Arlo was born on October 7, 1919 in Cherry Grove, Forestville Township, Fillmore County, USA. Arlo was the son of Charles J. Mathison and Maude Ann Terbeest. He had three sisters, Elener M. (Mathison) Butler, Eunice A. (Mathison) Treese and Armida R. (Mathison) James. He also had two brothers, Paul E. Mathison and Curtis J. Mathison.
Cherry Grove, Forestville Township, Fillmore County-
Arlo's youth was spent much as any youth, coming from, and growing up in a good home, where early and sustained religious training and the church played an important part. His faith in Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour stood him in good stead through all his brief but full life.
He was a member of the Cherry Grove Evangelical Church until 1942 when he transferred his membership to Grace Evangelical Church of Spring Valley.
He was an outstanding young man of his community. He was superintendent of the Cherry Grove Sunday School for a time, and served as a member of the Quarterly Conference, and was active in other church work. He gained recognition in his community as President of the Fillmore County Council of Religious Education.
He was a graduate of Spring Valley High School Class of 1937, and attended Western Union College in 1937-38. In August of 1939 he became an employee of the First National Bank of Spring Valley and worked there until he was inducted into the Army.
On August 14, 1941 he was married to Dorothy Utzinger and established a home in Spring Valley. They have two children, Charles A. and Karen E.
Arlo was inducted into the Army, June 5th, 1942 and trained in the field artillery of the 81st Wildcat Division and was a supply Sergeant in the 87th Acorn Division.
In January 1944 he transferred into the Army Air Corps and qualified as a pilot, bombadier or navigator. Pilot training was discontinued and he was sent to the Infantry and trained with the 66th Panther Division at Camp Rucker.
66th Panther Division
He was sent overseas with his division in November of 1944. He spent about a month in England and was privileged to spend several hours with his sisters in London.
On December 24, 1944. Arlo R. Mathison and his mates were on the USS Leopoldville (built in Hoboken, Belgium) which was taking them from Southampton to Cherbourg. About 5 miles from Cherbourg a German U-boat fired a torpedo on the ship and it sank. From 2.235 men on board, about 515 went down with the ship, 248 died drowning, cooling or injury.
The soldiers were on their way to the Ardennes as reinforcements during the Battle of the Bulge.