Granquist, Glenn A. (636th)

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Biography:  Glenn Arthur Granquist was born on March 15, 1919, in Sidney, Nebraska. He was the son of Anton Peter Granquist and Alma Leora Straight and attended rural Wayne County schools through the 8th grade. He then worked on the family farm.

On October 12, 1941, he married the former Lillian Aleda Larsen, who was born in Wayne, NE, and was the daughter of Frank N. Larsen and Anna Caroline Nelson. The new couple would make their home in Wayne.  

Service Time:  Glenn entered the service on February 25, 1942, and was initially assigned to Army Ground Forces for his training but would ultimately join the Reconnaissance Company of the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Although difficult to confirm, he appears to be shown in the back row of the Recon. Company photo taken at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts. The 636th was stationed there from October 1942 to February 1943. Also in 1942, Glenn and Lillian would welcome their first child, Karen Kaye.

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From Camp Edwards, the unit traveled to the A.P. Hill Military Reservation and then moved to the New York port where they would ship out on April 2, 1943. They arrived at Oran, Algeria, on April 13th. Glenn’s experiences in North Africa would stay with him for the rest of his life. He developed malaria there and would have relapses of the disease. The unit then landed at Paestum, Italy, beginning on September 13, 1943.

Elements performed artillery missions, guarded Fifth Army Command Post, and trained British troops on the M10 tank destroyer and TD doctrine in October and November. They reentered the line in the Mignano sector in late November, supporting the assault on San Pietro. The 636th supported the Rapido River crossings in January, 1944, and then entered the Cassino sector in February. The unit transferred to the Anzio beachhead in May; they entered Rome on June 4th and then took part in landings in Southern France on August 15th. Glenn told his family that he was in the lead tank destroyer during the unit’s procession through Rome. 

The 636th was the first unit to enter Lyon and to reach the Moselle River in September. They were then engaged in the Vosges Mountain region beginning in October and relieved the 601st TD Bn in Strasbourg in December. The 636th battled the German Northwind offensive in January and February, 1945, and converted to M36 tank destroyers beginning in late February. Glenn suffered severe frostbite that would also cause him problems later in life. The unit struck the Siegfried Line near Wissembourg, ending the war in southern Bavaria near Tegernsee.

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The 636th received credit for campaigns in Naples – Foggia, Anzio, Rome Arno, Southern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Glenn was discharged on October 14, 1945, at the rank of Technician 5th Grade

Glenn went back to Wayne County and to Lillian. He made his living as a farmer and the couple would have two more children, Glenn Gene, born in 1948, and Jim Burdette in 1955.  In his spare time, Glenn enjoyed dancing, playing cards, bingo, new cars and farm equipment. He also loved hosting family gatherings on the 4th of July which featured fireworks and homemade ice cream.

Glenn was a member of the American Legion post #43 and also the Veterans of Foreign Wars post #5291. He was also a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Wayne, NE.  Although a hard worker and a loving family man, he never spoke much about his experiences, which had certainly made a profound change in him. Additionally, he would continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the malaria and frostbite. Glenn passed away on May 6, 2000, and was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery, also in Wayne.

I want to thank Glenn’s niece, Brenda, and his children, Karen, Gene and Jim for providing the information and photos for this tribute.

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