|Birth: ||Jul. 21, 1925|
|Death: ||Dec. 13, 1944, Germany|
Note: This is where Donald is buried - he also has a stone in the Waterloo Ridge Church cemetery near Highland, Allamakee County, Iowa, where his parents and some other family members are buried.
Donald Drievold was born on July 21, 1925 to Carl and Gina Drievold. His siblings were Charlotte, Shirley, Irene and Curtis. He attended school in Allamakee and Winneshiek Counties before moving to Hesper with his family in 1939. After the move, he worked on farms in the Hesper community. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday, July 21, 1943, and was inducted at Camp Dodge, Iowa, on September 10, 1943. On September 18, 1943, he traveled to Fort Meade, Oklahoma, to complete as a machine gunner in the infantry. On December 29, 1943, he was promoted to Private First Class. From April 11-24, 1944, he was home on a brief furlough, during which time he was not able to make it home to see his family. On his way back to camp, his train was delayed ten hours due to massive flooding between Kansas City and Muskogee. On May 1, 1944, he arrived at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, for further training.
Donald shipped out to England on a boat from Boston in May 1944. The boat apparently had only one mess hall for all the passengers, and Donald reported in an August 13, 1944 letter to his parents that he sometimes had to wait "up to two hours for chow". They were fed two meals each day, breakfast and supper. In July, he was sent to France, where he served with General Patton's 3rd Army, 90th Division, 357th Infantry. On July 26, 1944, he sustained shrapnel wounds to his left arm and leg in battle at St. Lo, and was hospitalized for three months in England, during which time he was awarded the Purple Heart. In a July 31, 1944, letter to his parents, he states that he believes his eyes were also wounded -- they were sore, and he had been unable to read anything until July 30. In the same letter, he reports that his injuries are "not serious", and although he could not stand on his injured left leg, some of the other guys pushed him around in a wheelchair sometimes.
After recovering from his shrapnel wounds, Donald returned to battle in France in approximately October 1944. On December 29, 1944, his parents received a telegram indicating that Donald had been reported missing in action. On January 5, 1945, his parents received another telegram indicating that the Army had confirmed that Donald was killed in action on December 13, 1944 in the Saar River Valley region of Germany, near the Pachten Dillingen sector. He was awarded a second Purple Heart posthumously. Donald is buried in the St. Avold Military Cemetery, located approximately 23 miles east of Metz, France, in Plot RRR, Row 10, Grave 109.
On Saturday, April 14, 1945, the American Legion held a memorial service for Donald and Pfc. James Lawrence Gunderson. On Sunday, April 15, 1945, a memorial service was held for Donald and Gunderson at the Waterloo Ridge Lutheran Church.
Circumstances Surrounding Death
On December 6, 1944, Donald's regiment, along with other elements of the 90th Infantry Division, crossed the Saar River with the objective of establishing a bridgehead. They encountered enemy opposition almost immediately upon landing in the region, and this opposition increased as his regiment crossed the river. Due to constant artillery fire, it became very difficult to get supplies to the troops, and to evacuate the wounded. On December 13, 1944, Donald was at his gun position when a heavy mortar barrage hit the area. One of the shells exploded near him, killing him instantly.
The enemy continued to advance, and the American troops were forced to evacuate the area on December 21 under smokescreen. Evacuation of the dead was not possible at that time, so they were left behind.
On January 23, 1946, Phillip J. Wolf, Chief of the Burial Records Branch of the U.S. Army, wrote to Donald's father that Army records indicated Donald was buried in Diefflen, Germany, and that every effort was being made to re-inter the deceased into established U.S. military cemeteries in Allied territory. On September 26, 1946, the Quartermaster General informed Donald's parents via letter that he had been interred in St. Avold.
On December 26, 1946, Orvilla A. Odegard, who served with Donald, wrote a letter to Donald's father summarizing the circumstances in which Donald was killed. He states that their company was the lead company to cross the Saar River. After crossing the river, they captured the Pachten barracks, then advanced into the Siegfried line and took "several forts and pillboxes along with long lines of connecting trenches." The company then advanced through the woods and dug in near the top of a long hill. They were nearly a mile ahead of the other companies, and because the other companies could not reach them, they were ordered to pull back about a thousand yards and take up defensive positions in forts and trenches. Odegard states that "some of these forts were built in the mouths of ravines or small valleys so they afforded protection from small arms or rifle fire but not from shells."
Odegard states that Donald and several others were standing in a group talking, "when a shell landed among them. Donald was killed instantly and several others wounded." He gives the location as half a mile north of the town of Dillingen and around 800 yards east of the Pachten barracks. The company spent 18 days across the Saar River and then were ordered to pull back due to the German breakthrough in the Battle of the Bulge. They were able to evacuate the wounded but not the dead at that time, so Donald's body had to be left behind. When the company retreated back across the river, they had been reduced to only 48 men. G Company had over 600 replacements during its 11 months of combat, and a total of 101 men killed.
St. Avold U.S. Military Cemetery
St. Avold was established on March 16, 1945, by the U.S. Seventh Army. It was originally located south of and adjacent to the current site. 16,000 men were originally buried there, most from the 7th Army Infantry and Armored Divisions. In 1948, three cemeteries -- Limey, Andilly and Hochfelden -- were combined with St. Avold, bringing the total number of graves to almost 26,000. Around 60% were eventually shipped back to the United States.
St. Avold was chosen and established as a permanent memorial in July 1947 and was transferred from the American Graves Registration Command to the American Battle Monuments Commission on December 15, 1949. The 113.5 acres comprising the cemetery were given to the United States government in perpetuity by the French Government. Construction of the cemetery and memorial were completed in 1960, and dedications were held on July 19, 1960.
Carl Lauritz Drievold (1900 - 1966)
Gina Caroline Sollien Drievold (1901 - 1991)
Donald S Drievold (1925 - 1944)*
Donald S Drievold (1925 - 1944)
Charlotte Gertrude Drievold Vang (1929 - 2008)*
Note: Entered the service from Iowa.
Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial
Departement de la Moselle
Maintained by: Molly Webb Temple
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56654567