Gilbert Nelson had never been very far from his family’s Upland farm before World War II. In August 1942, knowing he would be drafted, Nelson enlisted in the army at the age of 22. Soon he left behind his family and fiance to fight for his country.
Nelson attended basic training at Camp Robinson in Arkansas. He was chosen to be a machine gunner and was moved to Camp Butner in North Carolina for artillery training after boot camp. From there he was sent to Fort Ord in California to join the 7th Infantry Division.
In May of 1943, Nelson and the rest of the 7th Infantry were shipped to Attu on a mission to reclaim the Aleutian Islands from Japanese possession. The operation was meant to take a matter of days, but the detachment battled horrid weather and vicious enemies for nearly a month. After the hard earned victory, the crew trained in more amphibious assault techniques before heading to the Marshall Islands.
See November 4 Courier for full story