(Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer)

Medals and Badges Sgt. Sivert J. Carlson earned

On April 12, 1922 Sivert J. Carlson was born in the town of Dalbo, Minnesota. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Carlson. Sivert had 1 sister Bernice and 2 brothers Russell and Melvin. He was a member of the Lutheran Church.

Familyhouse of the Carlson's in Minnesota. Sivert's grandparents which were the first Carlson's which came from Sweden to the USA lived their entire life in this house. Sivert's parents also lived and raised their children in this house (Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer).

Carlson's working farm next to their house were Sivert's dad kept cows
(Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer)

Sivert Carlson married Magdaline Johnson from Rockford, Illinois on July 25, 1940. They got 2 children named Shirley Ann (1938) and Everett Wayne (1942). After school Sivert worked at Estwing Manufacturing Co. in Rockford. On June 22, 1944 Sivert enlisted and received training at Fort Sheridan (Illinois), Camp Blanding (Florida) and Fort Meade (Maryland). When Sivert left his family in December 1944 for overseas duty his daughter Shirley was 6 years old and his son Everett was 2 years old.

Pvt. Sivert J. Carlson and his 2 year old son Everett
(Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer)

Sivert J. Carlson became a member of the 78th Infantry Division, 310th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Company F. He celebrated Christmas 1944 aboard one of the so many troopships which brought the men overseas for combat against Hitler’s powerful warmachine. Still in December 1944, Sivert arrived in Germany were the German Army was in the middle of their Ardennes Offensive.

Map of Kesternich area

In February 1945, Sivert got wounded in action by a landmine explosion in the battle for the Hurtgen Forest. His eyes were hit very badly and at one of his eyes he was totally blind for 2 days. He received the Purple Heart Medal for this wounds. After Sivert recorvered from his wounds he rejoined his unit and was ready for combat again.

In March 1945, during a German bombardment in the town Vilich Muldorf/Meindorf (Sieborg) Sivert risked his own life while evacuating several other wounded buddies from a house which was under German fire. For this heroic behaviour Sivert was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and was promoted to Sergeant.

On March 7, 1945 at 04.00 Hours Sgt. Sivert Carlson and the others of Company F participated in the battle for the Remagen bridge. For Sivert and his men there was not much time to realize what historical great event they were part of when they took Remagen. The war was still going on and the 78th Division speeded further through Germany taking a lot more towns and eliminating the German resistance there.

Map of Hurtgen Forest-Remagen area

On April 11, 1945 Sgt. Sivert Carlson and the men under Sivert’s command (one of them Pvt. Jack Hartzog) received the order to capture Unneberg near Grammersbruch. The next part of this story was told by Pvt. Jack Hartzog who was one of the men which had to capture Unneberg and was a direct eyewitness of what happened that day. Pvt. Hartzog searched after 55 years contact with Sivert’s daughter Shirley. Via Shirley were her brother Everett and her uncle Russell able to make an appointment with Pvt. Hartzog to talk about the day of Sivert’s death.

Private Jack Hartzog stood between Sgt. Sivert Carlson and Sgt. York when both were shot on a very cowardful way. It was the day before Sivert’s 23rd birthday and 5 days before he would leave the US Army after a honorful service period. The next report was made by video at Jack Hartzog’s house in September 2000.

"On April 11, 1945 Sgt. Sivert Carlson’s and Sgt. York’s men were walking up a gravel road which turned diagonal upwards. It was just outside Unneberg and we almost reached the top of the hill were the road lead us when we came across 4-5 German soldiers at a curve of the road. It was already late in the afternoon when the group of unarmed German soldiers came out of a little bush waving with a white flag for surrender. At a certain moment the German soldiers jumped into a ditch at the right side of the road and took their guns which they hid there and started to fire at us. Everything happened so fast and everybody was such surprised that we were too late to respond in time. One MP-Sergeant dropped down at the road at a certain distance ahead of us. Probably the Germans thought he was dead. Sgt. York who walked one step left of me was instantly killed in action and Sgt. Sivert Carlson who walked one step right of me lay death on the road. The MP-Sergeant which had sreamed for help was now death too. One other Sergeant even had given orders in an attempt to follow him in order to save the wounded MP-Sergeant, but for him help was too late."

Private Jack Hartzog and the others were so shocked and scared by this cowardful embush that they stood shaking on thier legs and searched for something along the road to hold on to in order not to drop down at the ground of sickness. After the embush the German soldiers fled into the bushes. After orders changed Pvt. Hartzog was mad about this cowardful deed and about the loss of his Sergeants which leadership and abilities he respected.

Since 1993, Jack Hartzog and his wife visited Germany several times and went to the places where the 78th Division fought. On one of their journey’s they also visited the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands. Via a register he searched for names of men he served with during WWII and suddenly found Sgt. Sivert Carlson’s name. After Jack Hartzog visited Sivert’s grave he wondered if Sivert maybe had some relatives left and decided to search for them and tell them what happened on that tragical day in April 1945.

Sister Bernice and Brother Russell at their (and so Sgt. Sivert Carlson's) parents' grave.
Danielson was the name of Sivert's mother.
(Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer)

In October 2003 Everett searched for contact with Stan Polny (historian of the 78th Div.) with the question if there were people with “78th Division contacts” at the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands. Adoptant of Sivert’s grave, Hans van Toer, was already since 1999 in though with Stan Polny. Stan gave Everett the address and e-mailaddress of Hans van Toer and eversince Hans corresponds with Sgt. Sivert Carlson’s children, Everett and Shirley, and his brother Russell and sister Bernice. Everett visited in April 2004 for the first time in his life his father’s final resting place. Everett spent those days together with the adoptant of his father’s grave, Hans van Toer.

Sanne and Mike van Toer next to Sgt. Sivert Carlson's grave
(Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer)

Everett Carlson at his father's grave
(Picture courtesy of Hans van Toer)

Sgt. Sivert J. Carlson's final resting place is, together with 8,301 brothers in arms, the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Plot B, Row 9, Grave 12.

For more stories of soldiers adopted by mr. Hans van Toer:
Pvt. Clarence E. McCollum
Pvt. Ernest W. Little

Hans van Toer