The Minnesota Military Museum will honor Minnesota veteran Norm Arvidson as the June featured Veteran of the Month.
Captain Norman K. Arvidson was born in Parkers Prairie, Minn., in 1917. He graduated from Deer Creek High School in 1936, and went to work for Cargill in Minneapolis. In 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Force. He attended flight training near San Antonio, Texas, and became a C-47 pilot.
Assigned to the 87th Squadron of the 438th Troop Carrier Group, he is one of only a handful of pilots to have participated in every major airborne assault and supply operation in the European Theater from D-day to the end of the war. On June 6, 1944, as part of the invasion of Normandy, he dropped paratroopers shortly after midnight and later in the day towed a glider.
Later that summer, operating out of Italy, he participated in the invasion of Southern France. In September 1944, he participated in Operation Market Garden, the airborne assault into Holland to capture the Rhine bridges. During the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Day 1944, he dropped supplies to the 101st Airborne Division surrounded in Bastogne, Belgium.
In total, Arvidson flew 214 missions, towing gliders, dropping paratroopers, delivering supplies, transporting wounded soldiers and concentration camp survivors. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and four Air Medals.
After the war he returned to Minnesota, married Shirley Farrow, settled in Little Falls, where he owned a car dealership and raised three children.
Arvidson passed away in April 2002, and is buried at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, north of Little Falls.
The public is invited to view the entire exhibit on Captain Arvidson at the Minnesota Military Museum located at Camp Ripley, Little Falls. The museum is the only military museum in the state representing all branches of service with exhibits from early settlement days to the present.