TSgt. August “Juny” Olsen Jr.

TSgt. August “Juny” Olsen Jr.

Birth
Lansing, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 7 Jun 1944 (aged 25)
Rennes, Departement d'Ille-et-Vilaine, Bretagne, France
Burial Saint-James, Departement de la Manche, Basse-Normandie, France
Plot Plot K, Row 17, Grave 12
Memorial ID 56350344 · View Source
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Technical Sergeant August 'Juny' Olsen Jr, Army serial number 35150473, was born at Lansing, Cook County, Illinois, on February 5, 1919. His given name was August Michael Olsen, but he went by August Olsen Jr or 'Juny' Olsen. He was the oldest of seven children of August Oleszak Olsen (18 Feb 1896 – 27 Dec 1970), who was born at Jersey City, New Jersey; and Esther Alvina Marie (Fiene) Olsen (2 Jun 1897 – 28 Dec 1970), who was born at Chicago Heights, Cook County, Illinois; she was previously married to Michael Radke on May 22, 1916. August and Esther Olsen married at Crown Point, Lake County, Indiana, on July 24, 1918. They lived at Lansing, Illinois, where the family home was at 2235 Thornton Road. His father was a brick maker who worked for National Brick Company in Lansing, Illinois, and later for Tuthill Brick Company in Chicago, Illinois.

August Olsen Jr graduated from Trinity Lutheran School at Lansing, Illinois in 1932; and from Thornton Fractional High School at Calumet City, Illinois in 1936. He completed at least one year of college, and worked at Hammond Brass Works in Hammond, Lake County, Indiana when he enlisted in the U.S. Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana on January 14, 1941. He enjoyed baseball, and was a member of his church baseball team. He also enjoyed bowling, and met his future wife, Marcella Crist, at the 20th Century Bowling Alley in Hammond, Indiana. His home of record was 21 Clinton Street, Hammond, Lake County, Indiana, his wife's wartime address.

He served initially in the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. He and Marcella married at El Paso, Texas on June 21, 1941. Later he transferred to the Army Air Corps and completed Army Air Forces radio operator and aerial gunnery training. He was then assigned as radio operator on the heavy bomber crew of Lt Robert G. Reeder in the 839th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group. The Reeder crew completed B-24 combat crew training with the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico, and deployed with the Group to England in March 1944. Reeder's copilot, 2/Lt Floyd Schwab, was moved to the first pilot position, and 2/Lt Norman C. Van Kirk was assigned as the crew's copilot at Herington, Kansas, the first stop during the overseas deployment. There is a photo of T/Sgt Olsen and the Floyd Schwab crew, probably taken at Herington, that is posted on the 487th Bomb Group website. They flew B-24H 42-52624 overseas via the southern Atlantic ferry route and arrived in England by mid-April 1944.

The 487th Bomb Group was based at Army Air Forces Station 137 near Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and was part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe. Here is Lt Schwab's crew roster on June 7, 1944:

B-24H 42-52624 – 839th Bomb Squadron
Schwab, Floyd – 2/Lt – Pilot – POW
Van Kirk, Norman C – 2/Lt – Copilot – KIA
Swiridow, Louis – 2/Lt – Navigator – KIA
Smith, Cecil J – 2/Lt – Bombardier – KIA
• Olsen, August M Jr – T/Sgt – Radio Operator – KIA
Gross, Billy D – T/Sgt – Engineer – POW
Marxmiller, Robert K – S/Sgt – Ball Turret – KIA
• Siegel, Melvin – S/Sgt – Tail Turret – POW
Coe, Seymour – Sgt – Nose Turret – KIA
Walker, Clarence E – S/Sgt – Upper Turret – KIA

On June 7, 1944, Lt Schwab's crew flew B-24H 42-52624 'BoxCar' on the 487th Bomb Group mission to bomb a tactical target at Angers, France, in support of the Normandy Invasion. Clouds obscured the target and the Lead Squadron bombed an alternate target, the Loire River bridge at Montjean, France, about 20 miles west of Angers. The Schwab crew flew in the High Squadron and bombed a railroad marshalling yard at Chateaubriant, France, about 50 miles northwest of Angers. T/Sgt Olsen and six of his crewmates were killed in action when their aircraft was shot down by flak near Rennes, France on the return from the mission. The aircraft broke up and crashed at La Rabine, just west of Bruz, France. Three men survived and became prisoners of war.

The dead were buried at the civilian cemetery in Bruz, France. After the war, T/Sgt Olsen's remains were reinterred at Brittany American Cemetery in Saint-James, France, in Plot K, Row 17, Grave 12. There is a photo of his grave posted on the 487th Bomb Group website.

His name is inscribed on the Lansing Veterans Memorial at Lansing Municipal Airport in Lansing, Cook County, Illinois.

The Breton Air Memorial Association and the Lacy-Davis Foundation dedicated a monument to the Floyd Schwab crew on June 9, 2012. It is located on Rue Germaine Marquer in Bruz, France at 48.02339°N, 1.75905°W.

Some relatives:
He had six younger siblings:
• Laverne June 'Peggy' (Olsen) Brown (25 Jun 1921 – 13 Aug 1995). Her husband was Franklin Brown (13 Dec 1917 – 9 Feb 1996)
Floyd Albert Olsen (4 Oct 1922 – 3 Mar 2006)
• Mildred E. 'Millie' (Olsen) Ogborn (1924–), widow of George Claude Ogborn (13 May 1917 – 23 Jul 2003)
Donald C. Olsen (12 Oct 1927 – 18 Jun 2015)
• Elaine Violet (Olsen) Humbert (1933–), widow of Richard E. Humbert (6 Sep 1921 – 5 Jan 1976)
• Ralph Lee Olsen (26 Jul 1939 – 10 Oct 2004)

     His father's parents were Albert Oleszak (unk – 1902) and Agnes Oleszak (unk – 1909), who were born in Poland.
     His mother's parents were George Henry William Dietrich Fiene (5 Sep 1870 – 19 May 1943) and Anna (Griese) Fiene (25 Jul 1874 – 1 Jul 1936). They married on 31 May 1895.

Sources:
1. 487th Bomb Group Association

2. 1920 US Census; Illinois; Cook County; Lansing. Olsen, August. Jan 1920 (his father)

3. 1930 US Census; Illinois; Cook County; Lansing. Olsen, August. Apr 1930 (his father)

4. 1940 US Census; Illinois; Cook County; Thornton Township; Lansing. Olsen, August. 5 Apr 1940 (his father)

5. American Battle Monuments Commission

6. Breton Air Memorial Association. Crash Site of B-24H 42-52624

7. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004

8. DeVries, Marjorie. Treasured Letters From The Past: Letter from August 'Juny' Olsen to his wife Marcella on 8 Dec 1941

9. Enlistment Record of August M. Olsen Jr

10. HQ, 359th Combat Crew Training School, Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. Special Orders Number 71. 11 March 1944 (487th Bomb Group flight echelon order to proceed from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Herington, Kansas during the deployment to England)

11. Lacy-Davis Foundation. Monument dedicated to the Floyd Schwab crew at Bruz, France, on 9 June 2012

12. Mundia.com (ancestry.com) profiles of August Oleszak Olsen (1896–1970)

13. Social Security Death Index

14. Steinweg, Carrie. Legendary Locals of Lansing. Arcadia Publishing, 2013

15. Stofko, Arthur J. Personal Conversation. Sep 2007 (replaced Norman C. Van Kirk as copilot on the Peter J. Brown crew at Herington, Kansas in March 1944)

16. The Times of Northwest Indiana. Obituary of George Claude Ogborn. 26, 27 Jul 2003 (husband of his sister Mildred)

17. The Times of Northwest Indiana. Obituary of Wallace Eugene 'Wally' Evans Jr. 2–3 Dec 2013 (husband of his niece Sheila Ogborn)

18. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 5483

19. U.S. Department of the Army, Adjutant General Office, Technical Records Section. Individual Deceased Personnel File of Seymour Coe Jr, 12053958 (aka '293 File') (his crewmate)

20. U.S. National World War II Memorial Registry. World War II Honoree August M. Olsen Jr (honored by Donald Olsen, his brother)

21. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946

22. World War I Draft Registration of August Olsen. 5 Jun 1917 (his father)

23. World War II Draft Registration of August Olsen. 27 Apr 1942 (his father)

Research by:
Paul Webber
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
Find A Grave member ID 47577572


Family Members


Inscription

AUGUST M. OLSEN JR
T SGT   839 BOMB SQ   487 BOMB GP (H)
INDIANA   JUNE 7 1944

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Indiana

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  • Maintained by: Paul Webber
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 7 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56350344
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for TSgt. August “Juny” Olsen Jr. (5 Feb 1919–7 Jun 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56350344, citing Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial, Saint-James, Departement de la Manche, Basse-Normandie, France ; Maintained by Paul Webber (contributor 47577572) .