WW II - Son's Story

Pre - Ramble:
When I posted Touching Time, which has as a partial subject, the service of my uncle, Arvid Johnson in World War II, I sent an email to my cousins - his children - in which I urged them to add, detract or change any part of the narrative which might concern Arvid. What follows is what my cousin Norman Johnson wrote to me. Norman now farms the ground that Arvid made his living on.
 
Tim.....Thank you for the thought of my Dad for Memorial Day.  The time spent in service was a part of his life that he talked very little about. He never divulged the complete picture to any one person. They probably would not be able to understand it either. As far as I know he spoke with your mother more than anyone else. He had been trying to get into the service for a number of years purely for economic reasons.
 
After war broke out in Europe, some people in our government realized that we had better get ready for whatever might come. He got into the Army on April 18, 1941. He did his basic training at Camp Clareborne, Louisiana. He trained on a 60 mm mortar crew. He earned the astronomical wage of $30.00 per month.  Out of this he had to pay for his clothes. It was the most money he had made in his life. A foot note: The 164th North Dakota National Guard trained there also and were the first US troops deployed to the Pacific Theater, end foot note. He went from Louisiana to Fort Dix, New Jersey, prior to shipping out to England. He met my mother at a USO dance. She was going to go to the Catskill Mountains that weekend with some other club women, but, for some reason either missed the train or decided not to go to the Catskills and instead went to the USO dance mentioned. 
 
Arvid went to England on a ship named the Aquitania, which is the sister ship to the Lusitania. The seas were extremely rough which may be was a good thing because of the Nazi wolfpacks. He trained in England and was scheduled to be in on the invasion of North Africa. He was hit by schrapnel from the French shore batteries and never got off the ship. He was hospitalized in Northern Ireland. From there he went back to North Africa which was already conquered and then to Italy.  He was around Monte Casino and watched it being bombed. While there the Nazis would start a mortar barrage at exactly 8:00 AM and it would continue to exactly 9:00 AM. This routine would keep on for weeks. If you were alive after the barrage it was not because you were smarter or braver or better than the other person, it meant that one of the mortar shells did not have your name on it. By this time he was with the combat engineers which consisted of clearing mine fields, laying mine fields and building bridges.  He was decorated with a bronze arrowhead which they gave for an amphibious landing. I am reasonably certain that he earned that when they went to shore in southern France on, I think, the 12th of June, 1944. They did the invasion to prevent the Germans from moving their troops to the north to repell the invasion of the 6 June, 1944. 
 
We have a postcard he sent to my mother with one word on it: "France." Everything would have been censored anyway, but that let her know where he was. At that time he was assigned to the 7th Army and went across southern Germany. He had earned enough points that when the war ended in Europe he knew he was going to be discharged. He did collect a disability payment from the Government for a couple of years after his discharge. I think that the disability payment was $1.64 per month.  I do have his service numbers and was going to try and get a record of is service.....
 
Here we have a snapshot. Not the big picture. Just one picture. Let us collect all the pictures we can, lest we forget.