Military stories from past to present, both wars.

All hands, looking for Carl John Carlson USMC (NOW FOUND!!)

April 30th, 2010 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Carl John Carlson, and the case of the missing sword.

This is one helluva story and so many things are floating around out there about it, so I wanted to write a short piece to clarify and set the record straight on the sword from Derry NH.

Here is the background on the sword and this is from Captain Feole from the Derry Police Department and the man responsible for getting this investigation going as a pet project.  Back in the 1970’s, the Derry Police arrested some youths in a local apartment complex and in the course of their investigation of the premises, they discovered the Marine Officer’s sword.  None of the people in the room claimed the sword so it was brought back to the police station.  The Chief of Police now, Edward B. Garone, was a former Marine on staff there at the time realized that if the sword went into the evidence locker unclaimed that it would be destroyed in the future with all other weapons there. 

Being a Marine, he wanted to return it to the rightful owner since it was most likely stolen.  It wasn’t used in a homicide, so he took on the mission of finding the Officer to return it.  This was a bit harder to accomplish back then due to a couple of factors unknown at the time.  So unfortunately, this pet project went to the back burner you might say.

Fast forward, Captain Feole is in the boss’s office and the sword subject comes up again.  Captain Feole takes on the project to locate a Carl John Carlson whose name is inscribed on the blade.  He emailed Colonel Ford from Leatherneck Magazine and asked for help.  Among several suggestions Col Ford made, he asked for permission to forward the email on Capt. Feole’s behalf to several Marine contacts with access to email lists for thousands of Marines. Permission was granted. It pretty much went viral from there. Marines across the country started the mission to locate the swords owner.

That is when an “All Hands” email went out from Anthony Milavic, a former Marine and highly respected Real Estate agent in Northern Virginia who wanted to help out.  He has connections with Marines world wide and his emails are widely disseminated throughout our community.

I opened my email to see this:

I am wondering if you may be able to help me or direct me to someone that can.
I am a Captain in the Derry NH Police Department. We are in possession of a USMC Officers sword that was manufactured by N.S. Meyer Inc. The Sword is believed to be stolen property.
The Sword has an officer’s name etched into the name banner. It is Carl John Carlson.
The sword has the Conqueror Trade Mark if that is of any help and has the following etched into the edge of the blade. USMC App. Serial #322.
 After corresponding with the Library of the Marine Corps I was directed to your publication.
We would like to return the sword to its rightful owner or his family.
The sword has been in our custody for a number of years so it is likely the Marine Officer is not currently serving. In fact the Marine may likely have passed away. It was recovered in the early 1970’s.
I look forward to a response.
George R. Feole, Captain
Support Services Division
Derry Police Department
1 Municipal Drive
Derry NH 03038

 I love a good mystery like anyone else and started to do some digging again but was coming up blank on my searches.  I posted this letter on my website and then sent it out to my Marine connections.  Col Mike McCollum who is the head of our Marine Metroplex outfit in Dallas Texas then forwarded the request to his email list that spans in the thousands.  It took only two days to track down Carl Carlsson and get him reunited with his lost sword.

 I spoke to Carl on the phone while I was down in Miami airport waiting for my plane to arrive yesterday May 2nd and he was ecstatic about getting his property back after so many years.  After attending The Basic School in 1966, he went to Vietnam for his first tour.  Sometime in the late Sixties, he loaned his sword to a buddy for a wedding up in North East.  This Marine ended up taking his own life (not with this sword like I’ve heard or involved in a burglary like I passed on) and Carl wasn’t able to contact any of the family to get it returned.  He ended up buying another sword and wrote it off.   

Major Carlsson told a great story about the sword to Captain Feole too.  The first time that Carl used the sword, he was walking on Ninth Street on his way to get his name engraved on the blade.  Three guys approached him and tried to mug this Marine with knives.  He says, “Hold on a  minute guys” and pulls the sword from his scabbard.  Needless to say they didn’t steal his money or sword!! They ran like the cowards they were.

 The reason we all weren’t able to track him down was that Carl had changed his name back in 1969 to its original spelling of Carlsson with an extra “S” like his parents had when they arrived from Sweden.  Carl, being a gifted linguist, spent a very interesting career in and out of the Marine Corps, retiring in 1985 as a Major in the Reserves.  I think his story is worthy of a book some day because I was fascinated by just a few of the events he was privy to.  Carl, if you read this, please begin writing them when you go on your next hiatus to Costa Rico.

 So in two days, just two days… the power of the internet, MilBlogs and the bond of Marines tracks down a classmate of Carl and closes a cold case file that should have had a staple in it long ago.  Thanks to Captain Feole, Chief Garone, Major Milavic, Col. Ford and Col. McCollum, a retired Marine is reunited with his sword after thirty five plus years.  Can you imagine what this Marine Corps network could do if put to work?  People wonder why Marines have that round decal on every car they own and are proud to sport the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on their shirts every day! It’s because we are the largest gun club in the world with a tough initiation to join.

Semper Fi,


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