Edward Carl Dahlgren was born in Perham, Maine on March 14, 1916. He was working as a farmhand when he was drafted into the United States Army just after his 27th birthday on March 23, 1943. Dahlgren was a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.
On February 11, 1945 at Oberhoffen, France, then-Sergeant Dahlgren was acting as a platoon leader when he led a daring rescue of a fellow unit that had been cut-off. The rescue was successful largely due to his own personal courage and fighting spirit, and he was later decorated with the Medal of Honor.
DAHLGREN, EDWARD C.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant (then Sergeant), U.S. Army, Company E, 142d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. Place and date: Oberhoffen, France, 11 February 1945. Entered service at: Portland, Maine. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945
Citation: He led the 3d Platoon to the rescue of a similar unit which had been surrounded in an enemy counterattack at Oberhoffen, France. As he advanced along a street, he observed several Germans crossing a field about 100 yards away. Running into a barn, he took up a position in a window and swept the hostile troops with submachine gun fire, killing 6, wounding others, and completely disorganizing the group. His platoon then moved forward through intermittent sniper fire and made contact with the besieged Americans. When the 2 platoons had been reorganized, Sgt. Dahlgren continued to advance along the street until he drew fire from an enemy-held house. In the face of machine pistol and rifle fire, he ran toward the building, hurled a grenade through the door, and blasted his way inside with his gun. This aggressive attack so rattled the Germans that all 8 men who held the strongpoint immediately surrendered. As Sgt. Dahlgren started toward the next house, hostile machinegun fire drove him to cover. He secured rifle grenades, stepped to an exposed position, and calmly launched his missiles from a difficult angle until he had destroyed the machine gun and killed its 2 operators. He moved to the rear of the house and suddenly came under the fire of a machine gun emplaced in a barn. Throwing a grenade into the structure, he rushed the position, firing his weapon as he ran; within, he overwhelmed 5 Germans. After reorganizing his unit he advanced to clear hostile riflemen from the building where he had destroyed the machine gun. He entered the house by a window and trapped the Germans in the cellar, where he tossed grenades into their midst, wounding several and forcing 10 more to surrender. While reconnoitering another street with a comrade, he heard German voices in a house. An attack with rifle grenades drove the hostile troops to the cellar. Sgt. Dahlgren entered the building, kicked open the cellar door, and, firing several bursts down the stairway, called for the trapped enemy to surrender. Sixteen soldiers filed out with their hands in the air. The bold leadership and magnificent courage displayed by Sgt. Dahlgren in his heroic attacks were in a large measure responsible for repulsing an enemy counterattack and saving an American platoon from great danger.
As the citation indicates, Dahlgren later received a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant. He still held that rank when he left the Army and returned to civilian life in Maine. Dahlgren passed away at age 90 on May 31, 2006 and was laid to rest in the Pierce Cemetery, Mars Hill, Maine.
The 36th Infantry Division is presently a formation of the Army National Guard and is comprised of units and guardsmen from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. 2nd Battalion, 142nd Infantry is a component of the division’s 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.