MEL CARLSON (NAVY)

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Twenty-one year old Mel Carlson was a 50 cal. machine gunner on US Navy Motor Torpedo Boat 504. PT-504 was on duty on 6 June 1944 and escorted mine sweepers across the English Channel and also patrolled about half a mile off Utah Beach while infantry troops were transported to shore.

 

Carlson’s experiences and memories include deliberately drawing fire at Cherbourg in an effort to locate German gun batteries, rescuing survivors of American Navy ships hit by German mines, and rubbing shoulders with the King of England, when PT-504 transported George VI to the USS Augusta.

 

He spoke on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at the South Dakota Air & Space Museum. "Mel Carlson, World War II, U.S. Navy Veteran impressed an interested crowd with a well-remembered life.  Carlson reminded us that war is not romantic to those who are in it.  It is always romanticized by the qualities of valor, sacrifice and a sense of duty. It is really misery, destruction, frustration and death," remarked Duke Doering afterwards.