Robert P. Carlson
Biography: Robert Parker Carlson “Bob” was born on July 10, 1925, in Oakland, California. He was the son Einar Johan Carlson and Anna Wilhelmina Borg who had both immigrated to the United States from Sweden. Bob attended Banning High School in Wilmington, CA, graduating in 1942. He worked over the summer in Scio, Oregon, at the Lyons Farm, which was owned by his father’s cousin.
Service Time: Bob entered the service on December 8, 1943, at San Francisco, CA. After his initial training, he continued training within the U.S. until he shipped out for Europe on August 5, 1944. He arrived on the 14th and was assigned to Company B of the 821st Tank Destroyer Battalion. At the time, they were stationed on the Brittany Peninsula, supporting the capture of Brest which was completed by September 18th. They were equipped with towed 3″ anti-tank guns.
The unit moved east to Holland in late September and conducted operations against the Siegfried Line in October, near Aachen, Germany. The 821st transferred to Ubach, Germany, in November and supported the drive toward the Roer River. They converted to M10 tank destroyers, beginning in December, and crossed the Roer beginning on February 23, 1945. Bob’s TD was nicknamed “Cool Spot” by him and the rest of the crew.
The unit was withdrawn from the line during March and Company B supported operations against the Ruhr Pocket in April. The battalion then marched east to the Elbe River and on April 24th, when they came under heavy fire engaging a large enemy force, Pfc. Robert P. Carlson manned an automatic rifle and provided covering fire for our advancing infantry. For these actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic achievement against the enemy.
On April 27th, the 821st took up occupation duties and Bob received credit for participation in the campaigns of Rhineland, Central Europe and Northern France. He shipped home on February 26, 1946, and arrived in the U.S. on March 6th. He left the service on the 13th at Camp Beale, CA, at the rank of Technician 5th Grade. In addition to the Bronze Star, he also received the EAME, World War II Victory and the Good Conduct Medals.
Bob started working for the Pacific Telephone Company as a Truck Driver. He later became the Freight Manager and completed his career with the company as an Inspector and Repairman. On February 28, 1957, he married the former Nancy Jane Brooks at the First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, CA. Nancy was born in Oakland, CA, and was the daughter of Walter Warren Brooks and Ruth Alice Weymouth. The new couple initially lived in Oakland but moved to San Leandro, CA, after about a year.
The new couple had two children, John, born in 1958, and Kristina in 1960. In his spare time, Bob enjoyed carving wood decoys and other animals. He enjoyed music and had learned to play accordian from the age of three. He also played the harmonica and keyboard and was talented at singing and yodelling. He collected cowboy memorabilia, including handsewn items like chaps. When he turned fifty, he discovered an interest in sports cars and purchased an Alfa Romeo.
Bob passed away on January 22, 2011 and was buried in the Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito, CA. I want to thank Bob’s son, John, for providing the photos and information for this tribute.