GLENN ERVIN THOMPSON
Branch: U. S. Army
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: WWII
Home Town: Pinewood
Glenn Ervin Thompson was born August 21, 1923 in Pinewood, Minnesota to parents Albert R. and Bertha J. Enger Thompson. Both Albert and Bertha were born in North Dakota to parents of Norwegian heritage. They married in 1921, worked in North Dakota a couple of years, then moved to the Sandy Lake area of Roosevelt Township where Albert’s parents Torger and Tonnette Thompson already had a farm. Albert and Bertha had eight children: Dennis, Alvin, Glenn, Lawrine, Gordon, Mavis, Opal, and LeRoy.
Glenn attended school in Debs for five years, then graduated from 8th grade in the Aure school. Glenn was a tall, handsome boy who sang and played guitar and played a lot of baseball with the boys. His sister Mavis (Winger) remembers that he was good-natured and loved to laugh.
Glenn registered for the draft on June 30, 1942 in Bemidji. He was 18 years old, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Glenn was sent to Fort McClellan near Anniston, Alabama. The Army had begun began training new recruits and draftees at Fort McClellan in 1942. By the time Glenn got there in 1943, the Branch Immaterial Training Center at Fort McClellan became the Infantry Replacement Training Center (IRTC.) Basic training was nine weeks long and included situations corresponding to combat in European areas such as training within simulated urban areas, actions under live artillery fire, and crouching in foxholes with tanks moving overhead.
After training, Glenn was assigned to the 361st Infantry Regiment, 91st Division. The 361st Infantry sailed from Hampton Roads, Virginia on April 3, 1944 and arrived off the coast of Algeria on April 18th. The division underwent an intensive six weeks’ amphibious training program at Port-aux-Poules, the 361st being the first unit to undertake this training.
Following that, the 361st was detached from the 91st Division and sent to the Fifth Army at Naples, Italy, where they boarded LSTs bound for Anzio. They arrived there on the 1st of June, 1944. Their first mission was to back up the 141st Infantry in capturing Marino and Mt. Crescenzo, where they were successful but received their first casualties of WWII from long range enemy artillery.
Then it was on to capture Tarquinia and Nunxiatello. They captured Orbetello, driving the German from the rugged terrain. By the 5th of July, the 361st had served a month of almost continuous combat and had advanced 90 miles in the drive on Rome. The 91st Division then began the Rome-Arno River Campaign.
By October, the 361st was attacking the Germans in the Livergnano area. They took Hill 592, Hill 481 and the village of Casole. On October 22, General Livesay ordered the 91st Division to pass over to the defensive because there weren’t enough troops remaining to continue the attack on the “Caesar Line” at Livergnano. The offensive was ultimately successful and the 361st Regiment was awarded the Campaign Streamer “North Apennines.”
Private Glenn Thompson never got to celebrate this victory with his unit. He was killed in action on October 16th.
Glenn’s sister Mavis, who was age 10 at the time, remembers their neighbor Anna Moller trudging up their road. Her mother, Bertha, said it couldn’t be good news because the Mollers were the only close neighbors with a telephone. All four of the older Thompson boys were in the military, with Glenn’s older brother Alvin also serving in Italy.
Albert was one of the founders of the Pinewood American Legion, and they held a memorial service for Glenn in the new Legion building in Pinewood. His body was returned nearly two years later and interred in Roosevelt Cemetery with other members of his family. He was 21 years old.