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Courtney B. Neilson

377th Field Artillery Batallion, 101st Airborne Division

Major, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:




Grave Location:

Plot D, Row 17, Grave 23

Maj. Courtney B. “Dapper” Neilson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 8, 1916. He and his mother immigrated through Ellis Island, arriving in New York City on January 15, 1925. After graduating from high school, Neilson majored in engineering at Purdue University and was a second lieutenant in the ROTC by his senior year. 

Neilson along with his engineering club at Purdue University.

In 1942 officers with experience were in very high demand. Neilson went into the U.S. Army right after graduation, and he became a captain by November 1942. He joined the 101stAirborne Division and served as commander of Battery ‘C’ of the 277thField Artillery Battalion until February 4, 1943 when he became an operations officer for the battalion and began working in the battalion headquarters. 

Montebourg in 1944.

On D-Day, Neilson’s aircraft took off from Newbury, England as part of Operation Overlord for a drop near Montebourg. He landed in a tree in the middle of a German unit, off target by about eight miles. Neilson never made it out of the tree. He was killed by German fire.

The South Bend Tribune's July 25, 1944 article announcing Neilson's death and eight other casualties.

Awards: Purple Heart

Courtney B. Neilson is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot D, Row 17, Grave 23.