Glenn Belseth was among the first soldiers to be drafted before World War II. His dad was an invalid, so a 92-C Farm Agriculture Deferment was possible but not taken. Glenn enlisted in the National Guard and did most of his training in Appleton before the 34th Division was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana in February 1941. Belseth departed for Northern Ireland on April 30, 942 on board the Aqautania. The ship became separated from the convoy and did a lot of zig-zagging to avoid taking torpedo hits during the crossing. The ship was damaged by depth charges in the North Sea. The troops docked in Scotland and trained for the invasion of North Africa.
Belseth was among three officers and 25 enlisted men with heavy weapons that embarked on the British Destroyer HMS Malcolm at Belfast. The Malcolm's mission was to break the boom guarding the port entrance. Troops disembarked for a few days at Gibraltar, then headed for North Africa. The Malcolm and the HMS Broke approached the port. The Malcolm made three attempts to break through the boom without success. After the third try, gunfire from the shore hit the destroyer Malcolm amidships and set her afire. The Malcolm retreated to the open sea. After the French surrender, the 135th moved to Algiers and guarded the German Consulate. They were part of the attack on Kasserine Pass and part of a campaign battle to capture Hill 609.
Belseth spent the summer of 1943 in North Africa. He landed at Salerno, Italy on September 21, 943 and moved up to the Volturno River.
Belseth returned to North Africa as an ambulance driver for six months, then returned to the US on USS Billy Mitchell. He received a medical discharge because of his feet at Camp Crowder, MO on January 30, 1945.
Glenn Belseth received a wristwatch engraved with his name. The watch fell out of the package after it reached the camp in North Africa. One of his buddies in his unit brought it home to Belseth while he was home on rotation in 1943. He wore the watch until the band became quite worn. He does not recall when he quit wearing it or when it was lost. Mr. Smith in Buffalo City, WI had found the watch on a sandbar near Alma, WI 15 to 20 years prior to returning it to him. Smith was not able to locate Belseth until an internet search was possible. He sent the watch by mail and Glenn received in in 1996.
In 1986 Belseth moved to Minneapolis and started a veterans organization at Bethlehem Lutheran Church with 28 other veteran church members.
Glenn Belseth was interviewed as part of the Minnesota Military Museum World War II, 34th Infantry Division Interview Project. The transcription is available for review at the Museum.