Arthur Lodoen was born in his parents home in Westhope, North Dakota to Matias 'Matt' Lodoen and Pernelle 'Nelly' Lodoen on April 1st, 1914. His father Matt left Norway when he was around 17 years old and came to Warren, Minnesota to work in the lumbering camps and shortly afterward moved to Westhope, North Dakota and homesteaded some land. His mother Nelly, also from Norway, married Matias at 20 years old on one of his return trips and moved to North Dakota with him.
Arthur grew up in Westhope on the farm and went to school in Westhope. At the age of 27, Arthur was drafted (low number) into the U.S. Army and was assigned to George Patton's famous Third Army, 35th Infantry Division (Santa Fe), 134th Regiment, Anti-Tank Company. That fall he was training at Fort Schnelling, and was in Minneapolis on Dec 7, 1941 when he heard about Pearl Harbor while walking down Hennepin Ave. He trained all over the United States, from west to east coast.
The 134th Infantry Regiment arrived in Normandy, France in July 1944; one month after the D-Day landings. As part of Operation Overload, the Allied invasion of Western Nazi-Occupied Europe, the 35th Infantry Division fought through portions of north-western France, engaging in many of the famous battles including the Battle of the Hedgerows, the Capture of Saint-Lo, the Battle of Nancy, and more.
On October 1st, 1944, the 134th came under heavy Germany fire in a counterattack the area near the 'Foret De Gremecey'. Lodoen and another soldier, both truck drivers at the time, noticed an injured soldier and came to his rescue. Lodoen and his comrade braved the flames and gunfire and safely returned the man to be evacuated. Lodoen earned the Bronze Star for his actions that day. Below is his official citation that includes more details:
The 35th continued to move through France. On September 30, 1944, Arthur was injured (details unknown) and did not return to duty until November 11th, 1944. The 134th then moved into Arlon, Belgium in December 1944, and took part in the fighting to relieve Bastogne (Bastogne was defended by the 101st Airborne 'Band of Brothers' that were completely surrounded by the German Army) in what is known as the Battle of the Buldge. The regiment continued to move through Austria, ending in Czechoslovakia; the furthest east of any American units.
Arthur recieved a Purple Heart sometime during his service. It is unknown which injury (September 30, 1944 or another undocumented time) earned him the Purple Heart, but the injury was a piece of shrapnel that entered through his armpit and exited through his shoulder. The injury was bad enough that he recieved partial disability until he died.
Lodoen is last listed on the 134th's personnel roster on June 7th, 1945, inferring that he retired from the service sometime around then. He moved back to Westhope where he lived the rest of his life on the farm. Arthur passed away tragically when he was struck by a car on April 22, 1970 at the age of 56. At the time of his death, he was surived by his wife; a son Gary of Iowa City, Iowa; three brothers, Oscar and Clarence, both of Westhope, and Milo of Bottineau; and a sister, Mrs Arthur Gunning of Lansford. His parents and a sister preceded him in death. Arthur's funeral service was held in St. Andrew's Catholic Church. He is buried in Westhope, North Dakota at the Westhope Cemetery.
Photos: Top - Arthur's grave. Bottom - Patches of 3rd Army and T5 rank