James "Shorty" Edward Carlson

Air Force Badge
  • Name: James "Shorty" Edward Carlson
  • Location of Birth: Bovey, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: August 15, 1921
  • Date of Death: October 2, 1995
  • Parents: Frank Carlson & Lillian (Pelletier) Carlson
  • High School and Class: 1939 Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: MAJ (Major)
  • Branch: Air Force
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: September 3, 1942
  • Place Sworn In: Fort Snelling, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Date of Discharge: May 31, 1961
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:
    Presidential Citation
    Air Medal

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: James Edward Carlson
    Race: White
    Age: 20
    Birth Date: August 15, 1921
    Birth Place: Bovey, Minnesota,USA
    Residence Place: Bovey, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: February 14, 1942
    Employer: Oliver Iron Mining Co., Coleraine, Itasca, Minnesota
    Weight: 140
    Height: 5-5
    Complexion: Ruddy
    Eye Color: Brown
    Hair Color: Brown
    Next of Kin: Mrs. Frank Carlson, Bovey, Minnesota

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - June 4, 1943 - "May 7, 1943. Dear Friends: Hello everybody. I hit this place just at the right time. I pulled in Wednesday night and we had an Open Post Friday (today) and as I came back early and have time to write, I thought it was about time I dropped you a few lines. First of all I want to thank the American Legion for sending me the book "Fall In". I sure enjoyed reading it. I also want to thank Mr. Connor and Mrs. Barnes for the interesting letter they wrote. I for one am proud of the way all you folks are helping the boys in service. I think all the other boys feel the same way. I sure enjoy reading Ann's and all the letters in the Press every week. That's always the first thing I read, and then I read every other bit of news. I want you to note my new address, so I will continue getting the paper each Tuesday. Sincerely, James Carlson."

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - September 17, 1943 - "Dear Friends: It's been a long time since I last dropped a line, but then I have been kept plenty busy. I'm still going to school, but will be finished sometime in October, and hope to get a furlough then. I hope to thank Genevieve Ness, Mary Prerod and Horace Barnes (Sr.) for the nice letter I received from them. And, also, wish to thank the Service Men's Club and everybody else for the fine work they are doing, and also the card from the Legion. From what I hear, I guess the summer up there wasn't good. Too bad they can't have part of the surplus heat we have here, as it's been above a 100 quite a few times, and hasn't rained in almost 2 months. I also wish to thank you for sending the Bovey Press. I sure enjoy getting it and just like all the other boys in the Service, read the back page first. I sure enjoy Ann's and all the other letters that appear there. Sincerely, Shorty Carlson."

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - January 14, 1944 - "Colorado Springs, Colo., December 20, 1943. Dear Friends: It's been a long time since I dropped you a line, but I hope to do better in the future. I want to thank all of you for the grand job you are doing, and especially to those who write to us in the Service as these letters are very interesting. Also, I would like to thank the Bovey Press and Ann for the huge job they are doing so grand. At this time I'll wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope that next year we can all be home on those days. Sincerely, Shorty Carlson."

    Newspaper article - Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - August 18, 1944 – "15th AAF in Italy – 2nd Lt. James E. Carlson, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Carlson, Bovey, has flown his 50th mission over enemy territory. He is the navigator on “The Buzzer”, a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber of the 15th AAF, based in Italy. With his combat group he has engaged in many recent outstanding attacks on the southern hold of Hitler’s crumbling Festung Europa. The Bovey flyer has participated in the rain of destruction on Axis installations at such important targets as Munich, Budapest, Bucharest, Toulon, Nice, Trieste and Bologna. Six times his outfit has been over Ploesti, the oil capital of the Balkans. Reminiscing with his friends, Carlson said, “Well, we had some easy rides and we had some tough ones. The worst day I put in was the first trip we made to Ploesti. I knew the defenses were tough, and they were all they were cracked up to be.” He continued, “We broke thru the ring of fighters and ground defense guns and made a highly successful run over the target, and then turned for home. Whew! All at once the "ack ack" boys got the exact range and we looked like a sieve. When we limped back to the base with one engine out, the controls badly damaged, no brakes or flaps, we found over two hundred holes in the old girl.” Carlson graduated from Greenway High School in 1939, and was employed by the Oliver Mining Co., Coleraine, before joining the AAF October 3, 1942. He trained at San Antonio and Hondo, Texas. He received his wings October 7, 1943 and flew overseas in March 1944."

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - November 3, 1944 – "1st Lt. James E. Carlson of your city has returned to the United States after having served overseas with the Army. He reported at the Fort Snelling headquarters October 27th, to pick up furlough papers, and arrived home Sunday evening. Lt. Carlson graduated from Greenway High School in 1939, and has been in service 2 years and 2 months. He has been overseas since March, serving in the Italian theater of operations. Lt. Carlson has been awarded the Presidential Citation and the Air Medal. Shorty arrived home in time to shake hands with his pal Rudy Kukas and help Bub Lavalier finish out his furlough in grand style."

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - January 26, 1945 - "January 8th. Hi Friends: Received the Christmas card and the two dollars when I got back from leave. Thanks a lot. The club is sure doing a fine job for the people in the service. It rained here the last two days, but that's unusual according to the Chamber of Commerce, altho it is nice and warm. A big change from the weather there when I left, but it's still the best place no matter how cold it gets or how much snow falls. I finally started school again today, so I guess I'll be kept busy for awhile. Thanks again for remembering the people in service. As B-4, Shorty Carlson."

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II
    Korean Conflict
    Vietnam War

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    James Carlson was employed by the Oliver Iron Mining Co., Coleraine, Minnesota prior to entering the service. He married Betty Waters. He was a member of the Taconite American Legion Post and the Bovey Moose Club.

    James Carlson died in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota (plot - Sec. 15, Site 1904). He is survived by four children, Scott, Cathy Brock, Chris, and Mark; five grandchildren; one great-grandchild; a sister, Agnes Phillips; and a brother, Donald Carlson.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):