Golden Gate Wing Guest Speaker Archive

Presentation Date: January 22, 2015

Staff Sergeant Jake Larson, U. S. Army

Jake was born in Owatonna, Minnesota in December 1923, the seventh of eight children. His father was a farmer; his mother was a housewife. He attended high school in Owatonna for three years and graduated from Allendale in 1940 at age 17.

In 1938 at age 15, he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard. Jake was trained for two hours each Monday night plus one month each summer at Camp Ripley, MN. After the Minnesota National Guard was federalized in 1941, Jake trained for a year at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. This was interrupted in June 1941 by a burst appendix. While based at Fort Dix, New Jersey, because he could type he was assigned duty as company clerk.

Ordered overseas, he arrived in Northern Ireland and was assigned duty as G-3 (Plans and Training) preparing for the Normandy Invasion. During the disastrous amphibious Slapton Sands training exercise in the Channel, Jake was aboard one of the ships involved. On D-Day, he landed on Omaha Beach as an Operations Sergeant.

After the First and 12th Armies drive across France, Belgium, Holland, and the Battle of the Bulge, Jake had enough points to return to the States. After embarkation at Le Havre, he crossed the Atlantic on a troop ship at 7 knots. At the end of 45 days of R and R, he was given the choice of returning to his unit in Europe or discharge so he separated from the Army in April of 1945.

Jake's military awards and decorations include the Good Conduct Medal, the Bronze Star, the American Victory Medal, and the North Africa / Middle East / European Campaign Medal.

Jake married Lola in November of 1945. His postwar experiences included work on his father’s farm in Minnesota, two years at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, MN, electromechanical repair, electric utility lineman, salesman, and electronics repair. Lola died in 1990. Jake has two sons, a daughter, nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Jake lives with his two sons and their families in Martinez. He is a member of the Third Thursday Lunch Bunch that meets in Concord at Denny's for lunch each month.