Bolstad, Pvt. Rudolph O.

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Bolstad

Pvt. Rudolph Oliver Bolstad
Born: 3 September 1905 – Mary Township, Norman County, Minnesota
Parents: Ole E. Bolstad and Ida Aasen-Bolstad
Siblings: 3 sisters, 3 brothers
Home: Perley, Minnesota
Occupation: farmer
Selective Service Registration: 16 October 1940
– Contact: Ingman Oscar Bolstad – brother
Inducted:
– U. S. Army
– 1941 – Fort Snelling, Minnesota
Stationed:
– Fort Lewis, Washington
– arrived April 1941
– described as constantly raining during the winter
– by May, everything was covered in dust since it had not rained in a month
– many men ended up in the camp hospital with colds
– Typical Day – after they arrived at Ft. Lewis
– 6:00 A.M. – first call
– 6:30 A.M. – Breakfast
– During this time the soldiers made their cots, policed the grounds around the barracks, swept the floors of their barracks, and performed other duties.
– 7:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. – drill
– 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M. – Lunch
– 1:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. – drill
– 5:00 P.M. – retreat
– 5:30 P.M. – Dinner
– men were free after this
– a canteen was located near their barracks and was visited often
– the movie theater on the base that they visited.
– The theater where the tanks were kept was not finished, but when it was, the tankers only had to cross the road to their tanks.
– Saturdays the men had off, and many rode a bus 15 miles northeast to Tacoma which was the largest town nearest to the base
– Sundays, many of the men went to church and services were held at different times for the different denominations
– later the members of the battalion received specific training
– many went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for training in tank maintenance, radio operation, and other specific jobs
Training:
– Ft. Lewis
– lived in Hq Company’s barracks for six weeks for basic training
– calisthenics, drilled, and classroom training
– trained by Sgt. Glenn Nelson, T/Sgt. Boyce Hyatt, Sgt. Wallace Goodrich, and Sgt. Donald Paine who lived with them
– the battalion went on long reconnaissance with trucks and tanks
– drove all over reservation following maps and learned from observation what the land surrounding the fort looked like
– the purpose was to collect tank data which they would use later
– often had to live off the land
– Ft. Knox – attended radio school
– radioman
Units:
– 194th Tank Battalion

Note: On August 15, 1941, the 194th received orders, from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water. He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island, hundreds of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything that day.

The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore. Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.

Overseas Duty:
– 4 September 1941
– the battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
– Arrived: 7:30 A.M. – 5 September 1941
– ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
– given physicals and inoculations
– men with medical conditions replaced
– Ship: S.S. President Calvin Coolidge
– Boarded: 3:00 P.M. – 8 September 1941
– Sailed: 9:00 – same day
– Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii – 13 September 1941 – 7:00 A.M.
– four-hour shore passes issued
– Sailed: 5:00 P.M. – same day
– escorted by the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Astoria, an unknown destroyer, and the U.S.S. Guadalupe a replenishment oiler
– heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
– ships belonged to friendly countries
– Arrived: Manila Bay – 7:00 A.M. – 23 September 1941
– Disembarked: 3:00 P.M.
– taken to Ft. Stotsenburg by truck
– lived in tents until 15 November 1941
Philippines
– Stationed:
– Ft. Stotsenburg
– lived in tents upon arriving
– 15 November 1941 – moved into barracks
– the barracks walls were open and screened three feet from the bottom
– above that, the walls were woven bamboo that allowed the air to pass through
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
Work Day:
– 5:15 A. M. – reveille
– washing – the lucky man washed by a faucet with running water
– 6:00 A.M. – breakfast
– 7:00 to 11:30 A.M. 
– Noon – lunch
– 1:30 to 2:30 P.M. – worked
– the shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that the climate made it too hot to work
– the tankers worked until 4:30 P.M.
– the term “recreation in the motor pool” was used for this work time
Tank Crews:
– during this time, the tank crews learned about the M3A1 tanks
– tank commanders read manuals on tanks and taught crews about the tanks
– learned about the 30-caliber and 50 caliber machineguns
– spent three hours of each day taking the guns apart and putting them back together
– did it until they could disassemble and assemble the guns blindfolded
– could not fire guns since they were not given ammunition which had been requested by Gen. King but not released by Gen. MacArthur
– 5:10 – dinner
– after dinner, the soldiers were free to do what they wanted to do
Recreation:
– the soldiers spent their free time bowling, going to the movies,
– they also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw a football around
– on Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming
– they also went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water
– men were allowed to go to Manila in small groups
– they also went to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits
– the country was described as being beautiful
– 1 December 1941
– tanks ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field
– 194th guarded the north end of the airfield and the 192nd guarded the south end
– two crew members of each tank and half-track remained with the vehicles at all times
– meals served by food trucks
– those not assigned to a tank or half-track remained at the command post
Engagements:
– Battle of Luzon – 8 December 1941 – 6 January 1942
– 8 December 1941
– lived Japanese attack on Clark Field
– planes did not go after tanks
– after attack 194th sent to a bivouac three kilometers north of Clark Field
– from there they were sent to Barrio of San Joaquin on the Malolos Road
– 12 December 1941
– moved to new bivouac south to San Fernando near Calumpit Bridge
– arrived at 6:00 A.M.
– 15 December 1941
– received 15 Bren gun carriers
– turned some over to 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts
– 22 December 1941
– sent to Rosario
– west and north of the barrio
– ordered out of the 71st Division Commander
– said they would hinder the cavalry’s operation
– 22/23 December 1941
– operating north of Agno River
– main bridge at Carmen bombed
– 24/25 December 1941
– tank battalions make an end run to get south of Agno River
– ran into Japanese resistance but successfully crossed the river
– 25/26 December 1941
– held south bank of Agno River from west of Carmen to Carmen-Akcaka-Bautista Road
– 192nd held from Carmen to Route 3 to Tayug to the northeast of San Quintin
– it was at this time he telegrammed home and told his he was well
– this was the last time his family received any information on him
Missing in Action:
– 27 December 1941 – Col. Ernest Miller’s record on A Company show Bolstad as missing
– Rudolph Bolstad was a member of 2nd Lt. James Hart’s tank crew
– POW documents from Cabanatuan show he was believed to have died – 26 December 1941
– Hart’s tank held its position and operated behind enemy lines
– reported their operations – 7 January 1942
Guerrilla:
-Pampanga, Philippine Islands
– member of “Lapham’s Raiders”
– promoted to corporal
– September 1944
– Luzon, Philippine Islands
– Evacuated to Australia:
– 2 September 1944 – U.S.S. Narwhal – submarine
– others evacuated with him: Capt. Wilbur Lage, Lt. Charles L. Naylor, and Sgt. Wilbur Jellison
– most likely these men were ill or wounded
Hospitalized:
– Veterans Administration Hospital in the Chicago area
Promoted: Sergeant
– headstone application indicates he was a 1st Lieutenant
Discharged: 30 May 1946
Died:
– 2 September 1946 – Chicago, Illinois
Buried:
– Concordia Lutheran Cemetery – Hendrum, Minnesota

 

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