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Wesley Eugene Erola
- Name: Wesley Eugene Erola
- Location of Birth: Gackle, North Dakota
- Date of Birth: 1923
- Date of Death: November 27, 1950
- Parents: Emil and Lempi Erola
- High School and Class:
- Highest Rank: PVT (Private)
- Branch: Army
- Other Branch:
- Date Sworn In: January, 1948 (Induction Date)
- Place Sworn In:
- Date of Discharge:
- Place of Discharge:
- Military Awards:
- Military Highlights:
Information from news article in the Deer River News, dated January 11, 1951:
Mr. and Mrs. Emil Erola of the Oteneagen community received word this week that their son, Private Wesley E. Erola, had been killed in action in Korea on November 27, 1950. No further particulars are available at this time.
He took basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. From there he was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. He was trained in anti-aircraft artillery.
Wesley served in this capacity until January, 1949, when he enlisted in the reserves. He was then at home until he was called into active duty on September 26, 1950. He went to Fort Lewis, Washington and from there to Japan, arriving there on October 27. Wesley wrote from there on that date, and again on November 5, stating that he expected to be sent to Korea within the next ten days and that he had been transferred into the infantry. This was his last letter to his folks.
On January 8, 1951, the family received word that he had been killed in action on November 27, 1950.
Wesley served in Company C of the 7th Infantry Regiment.
News article written by Joan Isaacs from the Western Itasca Review, dated May 22, 1997:
"Wesley Erola reported killed in action
Awarded Purple Heart posthumously
It was early January 1951 when Emil and Lempi Erola of Oteneagen community received word that their oldest son, Wesley, had died while serving his country in Korea. It was winter and very cold. After learning the sad news, Wesley's only sister Sylvia wrote the following poem:
Winter wind, blows stark and deep;
Barren, bitter, sighing, old,
Boring with relentless cold
Whining whispers near creep.
The wind and I, in darkness told.
Winter wind, your wires weep;
Sorrow, soon I must enfold!
With a message through
your drifting, driving sweep,
Through your sad and sobbing sleep.
Tidings I must bring of woe
Winter wind, blow stark and deep.
Wesley was and always had been a very quiet young man. He was born in Gackle, N.D., moved with his family to Chisholm and then Deer River in the late 1920s. He attended the Deer River schools.
Wesley was inducted into the Army in January 1948, taking basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. From there he was sent to Fort Lewis, Wash. where he was trained in anti-aircraft artillery.
In January 1948 he enlisted in the reserves and then was at home until he was called back into active duty on September 26, 1950. He went to Fort Lewis and then on to Japan from where he wrote he expected to be sent to Korea and that he had been transferred into the infantry. This was the last letter his parents received from him.
It is believed he died in one of the first battles in which his unit was involved. It was Nov. 27, 1950. He was 27 years old.
Erola was awarded a Purple Heart posthumously on March 13, 1951 by President Harry S. Truman.
It would be four years before he would be returned to Deer River and buried at Olivet Cemetery. The reburial service was held in December 1954 at the Erola home.
Wesley's sister Sylvia Niemi now lives in Babbitt, as does his youngest brother Ernest. Brothers Richard and Emery live in Oteneagen. Emery on the old homestead and Richard and family live nearby. His brother, Delbert died in 1985."
- Wars Involved:
- MIA / POW:
Killed In Action
- Civilian Life:
Wesley came to this county almost twenty-five years ago.
Wesley attended the local high schools.
He is survived by his parents and four brothers, Delbert, Emery, Richard, and Ernest; and one sister, Mrs. Sylvia Niemi. His grandfather, Reverend Walter Isaacs of Morse Township, Itasca County, also survives.
Wesley's remains were recovered and the reburial service was held in December, 1954 at the Erola home.
- Tribal Affiliation(s):