Arlo Ray Mathison

May 24, 2013
Since I'll probably be visiting the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer every year, I thought I might adopt an American war grave there too. At first I thought that there won't be a grave available anymore, but that was not right. Many seemed to be free. I immediately sent a request and a contribution to Normandy and a few days later I received an e-mail in which Arlo R. Mathison's grave was appointed to me.

Before the war

Arlo was born on October 7, 1919 in Cherry Grove, Forestville Township, Fillmore County, USA. Arlo was the son of Charles J. Mathison and Maude Ann Terbeest. He had three sisters, Elener M. (Mathison) Butler, Eunice A. (Mathison) Treese and Armida R. (Mathison) James. He also had two brothers, Paul E. Mathison and Curtis J. Mathison.

Minnesota, USA

Crossville, Tennessee

Arlo's youth was spent much as any youth, coming from, and growing up in a good home, where early and sustained religious training and the church played an important part. His faith in Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour stood him in good stead through all his brief but full life.

He was a member of the Cherry Grove Evangelical Church until 1942 when he transferred his membership to Grace Evangelical Church of Spring Valley. He was an outstanding young man of his community. He was superintendent of the Cherry Grove Sunday School for a time, and served as a member of the Quarterly Conference, and was active in other church work. He gained recognition in his community as President of the Fillmore County Council of Religious Education. He was a graduate of Spring Valley High School Class of 1937, and attended Western Union College in 1937-38.

In August of 1939 he became an employee of the First National Bank of Spring Valley and worked there until he was inducted into the Army.

On August 14, 1941 he was married to Dorothy Utzinger and established a home in Spring Valley. They have two children, Charles A. and Karen E.

In the army

Arlo was inducted into the Army, June 5th, 1942 and trained in the field artillery of the 81st Wildcat Division and was a supply Sergeant in the 87th Acorn Division.

In January 1944 he transferred into the Army Air Corps and qualified as a pilot, bombadier or navigator. Pilot training was discontinued and he was sent to the Infantry and trained with the 66th Panther Division at Camp Rucker.

He was inducted into the Army, June 5th, 1942 and trained in the field artillery of the 81st Wildcat Division and was a supply Sergeant in the 87th Acorn Division." He was sent overseas with his division in November of 1944. He spent about a month in England and was privileged to spend several hours with his sisters in London.

Arlo's death

On December 24, 1944. Arlo R. Mathison and his mates were on the USS Leopoldville (built in Hoboken, Belgium) which was taking them from Southampton to Cherbourg. About 5 miles from Cherbourg a German U-boat fired a torpedo on the ship and it sank. From 2.235 men on board, about 515 went down with the ship, 248 died drowning, cooling or injury.
The soldiers were on their way to the Ardennes as reinforcements during the Battle of the Bulge.

USS Leopoldville

Arlo is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

Normandy American cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France

This poem was dedicated to his family:
"God has not promised skies always blue.
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives thru.
God has not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the laborer, light for the way,
Grace for the trial, help from above,
Unfailing patience, undying love."
"Who creates, shall sustain -- who gave life shall renew...
Who hath promised, shall keep...
It is He ever friend and Preserver,
O Soul; The Lord is His name!"

USS Leopoldville memorial, Fort Benning

USS Leopoldville memorial, Fort Benning

264th Infantry Regiment, 66th Infantry Division

264th Infantry Regiment

66th Infantry Division

Staff Sergeant

More information soon.


When Arlo's grave was appointed to me, I started looking for information on the internet. I mostly found information on how Arlo died.

When I checked the website I found his ancestry tree and got into contact with Tim James who provided me a lot of information. Thanks Tim!

Personal information

Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army
Service # 37198072
264th Infantry Regiment, 66th Infantry Division, B Company
Entered service from: Minnesota on June 5, 1942

Born: October 7, 1919
Hometown: Cherry Grove

Died: December 25, 1944 near the coast of Cherbourg, France
Status: killed in action (KIA)

Buried: Plot D, row 21, grave 29, Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France
Awards: Purple Heart

Purple Heart

Wife: Dorothy F. Utzinger (1919 - 2013)
Children: Charles A. and Karen E.
Father: Charles J. Mathison
Mother: Maude Ann Terbeest
Brothers: Paul E. and Curtis J.
Sisters: Elener M., Eunice A. and Armida R.

More pictures


- overseas American cemeteries
- Wikipedia
- Tim James

Any information you can provide me about this soldier, can be mailed to me (nicklieten @ Thank you!