Milton C. Mattson
Biography: Milton Carl Mattson was born on August 20, 1920, in New Brighton, Minnesota. He was the son of Matt J. Mattson and Cecelia A. Hoffman and attended Edison High School in Minneapolis. He left school during the 8th grade and later worked on a farm.
Service Time: Milton entered the service and after his basic training was assigned to the 772nd Tank Destroyer Battalion and trained with them at a number of military facilities within the U.S. The battalion had been activated on December 16, 1941, at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as a Heavy Self-Propelled unit but during their training, they were converted to a towed battalion, utilizing 3-inch guns.
While at Fort Leonard Wood, Milton married the former Pearl Dolores Surrel, who was born in Grantsville, Wisconsin, and was the daughter of Charles John Surrell and Othelia Marie Olson.
The unit shipped from the New York port on September 29, 1944, aboard the ship H.M.T. Arawa, arriving in the Fyrth of Clyde, Scotland, on October 10th and then traveling by rail to southern England. After another two months of additional training and final preparations, the 772nd boarded LST transports and landed in Le Harve, France, on December 20th. They entered the line near Birgel, Germany, on December 22nd, and fought in Belgium in January, 1945.
They then shifted south to the Seventh Army’s sector along the Rhine in February and began converting to the M36 tank destroyer in late March. The 772nd supported operations against the Ruhr Pocket in April and then took on military government duties.
In the photo on the left, you can see Milton, second from left, with the other men of his tank destroyer crew.
The unit received credit for campaigns in Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Milton left the service at the rank of Sergeant.
After the war, the couple made their home in Minneapolis and Milton went to work on the Soo Line Railroad. It had originally been known as the Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway. In 1961, it officially became the Soo Line Railroad. The family would grow when Milton and Pearl adopted two children, a girl Kay Lynn born in 1953, and a boy John Mathew, born in 1956. In his spare time, Milton enjoyed fishing and bowling.
Milton passed away on August 22, 2008 and was buried in the Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN. I want to thank the Mattson family for providing the information and photos used in this tribute. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor Jaci for use of the grave marker photo.