One of Coweta's Greatest Generation turns 100

alt

Among Art Carlson's souvenirs is a copy of a photo showing soldiers pushing a snow-bound jeep during the Battle of the Bulge.

By ALEX MCRAE
alex@newnan.com
Family and friends will be gathering soon to celebrate the 100th birthday of Art Carlson, a World War II veteran who has called Newnan home since 2001.
Carlson officially turned 100 Sunday. A large celebration is planned Nov. 29 for the veteran who was among those profiled in The Newnan Times-Herald’s tribute book to WWII veterans — “Coweta’s Greatest Generation.” He is among those featured on the cover.
Carlson lives with his son and daughter-in-law, Dick and Dee Carlson. Dick says his father mentions that he didn’t expect to live so long but is happy he did and plans to keep on going as long as he can.
Carlson was born in 1912 in Clayton, Washington, and relocated to Michigan as a child. After his father died, Carlson moved in with his grandparents and graduated from high school in 1931. The Great Depression was in full swing and Carlson was glad to get a job with the Civilian Conservation Corps that paid a dollar a day plus meals. He eventually tried farming and worked on a fox ranch and at a factory.
World War II broke out in December 1941, but it was 1943 before Carlson was drafted. By that time, Carlson was 30 years old and had a wife and two children. Six weeks after Carlson was inducted, the Army stopped drafting men over age 26. Carlson didn’t complain. “That’s just the way things go,” he says. “And when I got called I was ready to go and do my duty like everybody else.”

After boot camp at Camp Blanding, Fla., Carlson was sent to Fort Jackson, S.C., to join the Army’s 87th Infantry Division. In October 1944, he sailed for Europe. After just three weeks in Britain, the 87th Division was ordered to France.

Winter was fast approaching. Bitter low temperatures and drenching rains mixed with snow made living conditions miserable in the tent city Carlson’s 346th Regiment called home.

“Our tents were wet, our gear was wet; we were soaked and it was pretty miserable,” he says. “Sometimes we’d say we didn’t think things could be any worse. But that was before we started getting shot at.”

Carlson found himself freezing through the Battle of the Bulge and was on the front lines when his unit broke through the Siegfried Line. Carlson was in Czechoslovakia when the fighting ended in Europe.

Carlson returned to his former factory job in Michigan, but soon moved on to a job with Whirlpool Corp., where he worked almost 28 years before retiring in 1964.

Even after retirement Carlson kept active by doing landscaping and hunting deer.

Carlson’s wife died in 1992, and nine years later he moved to Newnan to live with his son and daughter-in-law.



More Local

MULTIPLE HOMICIDE

Update: BOLO on suspect involved in Saturday night slaying

Update: Thomas Jesse Lee is considered a suspect and is wanted for the murder of five individuals on Saturday night.  On Saturday Janua ... Read More


Violence in Newnan

Map Depicts Gun-Related Incidents In Coweta

In late March 2014, over the span of one week, three people were killed and three injured, due to gun violence in Newnan and Coweta County. ... Read More


‘Newnan Times Past’ makes debut

As part of the celebration of The Newnan Times-Herald’s 150th Birthday, the newspaper is showcasing photographs from years past in a f ... Read More


Cowetan visits Cuba after renewed relations

Last month, a woman from Coweta County got the opportunity to visit Cuba for an entire week and experience the Communist nation that was clo ... Read More


Internet speeds ratcheted up at libraries

Computers at the Coweta County Public Library System get a lot of use – and they are running lots faster these days. Internet speeds h ... Read More

Insurance

House supports bus drivers, cafeteria workers

Members of Georgia’s House of Representatives voiced support for retaining health care benefits for bus drivers and cafeteria workers ... Read More