930 U.S. Census, the Gilbertson family was living in York Township in Green County. The family included father Tyler and mother Clara, children Harford, Bonnie, Clarinda, Marvin, Tilman, Janet, Alve, Lela, and Dora (Dolores). Father Tyler farmed on his rented farm.

They later had two more children Orville and Henry.

Marvin’s father, Henry Tyler Gilbertson, died on July 13, 1936 of heat exhaustion at the farm he rented in Blanchardville in Lafayette County.

From the 1940 U.S. Census, Marvin Gilbertson was living in Moscow Township in Iowa County. He was the hired hand living with farmer William Westrud, wife Hazel, and their son Merton. Marvin had been living in LaFayette County in 1935.

On July 1, 1941, Marvin Lester Gilbertson registered for the WWII Draft. He lived in Moscow Township in Iowa County. His next of kin and his employer was his mother Mrs. Clara Gilbertson also living in Moscow Township. His occupation was farming.

On Jan. 14, 1942, Marvin L. Gilbertson enlisted for service in WWII at Fort Sheridan in Illinois. He had a grammar school education, and his occupation was “farm hands.”

From the Dec. 27, 1942 Wisconsin State Journal article “Four Area Men Serve Overseas,” the news from Blanchardville included information that “Pvt. Marvin L. Gilbertson has arrived in North Africa with the American forces, according to information received by his mother, Mrs. Clara Gilbertson, Blanchardville.

The Blanchardville soldier entered the army Jan. 14, 1942, and was stationed at Camp Wolters, Tex., until April when he was transferred to Ft. Bragg, N. C. He is a machine gunner.”

From the Aug. 24, 1943 Wisconsin State Journal notice, “Gilbertson Rises in North Africa,” the notice with a photo stated “Marvin L. Gilbertson, son of Mrs. Clara Gilbertson, was recently promoted to corporal…”

From the Oct. 12, 1944 Blanchardville Blade article titled “M. Gilbertson Killed in Action in Germany,” stated “Mrs. Clara Gilbertson received word from the war department Sunday that her son, Sgt. Marvin Gilbertson, 24, was killed in action in Germany, Sept. 19th.

Sgt. Gilbertson had been in service since January, 1942. He was sent to Africa in November, 1942, and took part in a number of battles there, receiving the African campaign pin and medal for gallantry in action. He arrived in England about December, 1943, and from there was sent to France. He was wounded in action in Cherbourg, France, and spent some time in a hospital in England, before returning to the front. He was a member of a machine gun unit.”

From the March 18, 1949 Wisconsin State Journal article “3 Madison, 15 Area War Heroes Being Returned for Reburial,” the article noted that “The bodies of three Madison soldiers and 15 area army and air force veterans are being returned to the United States …” The list included Marvin L. Gilbertson, whose mother Clara Gilbertson lived in Blanchardville.

From the April 13, 1949 The Capital Times notice, “Gilbertson Rites Are On Saturday” the notice from Blanchardville was “The body of Sgt. Marvin L. Gilbertson, 24, will arrive in Monroe Thursday afternoon from Germany and will be escorted by members of the Blanchardville American Legion post to the home of his mother, Mrs. Clara Gilbertson town of Adams.

Funeral services will be held… at the Blanchardville Lutheran church... Burial will be in the Graceland cemetery, with military rites at the grave.”

SGT Marvin L. Gilbertson was reburied in Graceland Cemetery in Blanchardville in Lafayette County. He is listed on the Gold Star Honor Roll as being from Iowa County. He received the Purple Heart, awarded posthumously.

Thank you, Sergeant Marvin Lewis Gilbertson, for your service to and ultimate sacrifice for this country. We honor you and remember you.