Army Badge
  • Name: Herman Arnold Aho
  • Location of Birth: Suomi, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: March 17, 1928
  • Date of Death: September 9, 2019 (91 years old)
  • Parents: Herman and Inga (Saari) Aho
  • High School and Class: 1946 - Deer River High School, Deer River, Minnesota
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: SFC (Sergeant First Class)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: September 11, 1950
  • Place Sworn In: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Date of Discharge: September 11, 1953
  • Place of Discharge: Camp San Luis Obispo, California
  • Units and Locations:
    Start Date End Date Unit(s) and Location(s) Served
    June, 1947 September, 1950 Naval Reserve
    September, 1950 September, 1953 Army D Company, 5th Calvary Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division
  • Military Awards:
    Korean Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
    OCC Medal Japan AR-600-65
    Combat Infantry Badge

  • Military Highlights:
    Mr. Aho served in the Korean War. He served in the U.S. Army from September 11, 1950, until September 11, 1953. He was assigned to D Company, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Mr. Aho had six weeks of infantry basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, and eight weeks of combat engineer training at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His unit was sent to Fort Lawton, Seattle and boarded the General M. M. Patrick for a trip to Japan. From there, Mr. Aho was sent to Pusan, Korea. His rank was Sergeant 1st Class. He served on the front lines and was attached to rifle companies, initially as a radio operator in support of a forward observer and later as a forward observer with no radio operator support. When he returned to the United States, he was assigned to Camp San Luis Obispo, California, where he was a supply sergeant. He was decorated with the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), and the Korean Service Medal with four Bronze Stars. Mr. Aho was born in 1928 in Suomi, Minnesota, the son of Herman and Inga (Saari) Aho.

    Source: Veterans' Memorial Hall Veteran History Form; veteran reminiscences "In the spring of 1948, Sarge Hoffman stopped by our house on a recruiting mission. I told him that I would be interested in enlisting and that my high school chum would probably sign up as well, which he did. Unfortunately, my chum passed the physical and I didn't, due to a hernia that I didn't know I had. Knowing that my friend would not have enlisted on his own left me back home feeling remorseful but I was envious of him as well. Ellen and I were making wedding plans in July of 1950 when the Korean War broke out. I checked in with the draft board; they said I could be on the next bus from Itasca County. Hurriedly I put our wedding on hold and enlisted for three years. My six weeks of infantry basic training took place at Fort Riley, Kansas, followed immediately by eight weeks of combat engineer basic at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. From Fort Belvior, our troop was given nine days travel time to get to Seattle, Washington. I was able to spend a few days at home while en route to Seattle. At Fort Lawton, we were given our shots, then boarded the General M. M. Patrick for a seventeen day voyage to Japan. While in Japan, there was a five-day orientation and more shots. We then traveled by train to Sascho, Japan, and got on a Japanese ship for an overnight trip to Pusan, Korea. At that point I realized that maybe I had gotten myself into a real mess. While in Pusan, we were loaded onto a train of three small boxcars and one flat car manned by two MP's and a .50 caliber machine gun. It was bitterly cold even in the boxcars, and I felt bad for the two MP's on the open flat car. We finally reached the Replacement Center, where we were given our orders. I was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, Company D, 5th Cavalry Regiment. A, B, and C Companies are infantry, and D Company is a heavy weapons company. They gave me two days' training as a radio operator. I and the forward observer were attached to the rifle companies when we were on the front lines. The forward observer was training me for two months, and then he rotated home and I ended up as the forward observer with no radio operator. I spent ten months on the front lines; the longest stint was six weeks straight. Usually, we were taken off the hill for a three to four day rest along with a good shower, hot meals and a lot of mail to read My experiences during my stint on the front lines of combat and warfare were horrendous and beyond description. Many days were spent in fear and terror and are unspeakable even to this day. After my tour of Korea, I was assigned to Camp San Luis Obispo, California, as a supply sergeant. I received an honorable discharge with a rank of Sergeant 1st Class in the fall of 1953. I was one of the fortunate who survived the war and made it home to my future wife, who had been waiting faithfully for me. I am blessed to have shared fifty-eight years of marriage to Ellen and to have a wonderful family. I am very proud of my service to my country and continue to be active in the VFW, American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans. I am looking forward to attending the 1st Cavalry Division Association Reunion in Bloomington, Minnesota, in early June, 2011."

  • Wars Involved:
    Korean Conflict

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    On March 9, 1952, Herman and Ellen Erickson were united in marriage in Suomi, Minnesota. He worked as an underground miner for various mines on the Iron Range and was later employed as a pipefiiter for Blandin Paper Company for over 30 years.

    Herman enjoyed fishing, hunting, and spending time with his family. He was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose, D.A.V., Suomi Lutheran Church, and was a lifetime member of the V.F.W. in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and Talmoon, Minnesota.

    Preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Sylvia Jones and Aune Christie; three brothers-in-law, Kenneth Erickson, Darl Jones, and David Christie; and an infant granddaughter, Brenda Aho.

    Herman is survived by his wife of 67 years, Ellen; daughter, Ann (Mike) Smith; sons, Ken (Cindy), Keith (Sandi); five grandchildren; eight great grandchildren, and special friends, Nancy Probst of Marcell, Minnesota and Melvin and Marge Wilson of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    Buried in Suomi Lutheran Cemetery at Suomi, Minnesota.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):