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S/Sgt Gerald L Jacobsen

S/Sgt Gerald L Jacobsen

134th Infantry Regiment - Company M

Gerald Lenord Jacobsen, son of Charles Emil and Anna Sigrid (Syvertsen) Jacobsen, was born April 19, 1917 in St Paul, Minnesota. He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. His draft registration records list him as 5' 11 1/2" tall with brown hair, brown eyes, and a light complexion. In civilian life his main occupation was welding, body and fender repair work. Gerald Jacobsen married Catherine Elizabeth Burket on January 11, 1943 in his home town of St Paul, Minnesota.

He was inducted into the Army on January 5, 1942 at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He trained at Camp Roberts, California from January 13 through April 1942. He joined Company M, 134th Infantry Regiment on April 28, 1942 at Camp San Luis Obispo, California. He was next stationed at Camp Butner, North Carolina and participated in the Tennessee Maneuvers.

The 134th Infantry Regiment departed the Port of New York May 11 on the Navy transport USS General A.E. Anderson and disembarked at Avonmouth, Port of Bristol England May 25, 1944. They were billeted in Cornwall, England from May 26 until July 1, and then traveled to staging areas in Plymouth, England where they boarded ships and traveled across the English Channel, departing July 4, 1944. Company M landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France on July 6, 1944. They trained in hedgerow warfare tactics until July 13 then moved to a forward assembly point outside of St Lo, France. At 0600 on July 14, after a 5-hour break, they began moving to the front line on foot and were in position by 1100. The Regiment and Jacobsen's company attacked the enemy positions at 0515 the next morning, July 15, 1944.

S/Sgt Gerald L Jacobsen was a Forward Observer in the Mortar Platoon of Company M. According to Army records, he was last seen at his post northwest of St Lo at about 0430 hours the morning of July 15. The body of 2nd Lt Burley J Stinnett, the soldier last seen with him, was found near the observation post but S/Sgt Jacobsen's remains were not recovered, and he was declared Missing in Action. On July 22, 1944, the remains of a soldier were recovered in the vicinity of the observation post and were initially identified as 2nd Lt Alexander MacIvor. It was later discovered that Lieutenant MacIvor, although seriously wounded, had survived and was recovering from his wounds. These remains were then designated as Unknown X-481 and interred at Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, where they rested for more than 72 years.

A review of evidence from the Individual Deceased Personnel Files indicated a likely possibility that X-481 might in fact be Gerald Jacobsen. In July 2016 the family requested that Unknown X-481 be disinterred for scientific analysis based upon this evidence, including a partial Army Serial Number found on X-481's clothing. DNA technology did not become available for forensic casework until the mid-1980s. X-481 was disinterred on November 21, 2016 and sent to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for examination. Gerald L Jacobsen was positively identified based on DNA samples submitted by his brother and sister.

Staff Sergeant Gerald L Jacobsen was brought home and laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on July 14, 2017 - 73 years after the receipt of his last letter home dated July 12, 1944 where he said "I will be home soon". His widow Catherine never gave up hope of his return. Catherine E Tauer (Jacobsen) nee Burket, passed away on November 8, 2021 in Little Canada, Minnesota at the age of 98.

Ft Snelling National Cemetery
July 14, 2017

S/Sgt Jacobsen's widow Catherine
and sister Jacqualyn

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