Located on a rural farmstead, lives 91-year-old Carl Rautio with his wife Marge. This beautiful quiet location is surrounded with vast fields and forest and a finely manicured landscape where their home sits with well-kept out buildings once bustling with farm life.
Imagine, how it must have been to be called into the military by the draft in October 1944 to be trained for combat in the European theater during the conflict with Germany. Leaving the rural Oulu farming community to be given a rifle that is meant for combat.
In those years, draftees’ designation was Army US and those who enlisted were designated as US Army. His basic infantry training started in TX. Due to the Battle of the Bulge basic training was cut from 17 to 12 weeks because of the urgent call for replacements. He was then transferred out to report to Maryland where warmer gear was allocated for winter deployment in February, then to Camp Kilmer for last deployment preparations which included how to abandon ship should something unforeseen occur.
However, Rautio contracted pneumonia and was detained in the hospital for 20 days. His unit was deployed, along with his clothes while he was hospitalized. He had to go back Maryland to be reissued the necessary items for deployment.
On April 15 he landed in Naples for an additional ten days of training for the 10th Infantry Division. During that time German forces began to surrender by May 15th.
During that period the war with Japan was still going so Rautio was returned to the states for more training in San Antonio Army Burn Center. He was then assigned to a Medic Unit. He was given a 15-day furlough, before returning to Louisiana Joint 10th Division to be deployed to Japan. However, the atomic bomb was deployed in Japan. His division’s deployment was cancelled.
With the point system employed for soldiers discharged, Carl’s discharge was in July 1946. In 1951 he married a teacher Lucille Pelto building a family including 6 children. After his wife’s death, he managed as a single father, but discovered another partner, his current wife Marge, who also had a big family. The two merged the families and have shared a life of many adventures raising children and now experiencing the joys of grandchildren.
Corporal Carl Rautio was among the first veterans who took the 2011 Honor Flight from Duluth to visit Washington DC World War 2 War Memorial. Brad Kesleck from Lake Nebagamon accompanied Carl on the trip as his guardian.
At 91, Carl remains active and very alert. He enjoys using his ATV to visit Marge’s garden, do some light yard work, and enjoys an active social life with Marge.
At the Wisconsin State Fair, Carl Rautio received another honor, as his son accepted on the family’s behalf the annual Century Farm award. This award is presented to a farm or ranch that has been owned by the same single family for 100 years. The Rautio farm has been officially documented by the state or regional programs. The Wisconsin aware is presented to a working farm still in operation. The awards were presented at a Hillshire Farm breakfast which also provides photos and the sign to designate the farm as a Century Farm.
Gratitude to Carl Rautio who served his country in prepared readiness for wherever he was called to serve. And congratulations goes to the Rautio family for their Century Farm designation here in the Oulu community.