John C. Ausland was born July 14, 1920, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. He served with the 29th Field Artillery Division during World War II, rising to the rank of Captain. He was present at the landing of Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, the capture of Cherbourg, the liberation of Paris, the battle of Huertgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, two engagements in the Schnee Eifel Mountains, and the final offensive on the East side of the Rhine. He was awarded the Silver Star “for gallantry in action in the vicinity of La Mardell, France, 24 July 1944.” After the war, he published a book called Letters Home: A War Memoir, based on his letters to family and friends during the war.
After the war, Ausland became an American diplomat working for the U.S. State Department. He served in the State Department’s Berlin Task Force in 1961 when the Berlin Wall was built and then as an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Cuban missile crises in 1962. He briefed President Kennedy on Berlin in August 1962.
After his retirement from government service in 1974, he retired in Norway and wrote six books on military and foreign affairs. His last book was Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Berlin-Cuba Crises 1961–1964. He also wrote many articles in the International Herald Tribune and various Norwegian publications.
He died on May 13, 1996, of cancer in Oslo, Norway, survived by his wife and three children. He was 75 years old.
This article originally appeared in the June 5, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.